In recent years, democratization has increasingly come not by way of elite pacts but rather through protest movements that destabilize authoritarian regimes and push elites to offer real elections. The recent ubiquity of this type of political transition does not mean that elite interactions are unimportant to democratic transitions, but rather that they should be viewed in a new light.
In Managing Transition, Sabina Henneberg seeks theoretical traction on these events through a comparative study of the “first interim governments” that emerged after Tunisia's Zine Abidine Ben Ali and Libya's Moammar al-Gadhafi lost control of their respective countries. Comparing the challenges and achievements of transitional authorities in the two countries, Henneberg argues both that “starting conditions” impose constraints on transitional authorities and that these institutions make decisions and model practices that are highly consequential for the ensuing transition.
The book is rich in descriptive detail about elite politics during the Tunisian and Libyan political transitions. The book also provides some theoretical infrastructure for thinking about the challenges faced by those in charge of charting political transitions, even those as different as Tunisia's and Libya's. It includes particularly illuminating d
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