When the authoritarian leader of the state leaves unexpectedly, most often in his country happiness and prosperity does not come.
In any case, right after him/her.
In most cases, in his place comes a person from his environment, or a pet he raised, or in general an accidental person who was at the right time in the right place. Not to mention the distant and old examples from the history of humanity, it is possible to see examples of each of the scenarios described by me on our nearest neighbors.
The coming to power of a person from the environment of an authoritarian president and in an authoritarian environment inevitably leads to the fact that first proclaiming democratic values and criticizing the “cult of personality”, the successor inevitably rolls down in the same direction as its predecessor. After several years of rule, the new governor-democrat (and in the future, the same usurper) comes to the idea of the expediency of “maintaining an adjusted course”, “the need for stability in the country”, “the intrigues of external and internal enemies that shake the young republic” and makes every effort, in any way to remain in power. It is difficult to abandon the pistol, if suddenly he was with him among unarmed people. Being in power, the ruler encourages corruption, as it helps to enrich himself and allows enriching his environment, draining the resources of the whole country. A narrow stratum of people becomes incredibly rich, and the country remains poor or even begs even more.
Then the ruler grows old and leaves, and the script is repeated again. Only now, he himself is labeled with the “personality cult”, and his successor proclaims “democracy” and “new life”. Then, everything is repeated anew.
Actually, with the wave of new conditions in a number of countries, the revolutionary-minded masses overthrow the dictator and push their newly-made heroes onto the barricades, which suddenly become presidents, prime ministers and so on. In most cases, these eloquent populists do not have experience in government. In the worst case, they are rascals, who have come to power for the sole purpose of enriching themselves. They from the first days of their rule put on the key positions of their relatives seize tasty state resources and cast from gold toilet bowls and loaves of bread. This is all that their fantasies in the use of power are sufficient for. Often the newly minted presidents do not understand the changed situation and think that one can rule like an overthrown dictator. However, they are in a different atmosphere. In an atmosphere of revolutionary expectations and heightened civic engagement. The crowd, who yesterday put on a pedestal a new president, with the same ease after a while, blows him from there. Only the second or third after the dictator the president has real chances to become a real democratic leader of the country. Prior to this, the country is in chaos, devastation and, often, civil war with numerous human casualties.
Both the first and second scenario are undesirable. With the replacement of one dictator, another country avoids mass shocks, but is slowly depleted and for a long time slips into a pit of poverty. With the revolutionary change of power, the country is going through purification more quickly, but it is carrying many human victims.
What is the solution? What if the country has historically found itself in the third world and inherited both an authoritarian leader and a state system that is aligned to it?
There is an exit. But under one condition.
If the leader by the end of his life comes to realize his historical mission. If he is already sufficiently enriched and sufficiently enriches his family. If he understands the perniciousness of authoritarian rule for the future of the country and sincerely wants to translate its further development into a democratic channel.
Under these conditions, the elderly leader may still have the greatest benefit for his country in life: to save her from the next authoritarian president and from revolutionary upheavals.
What is needed for that?
It is necessary that he himself began to “let go of the reins”, began the policy of a thaw. It is important that when the balance of power between the clans is preserved, the restructuring of the entire system began. The development of democratic institutions must begin with him, and they must have time to pass the stage of formation.
How to do it?
The best move is to declare intention to leave office in five years. In this case, all the opposition forces will be redirected from the president’s personality to political opponents. They will drop the most important requirement at the moment – the change of the authoritarian leader of the country. They will be able to focus on the political programs themselves. Can clearly articulate their proposals for improving the situation in all areas of life.
In addition, an important step of the incumbent would be to announce the transition to a parliamentary republic. Then the arena of political struggle will be specially designed for these purposes thousands of years ago, the site – the country’s parliament. If the reins are released from above, electoral fraud will stop, “good” will be given to a real political struggle, the parties will begin to grow like mushrooms after the rain. We need to give them time to go through a stage of rapid growth and overriding the ambitions of their leaders. Only after a few years, quarreling and reuniting, they will merge into two, at most, three parties, which will become the foundation of the future political balance and stability of the country’s political system.
Charismatic leaders, whom the jealous president harassed for decades, imprisoned, deprived of business, expelled from the country, will return to the game again. There will also be new politicians from the current state apparatus, by which the “thaw” will untie the hands. They will openly oppose the policy of the government. Some of them, realizing that opposition is no longer considered a crime and an attempt on state foundations, will openly go into opposition.
Under such a political climate, the interests of the clans will go to the background. If, under authoritarian rule, the path to the political Olympus lay through the office of a superior leader, and therefore the main quality of the official was loyalty, then under a democratic system it is impossible to win the votes of voters just because you are of their kind or because you are a relative of the president. In any case, this will not be written in the program of parties. The parties will have to state the essence of their political programs. The modern history of mankind shows that, in the end, the struggle will be reduced to the confrontation of two ideologies: liberal and socialist.
The liberals will be in favor of raising the retirement age, the socialists – for the decline. The liberals will advocate the sale of land in private ownership, the socialists will be against it. The liberals will offer to reduce taxes on business, the socialists will offer to raise. And so on.
With such a bipartisan system, the care of the elderly president of the country will no longer be the determining factor for the country’s further development. By that time, people’s minds will occupy another question: which party to vote for, under which of them will citizens live better? The parliamentary republic does not presume an important role for the president of the country. The winning party forms the government (or elects the president from among its ranks). In any case, the voters will be faced with the issue of voting not for a specific person, but for a party, for ideology.
When, at last, the old president can calmly retire. Bringing the political system in the country to such situation, he really will not leave the possibility to take his place in the dictator’s seat and will not provoke revolutionary events by his departure. By this, he will forever leave a bright trace in the history of the country, without overshadowing his popular hatred and overthrow…