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1.9 Unit 1 - Sustaining Legitimacy

3 min readโ€ขdecember 26, 2022

I

Isabela Padilha Vilela


AP Comparative Governmentย ๐Ÿ—ณ๏ธ

90ย resources
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Unit 1 - Sustaining Legitimacy

Maintaining Legitimacy

In the previous guide you read about the different sources of legitimacy. Now that you can describe them, we will now look into how to maintain it! Legitimacy must be maintained, and this can be done in a variety of ways. The table below elaborates on the different ways to maintain legitimacy according to the College Board:ย 
Source of LegitimacyHow it maintains legitimacy (example!)
Strong Economic growthThere are many social science studies that affirm that the economic perception of the population influences how they perceive their government. For example, in Nigeria ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฌ the oil boom of 1970s brought more legitimacy to the government (in the short-term) because the population saw an increase on jobs and economic prosperity.ย 
Political Efficacyย It refers to the perception of an individual in how they can influence political decisions and outcomes. For example, UK ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง citizens - which are predominantly wealthier and have higher access to education than some of the other countries studies - understand and believe that they play a role in the political system. Their political efficacy is overall high.ย 
Charismatic Leadershipย When you think of Russia ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ, you probably think immediately of their leader Vladimir Putin riding shirtless on horses. He is charismatic ๐Ÿ˜ You may think this is silly, but he embodies a strong sense of pride in Russian nationalism and he legitimizes his power through his charisma and ability to defend Russia against western influence.ย 
Expansion of Rule of Lawย Consists of the idea that all individuals and institutions are bound to the law. It can be reinforced through a robust legal system, an independent judiciary, and a just and effective law enforcement. The existence of an all-encompassing constiution reinforces the rule of law. For example, Mexican ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฝ citizens rely on the constiution as a source of legitimacy since it unites them and puts everyone (including institutions) on the same level.ย 

Losing Legitimacy

If a government cannot maintain legitimacy, then it can be lost. Let's talk about what can cause a regime to lose legitimacy.ย Regime can lose legitimacy because of corruption, lack of free and fair elections, one party domination, an economic depression, or a major social strife (for example, an ethnic clash). Once again, because this is a course of application, let us look at some examples in our course countries:
  • Russiaย ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บโ€”mass protests against electoral fraud in the 2011 elections, leading to mass arrests of opposition party members.ย 
  • The UKย ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡งโ€”Brexit has caused much political and economic strife in the UK and caused the Conservative Party to lose legitimacy as they struggled with how to accomplish the Brexit vote.ย 
  • Chinaย ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณโ€”99.3% conviction rate has been used by President Xi Jinping to increase punishment of activists who have been protesting slowing economic growth.
  • Mexico ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฝ - The inability to deal with certain social issues, such as the predominance of organized crime, disrupts the nation's legitimacy.
๐Ÿ’กThe College board reinforces the idea that the devolution and delegation of powers to regional governments can also contribute to this inefficiency. For example, because several states in Mexico do not have a very well-coordinated plan against organized crime and narco-trafficking, they cannot deal with this issue very efficiently.
  • Iran ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ท - One of the main reasons of social unrest in Iran is the human rights abuse history of the nation. This causes the people to distrust the government.
  • Nigeria ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฌ - The lack of free and fair elections in Nigeria has caused the population to distrust its political processes. Although its elections are overseen by the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) some irregularities have been observed in recent elections, as well as fraud and voter intimidation.
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๐Ÿ˜Unit 4 โ€“ Party, Electoral Systems, & Citizen Organizations
๐Ÿ—Unit 5 โ€“ Political & Economic Changes & Development
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