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Imagine a country under a rule of a regime that is under pressure to democratize. The regime could hold for a decade or so, but the population is growing, while economy is not. And without needed reforms the writing is on the wall.

The regime decides to democratize and allow real political parties. That is give political power for real, not just in name only.

However there is a problem with certain ethnic group, which the regime hates and refuses to grant them citizenship. Something analogous to situation with Rohingya in Burma. They are from difference race & religion then rest of the population.

The regime wants to ensure that no matter which party comes to power they won't be able yield to the pressure from the international community, at least not without committing political suicide.

How could regime prevent future democratically elected representatives to not grant citizenship to the hated ethnic group?

The regime could for example allow only vetted parties to run in the first elections. But in the future nothing stops appearance of the parties who will cut the deal with the international community. The international community can not use force, but they would try to lure the government with carrots (aid & investment).

This is contemporary age question.

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  • $\begingroup$ Messrs. Mark Sykes and François Georges-Picot were quite successful in setting up an intractable problem for a sizeable part of the world, weren't they? Seriously speaking, if it actually is a democracy (which is much more rare on earth that many people believe) then it all depends on the people. Note however that many successful countries are set up as republics and not democracies, the difference being that in a republic a majority cannot necessarily do what it wants and is confined to the boundaries of a constitution. $\endgroup$ – AlexP May 16 '18 at 8:43
  • $\begingroup$ @Raditz_35 Is it clear now? $\endgroup$ – Tegor The 3rd May 16 '18 at 8:45
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP But they've split territory, I just want to prevent future government to sell out for money. $\endgroup$ – Tegor The 3rd May 16 '18 at 8:46
  • $\begingroup$ @TegorThe3rd Yes. This might sound like a technicality, but it might give you completely different answers: You should perhaps consider asking "what will do x" instead of asking if it can be done (unless you want 10 answers telling you "no" differently). Also perhaps define a time frame. No sane human being believes that whatever policy ancient Babylon had would have any sure influence on present day Iraq. $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 May 16 '18 at 8:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Raditz_35 Rephrased and set it in modern age. Is it clear now? $\endgroup$ – Tegor The 3rd May 16 '18 at 9:01

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Create constitution where there is one paragraph granting citizenship excluding one group but also grant some extra rights to the rest.
Then whoever comes next and try to change the article is accused of taking that extra right from everyone.
Also secure the changes in constitution with public poll where attendance must be 100% (but voting is not mandatory) and vote for single article change must be higher than 75% of all participants.

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  • $\begingroup$ How do you mean granting extra rights to the rest group? If every citizen has it that its not an extra right. $\endgroup$ – Tegor The 3rd May 16 '18 at 9:50
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    $\begingroup$ @TegorThe3rd Extra right for the person with citizenship. Like basic income. Free healthcare. Tax breaks. Something you can't get being form "THAT" excluded group. But it's not an real extra. It's just a bugbear to make people feel that new government want to take something from them. $\endgroup$ – SZCZERZO KŁY May 16 '18 at 10:00
  • $\begingroup$ See the USA constitution and the "right to bear arms" saga. In a simplified assessment of the issue, politicians who try to update the law to at least exclude automatic guns are pretty certain to be committing political suicide. NRA and pro gun citizens are too powerful. So make the caveat to your citizenship that SZCZERZO KLY mentioned, something sensitive like that. Barely anyone will have the will to repeal the law. At least for a few decades/centuries... $\endgroup$ – EveryBitHelps May 16 '18 at 13:54
  • $\begingroup$ @EveryBitHelps That's neither true (automatic weapons are tightly restricted in the US per the 1934 NFA), nor a particularly relevant analogy if we're talking about a new government granting rights to an out-group. Something like tribal tensions in central/east Africa might be more apt; there's a long history there of new democracies selectively excluding rights or full citizenship to particular ethnic groups. $\endgroup$ – Catgut May 16 '18 at 14:08
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    $\begingroup$ @nzaman you go the usual "They say that because they want to take that income from you. You don't need to change the article, you add another one." They can just speak to the public, not the legislators. " we cared about you people but those nasty new ones want to take your right those damn [input name]" $\endgroup$ – SZCZERZO KŁY May 16 '18 at 15:06
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Plenty of countries like that right now.

Polynesia has independent democracies which were chiefdoms or kingdoms, whole classes of people are excluded from running for election (the majority) which leaves power in the hands of the families who were chiefs or nobles to begin with. Most of these have been independent countries for decades.

Chiefs control the land and resources and only chiefs can stand for election. So they have a tight hold on everything despite being recognised Worldwide as democratic countries, in practice voting against the local chiefs wishes can get a whole extended family banished from the village and therefore have no access to the resources they need to live and in physical danger if they return.

Samoa would be a classic example. All govt CEO's and politicians are by law from an elite social class. All land is controlled by the same elite class. The private sector is with very few exceptions composed of the same elite class because they're the only ones that get govt contracts and loans etc,.

Democracy is just a word, the important bit is who actually controls the land and resources. So basically you can have a democracy without relinquishing anything and still enforce whatever you want.

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Imitate Latvia. The nepilsoņi are a special group of non-citizens (i.e. Russians) residing within Latvia. Basically, people who came to Latvia after 1940 (and their children) do not have citizenship. They might get naturalized, but there is a language test to be passed.

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In the long run you can't.

You can make it difficult or awkward but when power changes hands all the powers that the previous government had transfer to the new one. Anything that was written can be changed. Anything that was set in stone can be removed simply by saying "it's a holdover from the previous administration and should be discarded accordingly".

Everything else is just spin and you can spin things any way you want them.

Mind you, if the group is still hated by the general population, changing to democracy isn't going to help. Even democracies have shown themselves perfectly capable of institutional, systematic oppression and denial of rights to ethnic groups, sexes, religions, sexual orientations or otherwise.

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I almost hate to point out the semi-obvious real world answer to your stated question.

How do you prevent these hated people from gaining power in the future?

Simply put, you ensure they don't exist in the future.

Ethnic cleansing, genocide, the final solution; it has many names, but it has occured too often in the history of human civilisations to be considered unlikely in the situation you are describing.

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There have been plenty of countries that drew the line between Citizens and non-Citizens, with the non-Citizens freely living within the country's borders. Rome comes to mind.

In Rome's case, citizenship was a form of Romanization of the people, such that obtaining citizenship would consequentially mold the people into a Roman ideal.

A famous Roman non-citizen (he was a freedman, not a slave) is the poet Horace.

It seems that any country could set an arbitrary barrier on citizenship, provided it had the power to live with and maintain that barrier.

Whether that country has a stable economy or not is unrelated to how it manages its democracy.

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    $\begingroup$ (a) Freedmen were Roman citizens. Rome, alone among ancient states, automatically granted citizenship to manumitted slaves; this gave Rome a massive advantage in ruling the empire, because slaves had a clear target and aspiration. True, libertini (freedmen) had some restrictions (for example, they could not become senators), but they had the right to vote and, more importantly, their children were considered ingenui (freeborn) and could aspire to any position in society. (b) It was not Horace but his father who was a freedman; Horace was a freeborn citizen. Terence was a freedman. $\endgroup$ – AlexP May 16 '18 at 17:42
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Give them a limited role in your society that reinforces their negative status.

In the Middle Ages, antisemitism was widespread, and many nations had laws forbidding Jews from participating in many industries. Jews were forced into trades which reinforced their negative perception among the public, such as banking.

At the same time, they were frequently forced to live in overcrowded, poorly-maintained areas of cities (ghettos). With little legitimate work available to the residents, these often became hotbeds of criminal activity.

In many countries, this combination of factors led to an artificially-induced downward spiral towards poverty, which only further cemented a negative image of Jews in urban culture. Even without a higher authority dictating that Jews be oppressed, it was the common view of the citizenry that they were a separate class of people. It would take hundreds of years to change this perception.

You may not be able to build that kind of negative reputation in the limited time you have available, but with carefully-crafted legislation you can both claim to be acting progressively (by giving this hated group a role in your society) while simultaneously shaping their future towards a disadvantaged, exploited position.

Once your citizenry comes to see the hated ethnic group as dirty (because they are forced to live in unmaintained neighborhoods), lazy (because you prevent them from working), and greedy (because you force them to struggle for every cent)- that social perception will long outlast your regime. They won't be given citizenship, because the majority of the population will believe they don't deserve it and can't be trusted with it.

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Move them.

Make a minority homeland. Bus all of your minority to the crap homeland you make for them. Give them self rule. Put up a border wall. Wash your hands of them. Then if the international community loves them so much, those bleeding hearts can go on to the homeland and love them right on up.

This is a time tested maneuver. It has been successfully implemented many times since the days of the Assyrian empire.

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You just have to convince the majority that the minority is guilty of some heinous social taboo.

The Burakumin in Japan are native Japanese, but due to the way Japanese Buddhism viewed certain trades like tanning and butchering which were connected to death historically they were treated as untouchables.

During the feudal period, they were forced to live in segregated villages and were considered to be worth 1/7 of a normal peasant. Despite the system being abolished in 1871, and the introduction of laws against discrimination, there have been various scandals involving companies screening potential employees and denying jobs to interviewees they believed were from Burakumin families.

Living in a certain area, and/or having a certain surname will earmark you as Burakumin. Marrying a Burakumin will make you one. Your job and social opportunities will be severely limited meaning you will find it next to impossible to get out of the Buraku.

Further reading for those that want to know more

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-34615972

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/burakumin-descendants-of-caste-considered-tainted-face-new-discrimination-in-japan-a6791141.html

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/12/19/reference/new-toothless-law-fight-bias-burakumin-seen-falling-short/

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As part of the deal for democracy get wide amnesty of past crimes and reorganize as a populist political party. Then make the continued rejection of this minority as "permanent foreigners" your main political issue. From description it kind of is, anyway.

This kind of negative agenda is very easy to sell to people. Just make noise about any crimes committed by members of this minority and inflate any real fears and concerns people have about them out of all proportion. If you are this serious about keeping them as non-citizens you must have lots of material you can talk about with great passion and total sincerity.

Wrap it with nationalistic jargon about keeping the nation strong and unified. Talk about sacred cultural and religious values with great conviction.

Portray any attempt by other parties to give the group any rights as "selling out" the independence and sovereignty of the nation to foreign powers. This won't be that hard since foreign powers probably really will push the issue. And every time they do, your position will be stronger.

In general, push an anti-internationalist agenda. This is easy to sell to people and as it has been standard for pretty much every populist movement, you can easily copy from real world precedents. For example the British Brexiteers (and other euro-sceptics) or (if American) the way scepticism about the UN, various climate pacts, NAFTA and other large trade deals both give easy examples of how to use the natural suspicion people have of foreigners for political gain.

Another standard populist agenda is anti-elitism. You should adopt that as well. It is easy to do, allows you gain popular support while saying things that are just non-sense, and works with all issues. In your case "the elites" are also the second most likely group after "the foreign powers" to push for citizenship, so they are your enemies anyway.

For examples, you can use "the climate debate", again the Brexiteers, or the anti-immigrant propaganda anywhere. The way Trump handles the Mexican illegal immigrants is probably the easiest to copy. When you talk simple and loud and with great conviction about an issue that is really very complex, "the elites" trying to oppose you with facts will look weak and dodgy. The Brexiteers were very similar. Lots of things they said did not really make any sense but that does not really matter as long as it is simple and appeals to emotions.

As long as the new democratic parties are not united in a single bloc this will give you enough popular support to make giving citizenship to the minority extremely risky. If you have done your prep-work properly and made any democratic opposition to the regime properly fragmented, you have decent chance of making it impossible.

This is actually a fairly good approach to going democratic as the ethnic minority gives you popular agenda that is not directly connected to your non-democratic past. You basically get a strong new start in politics for free. It also plays well with standard populist politics that allows you to just copy already proven in practice to be efficient solutions from history books or from elsewhere.

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