FAO Quotables

"But being right, even morally right, isn't everything. It is also important to be competent, to be consistent, and to be knowledgeable. It's important for your soldiers and diplomats to speak the language of the people you want to influence. It's important to understand the ethnic and tribal divisions of the place you hope to assist."
-Anne Applebaum

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Notes on African Elections (Articles by Lindbery, Bratton and Gazibo)

BONUS LINK:  My entire (so far) grad school notes collection can be found here. 

Notes on African Elections (Articles by Lindbery, Bratton and Gazibo)

Staffan Lindberg: "The Democratic Quality of Competitive Elections: Participation, Competition and Legitimacy in Africa,” Commonwealth and Comparative Politics 42, 1 (March 2004)

- Eventually things will get better.  If he reran this data today, what would it show?
- Elections themselves are funded internally and its only the election monitoring that is external. 
*A major obstacle is that every time there’s a breakdown, the election cycle starts over—therefore they have trouble getting to that magical fourth election. 
By the 4th election though, the winning party has a 74% share of seats (on average) which is effectively a single party state. 

Michael Bratton, Ravi Bhavnan and Tse-Hsin Chen, “Voting Intensions in Africa: Ethnic, Economic or Partisan?” Commonwealth and Comparative Politics 50, 1 (2012)
- Challenging pessimist argument that in absence of big middle class are identity based which can only generate instability over time (therefore there’s never any swing vote)—exacerbating the problem.  There’s some ethnic voting but the evaluation of the economy (and partisanship matters).  Identity matters, but not that much. 

Mamoudou Gazibo:The Forging of Institutional Autonomy: A Comparative Study of Electoral Management Commissions in Africa,” Canadian Journal of Political Science 39, 3 (September 2006), 

- Electoral commissions are extremely important but there’s a lot of variation.  Some have been able to create autonomy.  An independent and autonomous EC contributes directly to freer and fairer elections.  He doesn’t explain WHY some become better and some don’t.  A good EC makes the elections less politicized. 

- Need to look at the people who are in charge of the electoral commission—this is perhaps the biggest factor.  Example in Togo, where no one even tries.  

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