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Electoral Laws Under Extreme Conditions: The Case of Africa. David Backer Ken Kollman University of Michigan presented at Democracy Seminar Series Electoral Institute of Southern Africa January 21, 2003. Agenda. Project Origins Aims Sources Data Missing Data Measures

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electoral laws under extreme conditions the case of africa
Electoral Laws Under Extreme Conditions: The Case of Africa

David Backer

Ken Kollman

University of Michigan

presented at

Democracy Seminar Series

Electoral Institute of Southern Africa

January 21, 2003

agenda
Agenda
  • Project Origins
  • Aims
  • Sources
  • Data
  • Missing Data
  • Measures
  • Elections in Africa
  • Comparative Analysis
  • Discussion
  • Looking Ahead
project origins
Project Origins
  • Chhibber & Kollman (APSA 1998)
    • Party aggregation, i.e., relationship between local and national party system
    • Dependent variable: effective number of political parties
    • Principal explanatory factor: distribution of fiscal resources across levels of government
    • Data from U.S. and India
  • Chhibber & Kollman (forthcoming 2003)
    • Addition of data from U.K. and Canada
slide4
Aims
  • Explore applications of Kollman & Chhibber to African cases
  • Gather details on electoral systems and party systems in Africa
  • Build archive of African electoral data
  • Assess impact of political environment on electoral outcomes, with reference to Africa
sources
Sources
  • Books
    • Elections in Africa

(Nohlen, Krennerich & Thibaut 1999)

    • Democracy and Political Change in Sub-Saharan Africa

(Wiseman 1990)

    • Politics of Opposition in Contemporary Africa

(Olukoshi 1998)

    • Electoral Territoriality in Southern Africa

(Rule 2000)

    • Voting for Democracy

(Daniel, Southall & Szeftel 1999)

    • Electoral Systems and Democratization in Southern Africa

(Reynolds 1999)

    • Rise and Fall of Nigeria’s Second Republic

(Falola & Ihonvbere 1985)

    • African Democracies and African Politics

(Salih 2001)

sources6
Sources
  • Official Sources
    • Electoral Commissions
    • Government Websites
  • On-Line Resources
    • Adam Carr’s Election Archives
    • Electionworld.org
    • Electionguide.org
    • Electionresources.org
    • Democraf.com
    • IPU
    • IFES
  • Organizations
    • EISA
  • Personal Collections
    • Judy Geist (Kenya)
slide7
Data
  • National
    • 47 countries
    • 299 elections
    • Seat allocations, by party
    • Votes, by party (where possible)
    • Turnout (where possible)
  • District-Level
    • 9 countries
    • 30 elections
    • 3,415 contests
    • Votes by candidate (with party affiliation)
    • Turnout (where possible)
district level data
District-Level Data

Botswana

1969, 1974, 1979

1984, 1989, 1994

1999

Burkina Faso

1997

The Gambia

1997

Kenya

1963, 1969, 1974, 1979

1983, 1988, 1992

1997, 2002

Lesotho

1993

1998

2002

Ghana

1996

2000

Zimbabwe

1990

1995

2000

Zambia

1991

1996

2001

Malawi

1999

missing data
Missing Data
  • National
    • Seats: 0 countries, 0 elections
    • Votes: 24 countries, 41 elections
  • District-Level (Single-Member)
    • 20 countries
    • 60 elections
    • 9,226 contests
  • District-Level (Other Electoral Systems)
    • 13 countries
    • 56 elections
    • ???? contests
missing district level data
Missing District-Level Data

Burundi1965

Central African Republic1993, 1998

Comoros1972, 1992, 1993, 1996

Congo1992, 1993, 2002

Ethiopia1995, 2000

Gabon1990, 1996, 2001

Gambia1966, 1972, 1977, 1982, 1987, 1992

Ghana1956, 1969, 1979

Lesotho1965, 1970

Malawi1994

Mali2002

Nigeria1959, 1964, 1979, 1983, 1992, 1999

Sierra Leone1962, 1967, 1973, 1977

Sudan1953, 1958, 1965, 1968, 1986, 1996, 2000

Swaziland1993, 1998

Tanzania1995, 2000

Togo1958, 1994, 1999, 2002

Uganda1962, 1980, 1996, 2001

Zambia1964, 1968

Zimbabwe1985

measures
Measures
  • Vote and seat shares
  • Effective number of political parties

j = jth district i = ith party

d = number of districts n = number of parties receiving votes

  • SF ratio: 3rd place votes vs. 2nd place votes

National

District

District Average

elections in sub saharan africa choice of electoral system
Elections in Sub-Saharan Africa- Choice of Electoral System -

47 Countries

22 Single-Member

20 PR

8 Single- and

Multi-Member

5 Mixed

21 Multi-Member

Note: 22 countries have changed their electoral system; 7 have employed three systems.

elections in sub saharan africa opportunities for competition
Elections in Sub-Saharan Africa- Opportunities for Competition -

47 Countries

299 Elections

183 Multi-Party

7 No Parties

109 One-Party

elections in sub saharan africa multi party elections by system
Elections in Sub-Saharan Africa- Multi-Party Elections by System -

47 Countries

183 Multi-Party Elections

81 Single-Member

12 PR

25 Single- and

Multi-Member

14 Mixed

51 Multi-Member

elections in sub saharan africa one party elections by system
Elections in Sub-Saharan Africa- One-Party Elections by System -

32 Countries

109 One-Party Elections

29 Single-Member

44 PR

12 Single- and

Multi-Member

3 Mixed

21 Multi-Member

elections and the political environment in sub saharan africa
Elections and the Political Environmentin Sub-Saharan Africa

Note: Averages of Freedom House scores, which range from 1 (best) to 7 (worst).

single member district elections in sub saharan africa third parties the local party system
Single-Member District Elections inSub-Saharan Africa- Third Parties & the Local Party System -
discussion
Discussion
  • Conventional image of African elections
    • ban on opposition parties
    • boycotts
    • suppression of political activity
    • single-party dominance
    • attenuated competition
  • Underappreciated phenomena
    • heterogeneity of outcomes
    • domination + fragmentation within local party systems
discussion30
Discussion
  • Winner-take-all electoral systems (i.e., single-member districts) not necessarily less favorable to competition
    • highest share of votes for opposition parties
    • similar share of seats for opposition parties, despite premium to top party
  • Inverse-U relationship between political environment and national party system
  • Patterns of electoral results in Africa not so different from those in established democracies, except with respect to the variability of outcomes
looking ahead
Looking Ahead
  • Data
    • compilation of missing historical results
    • updating with latest results on an ongoing basis
    • standardize reporting by individual countries
      • timely
      • detailed
      • complete
      • accessible
      • user-friendly format
  • Utilization Issues
    • effective dissemination  widely available public resource
    • relevance to policy-making and research
looking ahead32
Looking Ahead
  • Audiences
    • government officials
    • international policy-makers
    • academics
    • think tanks
    • NGOs
  • Research Issues
    • influence of electoral systems on political competition
    • nature and evolution of party systems
    • impact of political environment on electoral outcomes
    • comparative analysis
      • within Africa
      • Africa vs. developing democracies
      • Africa vs. established democracies
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