Democracy

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WP15: Public opinion and the consolidation of democracy in Namibia

Although there are no clearly definable social groupings that can be labelled "anti-democratic"or "non-democratic," two important factors account for much of the variation in opinions and attitudes: the urban-rural divide, and partisanship. The urban-rural divide captures many of the socio-economic inequalities present in the country and has a significant influence on almost all variables. A clear divide also emerges between supporters of the ruling party and those who back the opposition. Namibia still appears to be a country with serious political divisions.

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WP14: Public attitudes toward democracy, governance, and economic development in Botswana

Botswana is the longest surviving democracy in Southern Africa, which others often seek to emulate. In order to observe popular satisfaction with democratization, an Afrobarometer survey was conducted in Botswana in 2000. The results reflect long-standing democratic values and the firm entrenchment of democratic institutions. Bastswana demonstrate their satisfaction with democracy and the legitimacy of the state, by claiming that the government exercises power within legal means and equally represents the interests of all citizens.

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WP13: Citizen perceptions of democracy, governance, and political crisis in Lesotho

Lesotho has been governed in many different ways since its founding as a nation in the mid-19th century, including episodes of both democratic and authoritarian rule. This history is reflected in the ambivalence shown by Basotho in response to questions on an Afrobarometer questionnaire administered in early 2000. Almost half the sampled population were unable to define democracy, a figure higher than in any other southern African country.

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WP12: Democracy and national governance in Zimbabwe: A country survey report

Two decades of ZANU-PF rule has left Zimbabweans yearning for change. The survey revealed deep discontent with the democratic performance of the government and the management of the economy. Citizens overwhemingly reject one-man and one-party rule and clear majorities support democracy and prefer it to any other alternative. The constitutional reform exercise that coincided with the survey sowed seeds of hope at the time and helped to spur the current quest for change in the country.

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WP11: The Afrobarometer Network Round 1: Compendium of comparative data from a 12-nation survey

All too often, the orientations of the general public towards political and economic change are unknown, undervalued or ignored.  How do Africans understand democracy?  Which aspects of good governance and structural adjustment do they support or reject?  And how do they behave as citizens and as actors in civil society?  The Afrobarometer seeks to answer these and many other, related questions.  By giving voice to African citizens, it challenges the view that elites understand the preferences of “the people,” including minority groups within society.

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WP8: Views of democracy in South Africa and the region: Trends and comparisons

By most standards, South Africa’s new political system qualifies as a genuine democracy. But a constitution, relatively well run elections, and stable, elected, representative institutions do not complete the democratic picture. A key question remains: are South Africans truly citizens of their country, willing to support, sustain and defend democratic practices as a consolidated democracy requires? The evidence from a national public opinion survey conducted in 2000 suggests that in fact the country still faces numerous challenges before democratic consolidation is complete.

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WP7: Public opinion and the consolidation of democracy in Southern Africa

Based on public opinion surveys, this paper reports preliminary findings on progress towards democratic consolidation in six Southern African countries. There was considerable variation in responses among the countries studied, but overall the findings suggest that democracy, although still incompletely understood, nevertheless generates widespread popular support in most of the region.

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WP6: Uganda's Referendum 2000: The silent boycott

On 29 June 2000, Ugandans faced an historic choice. They went to the polls to select a form of government for their country. The referendum question asked citizens to choose between an existing movement system and a multiparty system. At stake in the vote was the popularity of the no-party political arrangements that have evolved in Uganda over the last fifteen years, bringing to the country a measure of stability and growth.

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WP4: Democracy and economy in Uganda: A public opinion perspective

Surveys of Ugandan attitudes toward democracy and markets suggest that the country has achieved differential forms of success in the political and economic spheres, and that it faces different challenges in each. In the political arena, considerable progress has been made in mobilizing mass participation, but political competition has yet to be adequately guaranteed. This may not be surprising given that Ugandans, more than most fellow Africans, associate democracy with preserving social peace and national unity.

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WP3: Attitudes to democracy and markets in Nigeria

Less than a year after the inauguration of a new democratic government, the attitudes of Nigerians towards democracy and markets were tested in a national sample survey conducted in early 2000. The findings reveal a fervent attachment to democratic values in Nigeria, as well as a remarkably high assessments of the new regime’s performance. Whether these views reflect a durable consensus, or merely temporary “transition euphoria” that may yet be undermined by the difficulties of achieving real political and economic change remains to be seen.

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WP2: Attitudes to democracy and markets in Ghana

Based on comparative analysis of original survey data from Ghana, Zambia and South Africa, this paper assesses the attitudes of African citizens towards democracy. Is democracy valued intrinsically (as an end in itself) or instrumentally (e.g., as a means to improving material living standards)? We find as much popular support for democracy in Africa as in other Third-Wave regions, but less satisfaction with the performance of elected governments.

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WP1: Support for democracy in Africa: Intrinsic or instrumental?

Based on comparative analysis of original survey data from Ghana, Zambia and South Africa, this paper assesses the attitudes of African citizens towards democracy. Is democracy valued intrinsically (as an end in itself) or instrumentally (e.g., as a means to improving material living standards)? We find as much popular support for democracy in Africa as in other Third-Wave regions, but less satisfaction with the performance of elected governments.

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Voting and Democratic Citizenship in Africa

How do individual Africans view competitive elections? How do they behave at election time? What are the implications of new forms of popular participation for citizenship and democracy? Drawing on a decade of research from the cross-national Afrobarometer project, the authors of this seminal collection explore the emerging role of mass politics in Africa's fledgling democracies.

Purchase the book from Lynne Rienner Publishers

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Democracy

Popular understanding of, support for, and satisfaction with democracy. Any desire to return to, or experiment with, authoritarian alternatives.

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