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Malawians losing confidence in elections, demand reforms, new Afrobarometer survey shows

A growing number of Malawians say the country should adopt methods other than elections for choosing its leaders because elections produce “bad results.” According to the latest Afrobarometer survey, four in 10 citizens support this idea – more than twice as many as a decade ago.

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Facing election test, Kenya can look to popular support for the rule of law, survey shows

Popular support for the rule of law is one of Kenya’s strengths as it confronts an electoral crisis in the wake of the annulled presidential contest of August 8, Afrobarometer survey findings suggest.

Based on a national survey conducted last October, more Kenyans trust the courts than the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, and fully three-quarters of citizens expect the president to obey the courts even if he thinks they’re wrong.

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AD140: Algerians’ darkening outlook on economy and democracy predates recent anti-austerity protests

Six years after protests swept Northern Africa in the Arab Spring, Algeria entered 2017 with unrest in the streets. Like many other petro-economies, Algeria relies heavily on high state spending and subsidies. But in recent years, plummeting oil and gas prices have hit the county’s economy hard. Algeria generates about 95% of its export earnings from oil, and faced with dwindling revenues and reserves, the government has been tasked with reducing state spending by 9% in 2016 and another 14% at the beginning of this year (Falconer, 2017; Stratfor, 2017; Wrey, 2017).

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WP171: Do electoral handouts affect voting behavior?

Vote-buying is defined as a transaction whereby candidates distribute private goods such as cash and gifts in exchange for electoral support or higher turnout. The direct implication of this definition is that vote shares and turnout would have been lower in the absence of electoral handouts. While there is ample evidence that candidates target certain voters with cash handouts, it is unclear whether these handouts actually result in greater turnout or higher vote shares in favour of the distributing candidate.

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WP170: Public trust in elections: The role of media freedom and election management autonomy

As multiparty elections have become a global norm, scholars and policy experts regard public trust in elections as vital for regime legitimacy. However, very few cross-national studies have examined the consequences of electoral manipulation, including the manipulation of election administration and the media, on citizens’ trust in elections.

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How good are Africa's elections? Afrobarometer video.

Video transcript:

Dozens of African countries regularly conduct national and local elections.

Each election picks a winner.

But beyond winners and losers, the quality of each election also shapes how people feel about their political system in general.

Free and fair elections make people want more democracy.

Elections tainted by repression, fraud, or violence have the opposite effect.

So how good are Africa’s elections?

Afrobarometer surveyed  more than 53,000 citizens in 36 countries, in every region of Africa.

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Kenya: Improving democracy in spite of political rhetoric

At a glance

  • Democratic preferences: A majority of Kenyans prefer democratic, accountable governance in which:
    • Leaders are elected in free and fair elections.
    • Political parties compete in an open field.
    • The president is accountable to the people and Parliament.
  • Democracy improving: Compared to 2014, more Kenyans consider their country a democracy and are satisfied with the way it is working.
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AD119: Will of the people? Election results and public opinion in Gabon

According to Gabon’s national electoral commission and a subsequent Constitutional Court ruling, incumbent President Ali Bongo won re-election in August against challenger Jean Ping. His razor-thin and disputed victory margin relies in part on extraordinarily strong support and high voter turnout in the president’s home province, Haut-Ogooué. The officially announced results prompted protests in which several people died and many were arrested.

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PP35: Election quality, public trust are central issues for Africa’s upcoming contests

Nothing kindles democracy’s energies, anxieties, hopes, and frustrations like an election. The quality of an election can spell the difference between a cooking fire and an explosion.

If a successful election can calm and focus a nation (e.g. Namibia 2015), a disputed election can tear it apart (e.g. Burundi 2015, Côte d'Ivoire 2010, Kenya 2008).

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Behind Gabon’s election dispute, citizens strongly support multiparty democracy, reject autocratic alternatives

Behind Gabon’s eruption in post-election conflict, its citizens are among the strongest in Africa in their support for multiparty democracy and their rejection of non-democratic alternatives, a new analysis by Afrobarometer shows.

Among 36 African countries surveyed in 2014/2015, Gabon ranks near the top in favouring multiparty competition and term limits on presidents, as well as in disapproving of one-party and one-man rule, according to citizen responses collected in September and October 2015.

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In Gabon, overwhelming public distrust of CENAP and election quality forms backdrop for presidential vote dispute

Gabon’s presidential election dispute is playing out against a background of overwhelming public distrust of the national election commission (CENAP) and strikingly negative assessments of the country’s election environment in advance of the August 2016 vote, a new analysis by Afrobarometer shows.
Among 36 African countries surveyed in 2014/2015, Gabon ranks at or near the bottom on every indicator of election quality and fairness, according to citizen responses collected in September and October 2015.

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AD107: Disgruntled opposition or disillusioned democrats? Support for electoral law reforms in Uganda

Reform of electoral laws has been a mainstay of political discourse in Uganda for two decades. Since the issue came to the fore following the 1996 general elections, stakeholders on all sides – opposition political parties, civil-society organisations, election observer missions, government, and the Electoral Commission (EC) – have called for reform to ensure free and fair elections (International Foundation for Electoral Systems, 1996; Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda, 2013a).

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Fewer South Africans say opposition parties should focus on monitoring and criticising the government

In the run-up to local elections on 3 August 2016, the two leading opposition parties – the Democratic Alliance (DA) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) – are portraying the poll as a political watershed for democracy in the country in the wake of the recent Constitutional Court judgment against President Jacob Zuma regarding the use of state funds at his private residence in Nkandla. The two parties have played a crucial role in pushing for accountability on this matter over the past few years and were the applicants in the court case.

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AD89: As South Africa’s local elections approach, public confidence underpins system in turmoil

South Africa’s fourth democratic local government elections, in August 2016, will be a test for the long-ruling but troubled African National Congress (ANC), for opposition parties hoping to claim some major cities, for an Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) caught between court orders and logistical realities, and for local government councillors facing their constituents.

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BP151: Malgré la crise vécue, les Ivoiriens affirment leur soutien pour la démocratie

La Côte d’Ivoire est en train de sortir d’une crise politico-militaire qui a duré près d’une décennie et qui a contribué à accentuer le niveau de pauvreté dans le pays. Aujourd’hui, un Ivoirien sur deux vivent en dessous du seuil de pauvreté (Enquête sur le Niveau de Vie des Ménages, 2008). Les conditions de vie des populations se sont dégradées, et on a assisté à une prolifération de quartiers précaires. Le taux d’urbanisation qui était de 32% en 1975 est passé à 43% en 1998 et à 50% en 2012 selon l’Institut National de la Statistique (INS).

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AD61: Elections Burkina Faso: Citizens trust electoral institutions, incumbent leaders

On 29 November 2015, Burkina Faso will conduct its first presidential and parliamentary elections since popular protests in October 2014 ousted long-serving President Blaise Compaoré. Initially planned for mid-October 2015, the elections were delayed by a coup in September, which was overturned amid street demonstrations and diplomatic pressure from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union, and the United Nations.

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AD57: Call the police? Across Africa, citizens point to police and government performance issues on crime

Crime and insecurity are major challenges in African countries, threats to both national development and individual quality of life. According to the Legatum Prosperity Index, which assesses countries’ safety and security as part of national wealth and well-being, only 11 African countries rank in the top 100 countries worldwide in safety and security; the top-ranked African country (Benin) is at No. 50 (Legatum Institute, 2014). The U.S government rates crime in most African countries as either critical or high (U.S. Overseas Security Advisory Council, 2015).

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