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News release

As Africans enter busy political year, scepticism marks weakening support for elections, new Afrobarometer report reveals

2 Feb 2024
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News release
Key findings
  • Three-fourths (75%) of Africans support fair, open, and honest elections as the best way to choose their leaders, including 50% who “strongly agree” with this view (Figure 1).
  • However, on average across 29 countries where this question was asked in both 2011/2013 and 2021/2023, this support has dropped by 8 percentage points, including massive declines in Tunisia (-24 percentage points), Burkina Faso (-19 points), and Lesotho (-19 points) (Figure 2). o Sierra Leone is the only surveyed country that records significantly increased support for elections (+13 points).
  • Nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents support multiparty competition to ensure that voters have real choices in who governs them, while 34% think political parties foster division and confusion and their country doesn’t need many of them (Figure 3).
  • Fewer than half (42%) of Africans believe that their country’s elections ensure that members of Parliament (MPs) represent the views of voters. A similar minority (45%) say their elections enable voters to remove leaders from office who fail to align with the desires of the people (Figure 4).
  • Africans overwhelmingly say they feel “completely free” (65%) or “somewhat free” (20%) to vote for the candidate of their choice without feeling pressured. Only 14% indicate that they feel pressured or constrained.
  • On average, only four in 10 citizens (39%) say they trust their national electoral commission “somewhat” or “a lot,” while 57% express little or no trust (Figure 5). o On average across 27 countries where this question was asked consistently since 2011/2013, trust in the electoral commission has dropped by 10 percentage points, from 51% to 41%.

While most Africans endorse elections as the best method for choosing their leaders, this  preference has weakened over the past decade, a new Afrobarometer report reveals. 

Based on national surveys in 39 African countries, the new analysis shows that most Africans  endorse multiparty competition, feel free to vote as they choose, and assess their most  recent election as largely free and fair. 

But fewer than half think voting ensures representative, accountable governance, and  public trust in national electoral-management bodies is weak in most countries.