Consequences of Electoral Systems in Africa: A Preliminary Inquiry
Electoral Studies, Vol. 24, pp. 41-64, 2005
Posted: 18 Sep 2007
Based on an original data set of elections in Africa, this article addresses the orthodoxy of theoretical hypotheses regarding the effects of electoral systems. While Africanists assume that context make a significant difference, the empirical analysis points to very similar effects of electoral institutions in Africa as in established democracies; regarding reductive effects, effects on the party system, governing capacity, competition and fairness of elections. Only the logic of accountability diverges from the theories of constitutional design. In addition, the empirical analysis seems to refute Sartori's argument that party systems must be structured before electoral systems can mature. Rather, the analysis of these emerging democracies suggests that electoral systems play a role in structuring party systems.
Keywords: electoral systems, democratization, elections, representation, participation, Africa
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