The Three Political Economies of Electoral Quality in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands

32 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2015  

Terence Wood

Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy

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Date Written: September 29, 2015

Abstract

This paper discusses electoral quality in the Melanesian countries of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. Drawing on a range of qualitative and quantitative evidence it argues that the electoral malpractice the countries experience is a product of three interacting political economies. The first of these is a national political economy which incentivises Members of Parliament in both countries to neglect — but not, at the national level, actively attempt to capture — electoral process and systems. The second political economy is an international one, which affords international actors some power, albeit limited, to serve as a countervailing force against national-level neglect of electoral quality. The third political economy is more localised, and based around the balance of power within constituencies, communities and also provinces. Thanks to weak national systems there is considerable scope for actors to engage in malpractice at these levels, although the scope for cheating can sometimes be restricted when power is balanced between local actors. Also, path dependency causes electoral violence to vary considerably between different parts of PNG.

Keywords: Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Electoral Quality, Political Economy

JEL Classification: D72

Suggested Citation

Wood, Terence, The Three Political Economies of Electoral Quality in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands (September 29, 2015). Crawford School of Public Policy Development Policy Centre Discussion Paper No. 43. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2667279

Terence Wood (Contact Author)

Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy ( email )

7 Liversidge Street
Lennox Crossing
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory ACT 0200
Australia

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