This thematic collection of is offering a rich ethical overview on legal, political, social, financial and ethical aspects related to elections, its preparation, conflict resolutions and post-election processes. It has an initial focus on francophone Africa. Since 2018, it has been further enlarged to become a comprehensive collection on elections and ethics worldwide.

Recent Submissions

  • Entanglements of the Maghreb: Cultural and Political Aspects of a Region in Motion

    Dihstelhoff, Julius; Pardey, Charlotte; Ouaissa, Rachid; Pannewick, Friederike (transcript VerlagDEUBielefeld, 2023-09-13)
    The impulse for the recent transformations in the Arab world came from the Maghreb. Research on the region has been on the rise since, yet much remains to be done when it comes to interdisciplinary comparative research. The Maghreb is a heterogeneous region that deserves thorough investigation. This volume focuses on Entanglements as a cross-field and cross-lingual concept to generate a new approach to the region and its inner interdependencies as well as exchanges with other regions. Eminent researchers conceptualize Entanglements through the description of various thematic fields and actors in motion, addressing culture, politics, social affairs, and economics.
  • Praktiken der Kritik und Innovation und die Transformation des Politischen im Jugendaktivismus des urbanen Senegal

    Gukelberger, Sandrine; Meyer, Christian (DEU, 2023-07-05)
    Unser Beitrag setzt sich mit dekolonialem Jugendaktivismus im urbanen Senegal auseinander. Basierend auf ethnografischen Feldforschungen zu Jugendaktivismus im Senegal entwickeln wir mit Maurice Merleau-Ponty eine phänomenologische Perspektive auf die "antizipatorischen" und "innovatorischen Aktivitäten" von Jugendlichen (Lars Clausen). Zum einen arbeiten wir heraus, wie Jugendliche ihre lokalen Anliegen zwar in partikulare, ihrer politischen Kultur entsprechende Rahmen stellen, zugleich aber über off- und online-Protestpraktiken Bezüge transnationaler und universeller Art schaffen. Zum anderen untersuchen wir, wie Vorstellungen von globalen Machtverhältnissen, geopolitischen Ordnungen, ungleichen kulturellen Repräsentationen und Rassismen, die im weltweit vernetzten Jugendaktivismus zirkulieren, aufgegriffen und mit lokalen Bezügen partikularisiert und situiert werden. Dadurch entwickeln wir ein Verständnis, auf welche Weise Jugendliche auch dazu beitragen, die politische Kultur im Senegal zu dynamisieren und zu transformieren.
  • Hopeful Losers? a Moral Case for Mixed Electoral Systems

    King, Loren (Scholars Commons @ Laurier, 2015-07-01)
    Liberal democracies encourage citizen participation and protect our freedoms, yet these regimes elect politicians and decide important issues with electoral and legislative systems that are less inclusive than other arrangements. Some citizens inevitably have more influence than others. Is this a problem? Yes, because similarly just but more inclusive systems are possible. Political theorists and philosophers should be arguing for particular institutional forms, with particular geographies, consistent with justice. Les démocraties libérales encouragent la participation citoyenne et protègent nos libertés. Pourtant, ces régimes élisent des politiciens et décident de problèmes importants via les systèmes électoral et législatif, qui sont moins inclusifs que d’autres arrangements. Certains citoyens ont inévitablement plus d’influence que d’autres. Est-ce un problème? Oui, parce que des systèmes similairement justes, mais plus inclusifs, sont possibles. Les théoriciens et philosophes politiques devraient ainsi plaider en faveur de formes institutionnelles particulières, aux géographies précises, en cohérence avec la justice.
  • Defense against small parties: electoral reforms and their impact on Tunisia’s electoral system since the Arab Spring

    Ali, Hager (DEU, 2023-04-19)
    Tunisia's political system suffers from recurrent problems with governability and proportionality. A volatile party landscape, frequent cabinet reshuffles, and political gridlocks repeatedly jeopardized stability and democratic progress since the Arab Spring. Major and minor electoral reforms were undertaken in 2014, 2017, 2019, and 2022, but they were unable to diffuse either of these issues. This analysis is therefore driven by two central questions: How have Tunisia's electoral laws changed since the Arab Spring? And why have these reforms failed to improve both governability and proportionality? It will be argued that because Tunisia's party landscape is fractured and volatile only on the secularist side of the spectrum, coalitions with and against Ennahda are costly to all parties involved, worsening the overall quality of political representation. By analyzing the trajectory of major and minor electoral reforms longitudinally, this paper finds that Tunisia's electoral reforms incrementally restricted the electoral system by limiting parties' and candidates' capacity to compete in elections. Through modifying legislation on campaign finance and subsidies, gender parity, and candidacy requirements, and finally abolishing Tunisia's closed list PR-system in 2022, reforms benefit established older parties and wealthier candidates while fortifying the electoral system against newer and less wealthy contenders. Tunisia's electoral reforms are inadequate in addressing governability and proportionality because restricting electoral competition alone cannot improve the quality of representation through political parties.
  • Overpromising and Underdelivering? Digital Technology in Nigeria's 2023 Presidential Elections

    German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA) - Leibniz-Institut für Globale und Regionale Studien, Institut für Afrika-Studien; Acheampong, Martin (DEUHamburg, 2023-04-25)
    Africa reportedly exhibits lower overall levels of electoral integrity compared to other world regions. Remedying this situation has occasioned an explosion in the adoption of election technology. In 2023, Nigeria joined the wave of election digitalisation by holding its most technologically advanced polls since the inception of the Fourth Republic. But evidence from the elections contradicts the much-touted credibility guarantees that such technology comes with.
 Previous elections in Nigeria have witnessed a consistent decline in voter participation. Turnout in the just-ended 2023 presidential elections was a paltry 29 per cent, down from 69 per cent in 2003 and 53 per cent in 2011.
 Popular distrust in the electoral process generally, and in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) particularly, has seen voter apathy in recent elections reach record levels.
 To salvage this situation, Nigeria has adopted digital technology to, among other things, enhance transparency and integrity in the electoral process and boost popular confidence in the INEC. Digital technology is expected to guarantee a credible electoral roll and bring some robustness to voter-accreditation processes, while simultaneously enabling public access to results in real time.
 However, the technology deployed in the 2023 elections proved to be insufficient in resolving these credibility deficits. Aside from the multiple technical challenges that bedevilled the technology in the course of these elections, voter turnout was the lowest in the history of the Fourth Republic and popular trust in the electoral process and the INEC does not seem salvageable in the short term.
 Ensuring that digital technologies guarantee credible elections in sub-Saharan Africa requires governments, democracy promoters, civil society groups, and international organisations prioritise election cybersecurity, build up local technical capacities, and focus on Election Management Bodies becoming more transparent, especially regarding the use of such technology.
  • The Instrumentalization of Women Opposition Leaders for Authoritarian Regime Entrenchment: The Case of Uganda

    Tripp, Aili Mari (PRT, 2023-03-07)
    Electoral authoritarian regimes have sought to use a variety of tactics to remain in power even as they have opened themselves up to competition through multiparty elections. These tactics have included an array of measures targeting opposition women. They became significant in Africa after the 1990s as most countries adopted multiparty systems and ruling parties needed to maintain vote share. Ruling parties in African authoritarian countries strengthened their patronage networks by promoting women as leaders. At the same time, women in opposition parties have fared poorly compared to women in ruling parties and male opposition candidates. This has been the case even where one finds the special dispensation of a gender quota in the form of reserved seats. This article looks at how Uganda's ruling party has used various tactics to advance women leaders, responding to pressures from both the women’s movement and international actors while seeking to ensure its continued dominance. It reveals an essential feature of authoritarianism in Africa today, namely the instrumental use of women leaders to entrench the ruling party in power.
  • Chad's crisis-prone transition: dynastic consolidation and its risks

    Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik -SWP- Deutsches Institut für Internationale Politik und Sicherheit; Lacher, Wolfram (DEUBerlin, 2023-02-03)
    Since President Idris Deby's violent death in April 2021, the ruling elite in Chad have sought to protect their hold on power by promoting the dynastic succession of his son Mahamat. The risks of this strategy are becoming clearer with the October 2022 decision to prolong the transition by another two years as Mahamat Deby is appointed interim president. With the emergence of new opposition forces, the tactic of divid­ing antagonistic elites through selective co-optation faces limits. Both in the capital and in the provinces, power struggles are fuelling identity-based mobilisation. The regime's repression of the opposition plays into the hands of the proponents of armed struggle. France, as the guarantor of Mahamat Deby's superior position vis-à-vis the rebels, is playing an increasingly unpopular role. (author's abstract)
  • Krisenbehaftete Transition im Tschad: die Risiken dynastischer Machtsicherung

    Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik -SWP- Deutsches Institut für Internationale Politik und Sicherheit; Lacher, Wolfram (DEUBerlin, 2023-02-03)
    Seit dem gewaltsamen Tod von Präsident Idris Déby im April 2021 versucht die herr­schende Elite im Tschad, ihre Macht durch die dynastische Nachfolge seines Sohnes Mahamat zu sichern. Mit dem Beschluss von Oktober 2022, den Übergangsprozess um zwei Jahre zu verlängern und Mahamat Déby einstweilen zum Präsidenten zu ernen­nen, werden die Risiken dieser Bestrebungen deutlicher. Die Taktik, oppositionelle Eliten durch selektive Kooptation zu spalten, stößt mit dem Aufkommen populistischer Kräfte an ihre Grenzen. Sowohl in der Provinz als auch in der Hauptstadt heizen Macht- und Verteilungskämpfe eine Dynamik identitätspolitischer Konflikte an. Die Repression der zivilen Opposition durch das Regime spielt den Befürwortern eines bewaffneten Umsturzes in die Hände. Als Garant für Débys Überlegenheit gegenüber den Rebellen kommt Frankreich eine zunehmend unpopuläre Rolle zu. (Autorenreferat)
  • Les "syndicats des chefs d'État" sur le terrain: Perceptions locales de l'Union Africaine, de la CEDEAO et de leurs interventions au Burkina

    Hessische Stiftung Friedens- und Konfliktforschung; Schnabel, Simone; Witt, Antonia; Konkobo, Adjara (DEUFrankfurt am Main, 2023-02-09)
    Cette étude porte sur les perceptions locales d'une intervention régionale africaine - à savoir de l'Union Africaine et de la CEDEAO au Burkina Faso en 2014/15 - ainsi que sur les connaissances sur ces organisations détenues par différents acteurs locaux de diverses couches sociales. L'étude est le résultat d'une recherche collaborative et empiriquement rigoureuse effectuée dans la capitale et plusieurs localités du pays. Nous démontrons que les deux organisations régionales fricaines sont plus contestées localement que ce qui apparaît dans la littérature académique, et sont à la fois perçues plus positivement que suggéré par l’imaginaire social dominant relatif à ces organisations comme "syndicats des chefs d’État".
  • The "Clubs of Heads of State" from Below: Local perceptions of the African Union, ECOWAS and their 2014/15 interventions in Burkina Faso

    Hessische Stiftung Friedens- und Konfliktforschung; Schnabel, Simone; Witt, Antonia; Konkobo, Adjara (DEUFrankfurt am Main, 2023-02-09)
    This study examines local perceptions of an African regional inter­vention - by the African Union and ECOWAS in Burkina Faso in 2014/15 - as well as the know­ledge about these organi­sations held by different local actors from various social strata. The study is the result of colla­borative and empirically compre­hensive research carried out in the capital and several loca­lities in the country. We show that the two African regional organi­sations are more locally con­tested than is depicted in the academic litera­ture and, at the same time, perceived more posi­tively than suggested by the dominant social imaginary of these organi­sations as "clubs of heads of state".
  • The chronopolitics of national populism

    Taş, Hakkı (GBR, 2023-01-10)
    Inspired by the populists' salient urge to recalibrate and locate contingent developments within a larger temporal order and establish historical continuity, this paper dwells on the chronopolitics of national populism and calls for a systematic treatment of time in these movements. Focusing on the neglected narrative dimension, such an inquiry will afford an alternative reading from which to engage with and critique the magnitude of populism. This study argues that despite ample variance and claims of uniqueness, national populisms employ a shared temporal template that accounts for a particular national subjectivity through a set of timing and sequencing of events complemented by affective stimuli. It focuses on the case of Turkey. More pronounced since 2013 Gezi Protests, the rising tide of national populism under President Tayyip Erdoğan's rule encapsulates how these populisms conflate the past, present, and future into a single narrative about the people's survival and prosperity.
  • Paper Ballots with Digital Transparency: Kenya's Pioneering Election

    German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA) - Leibniz-Institut für Globale und Regionale Studien, Institut für Afrika-Studien; Crawford, Andrew (DEUHamburg, 2022-11-16)
    In 2022, Kenyan electoral authorities took the radical decision to digitally publish handwritten result forms from over 46,000 polling stations, allowing any Kenyan with an Internet connection to tabulate results. Unlike Brazil and the United States, they avoided electronic voting machines but opted for paper ballots alongside digital transparency. This combination may have contributed to the notably peaceful election seen.
 Kenya is a digital leader in Africa and a pioneer of digital technology in finance. But previous elections have suffered from a lack of trust in the electoral process, leading to violent unrest and the nullification of results by the Supreme Court of Kenya.
 In 2022, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission of Kenya (IEBC) leveraged widespread digital connectivity for voting processes, including the release of raw local tallies soon after voting closed. Access to such results led to initial confusion during tallying by media outlets but the results survived a challenge by the losing party in the Supreme Court.
 A consortium of civil society organisations, led by startup Ushahidi, simultaneously collected and responded to crowdsourced data and queries from partners and the public, tagging misinformation and violent threats plus escalating inflammatory material for action by authorities. There was minimal violence before and after the election.
 Despite post-result infighting between IEBC commissioners, the Supreme Court challenge, and the extremely expensive nature of the process, the use of digital transparency provides a viable model for other digitally connected democracies in Africa.
 Electoral integrity is essential for a functioning democracy. Paper voting can be combined with digital technology to facilitate voter identification, transmission of results, and real-time publication thereof. Crowdsourced on-the-ground reports can also foster accountability and combat misinformation. Such electoral technology in Africa is in its infancy and should be supported with technical skills and funding to improve its speed, security, reliability, and functionality.
  • Re-Revolutionising Iran: Condemning Prosperity and Jihadi Management

    German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA) - Leibniz-Institut für Globale und Regionale Studien, Institut für Nahost-Studien; Bazoobandi, Sara (DEUHamburg, 2022-10-06)
    Iran's conservative politicians, known to be loyal supporters of Ayatollah Khamenei, have been actively working to revitalise the regime's revolutionary values according to his vision. President Ebrahim Raisi's efforts to deliver on such aims are linked with his hopes of becoming the country's next supreme leader.
 As poverty and inflation increase in Iran, various rounds of protests demonstrate brewing socio-economic discontent among ordinary Iranians. While the regime's direct response consists of severe repression, President Raisi's administration has also reacted with a mixture of propaganda, populist economic policies, and attempts to strengthen relations with Eastern powers.
 Promoting a "modest lifestyle" as an Islamic and national virtue, condemning economic prosperity as part of materialistic, Westernised culture, and campaigning to change the nation's consumption habits are among the current regime's key responses to economic privation.
 Declaring a commitment to solve the nation's economic hardship through populist gestures and policies that are short of robust economic solutions has been emerging as an accompanying strategy.
 Doggedly pursuing the consolidation of ties with non-Western global powers has been continued as a strategy to cope with Western sanctions.
 These elements are embedded in the encouragement, promotion, and support of a new generation of political elite, frequently referred to as the "young jihadi managers," who in Khamenei's imagination, will be the vanguard of Iran's progress in the years to come.
 Iran on the path of re-revolutionising itself will be more resistant to demands for change domestically, less likely to abandon its regional security strategies, and harder for Europe to cooperate with. Therefore, it is important for EU and German policymakers to take Iran's longer-term strategies into consideration in order to develop lasting responses to them.
  • No time to lose as Tunisia's president consolidates authoritarian turn: Europe waits, watches, misses opportunities

    Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik -SWP- Deutsches Institut für Internationale Politik und Sicherheit; Werenfels, Isabelle (DEUBerlin, 2022-10-13)
    In the space of just nine months, Tunisia's President Kais Saied has centralised power and dismantled the institutions established by the young democracy since the revo­lu­tion of 2011. His new constitution establishing a "New Republic" will be put to a refer­endum on 25 July 2022. Saied's plans have divided the nation, with growing resistance from political and civil society actors demanding the return to an inclusive and demo­cratic process. At the same time, the country is moving closer to default. Tunisia's Euro­pean partners have invested heavily in democratisation and view the autocratic shift with concern. But they have failed to take meaningful action, and each new step by Saied makes it harder to reverse the path. In the interests of Tunisia’s stability, Europe should move decisively and employ the financial and diplomatic leverage it has due to Tunisia's economic crisis. (author's abstract)
  • The fallacy of 'scientific elections' in the COVID-era: exploring the challenges of managing the 2020-2021 elections in Uganda

    Sempijja, Norman; Brito, Paula Mora (POL, 2022-08-18)
    COVID-19 broke out in the period that Uganda was due to have presidential and parliamentary elections, posing a very precarious human security challenge. The ruling party (National Resistance Movement; NRM) faced the challenge of passing power to the Speaker of parliament if elections were not to be held. To mitigate the public health challenges and maintain power, the government acquiesced to an election process without public campaigns. Instead, campaigns were to be held over the radio, TV, and social media in what came to be known as 'scientific elections.' However, in a country hamstrung by massive political and bureaucratic corruption and an entrenched regime that uses violence against opponents, little attention was paid to the fairness of the process, especially in terms of access to media resources by the opposition. Conversely, as elections are about crowds and showmanship, the Ugandan Electoral Commission struggled with the ever-evolving electoral campaign process, especially as large spontaneous crowds sprang up on the campaign trail of the political candidates. The opposition needs a large crowd for legitimacy and a show of popularity. To mitigate this, the ruling party used violence against opposition members as an excuse to enforce standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the prevention of COVID-19, yet its candidates were left to gather crowds. This radicalized some of the opposition that used media outlets to call for violence and ethnic cleansing. This qualitative study delves into the extent to which the 'scientific elections' process was designed to produce a fair outcome of the 2021 elections in Uganda. This study uses the rational choice theory to explore the calculations of different stakeholders. The study relies on secondary data, especially available in media outlets, but also primary data through reports and social media and speeches of key figures in the political landscape in Uganda. The study finds that the Independent Electoral Commission was caught between two highly sophisticated opponents and did not have the capacity and agency to enforce the rules in the political game. In the end, the key facets of the 'scientific elections' process were found wanting and did not produce a fair outcome of the 2021 elections in Uganda.
  • Race and non-electoral political participation in Brazil, South Africa, and the United States

    Fialho, Fabrício M. (USA, 2022-06-10)
    This paper examines the context-dependent role of race as a predictor of non-electoral political participation. Prior country-level studies have documented group-level differences in a variety of forms of participation in South Africa and the United States, but have found few to no differences in Brazil. Why are members of one group more engaged in certain political activities than members of other groups only in specific contexts? Why do members of socioeconomically deprived groups, such as non-Whites, participate more than better-off groups in acts that require group mobilization in South Africa and the United States but not in Brazil? Results from the World Values Survey and the International Social Survey Programme show that Blacks and Coloureds in South Africa and Blacks in the United States participate more than Whites in activities that demand prior organization and mobilization, whereas group differences are negligible in Brazil. I argue that (1) race as a driver of political mobilization is conditional on the existence of politicized racial identities; (2) members of groups that share a strong collective identity participate in direct political action more than predicted by their socioeconomic background; (3) politicization of identities is the product of racial projects that deploy the state apparatus to enforce group boundaries for the implementation of segregationist policies as well as the reactions against them; and (4) by enforcing group boundaries, those systems unintentionally create the conditions for the formation of politicized group identities. In the absence of such requisites, political mobilization along racial lines would be weak or nonexistent.
  • Women Political Leaders in Rwanda and South Africa: Narratives of Triumph and Loss

    Morojele, Naleli (Barbara Budrich PublishersDEUOpladen, 2022-04-01)
    Narratives of Triumph and Loss explores the successes, challenges and controversies of women's post-conflict political leadership. Through interviews with women who have held significant leadership positions, the book explores the relationships between their educational, professional, activist and personal backgrounds. It situates their stories within historical and contemporary political contexts, illustrating the gendered ways in which women experience politics as citizens and politicians. Rwanda and South Africa have amongst the highest representation levels of women in national legislatures in the world. Consequently, the recent literature on women and politics in these countries mostly focuses on women parliamentarians only. However, there is a need to examine the nuances of women's political leadership, amongst and beyond parliamentarians. To this end, narratives were collected from eleven semi-structured interviews with women political leaders in Rwanda and South Africa. These narratives suggest new insights in the area of women and politics in these countries. Firstly, early life experiences influence their political priorities as leaders. Secondly, in relation to ordinary women, women political leaders are an educationally and professionally advantaged group of women. Thirdly, their experiences and positions within society and politics are still greatly influenced by their gender, and gender inequality. Lastly, their leadership is influenced by numerous factors, which ultimately affects the impact of their presence. In light of this, their experiences show that women political leaders are still affected by their gendered status within society, thus affecting the contributions that they are able to make in rebuilding their societies.
  • Radical Islamism: trajectories of human rights violations and abuses in Africa

    Ottuh, Peter O. O.; Erhabor, Felix O. (MISC, 2022-02-08)
    In Africa, radical and extremist Muslims are striving to transform society through violent change, claiming that African rulers are dictatorial and anti-Islamic; as a result, many African countries are experiencing serious human rights violations and abuses. Therefore, this paper examined radical Islamism and its trajectories of human rights violations and abuses in Africa and proffered workable solutions to the dilemma. To achieve the above aim, the paper employed historical and evaluative methods. The historical method was used to critically review the scholarly literature on radical Islamism and its human rights violations and abuses antecedents in Africa. At the evaluative level, the paper critically discussed the impact of human rights violations and abuses on the African nations and their citizens. The paper revealed that radical Islamism in Africa is driven by bad political leadership, poverty, poor education, unemployment, and religious exclusivism among others. The paper concluded that good governance, economic enhancement, and religious inclusiveness are key tools in discouraging and curbing radical Islamists in African countries.
  • On the Divergent Trajectories of African Islamism: Explaining Salafi Non-Radicalisation in Zanzibar

    Saalfeld, Jannis (DEU, 2020-04-01)
    With the rise of Jihadist groups like Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab, the theory-oriented exploration of the causes and dynamics of militant Islamist mobilisation in sub-Saharan Africa has become an important research endeavour. Existing explanatory frameworks highlight the causal relevance of multi-faceted Muslim grievances, pre-existing histories of non-Islamist political violence, and a lack of institutional regulation of Salafism in the first decades after independence. Examining the deviant case of Zanzibar, the article investigates why, despite the fact that all these conditions have been present on the islands, local Salafi activism has so far not gravitated towards Jihadism. It shows that the deeply entrenched Zanzibari two-party conflict between Tanzania’s long-standing authoritarian ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi and the oppositional Civic United Front has persistently blocked the opening up of political space for the development of sizeable militant Islamist activity. The article thus contributes to area-centred theory-building by demonstrating that vigorous electoral competition can effectively forestall the rise of Jihadism.

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