Intermittently over the past decade, researchers have taken the political pulse of the general public in Zimbabwe. Public opinion surveys provide information on what ordinary citizens are thinking about the issues of the day. Among the most anticipated survey results are the expressed party preferences and voting intentions. At any given time, Zimbabweans are understandably eager to know how their fellow citizens would vote “if an election were held tomorrow.” This briefing paper offers an alternative account of current voting intentions in Zimbabwe.
At the end of 2010, Zimbabwean citizens remained broadly supportive of power sharing as an antidote to political crisis. But they were increasingly critical of the halting performance of their country’s coalition government. Most people also perceived declining civil liberties and feared resurgent political violence. Yet clear majorities called for constitutional reforms to limit the powers of the presidency and seemingly even for free elections in 2011 to return the country to legitimate rule.
For many Zimbabweans, life in the last few years has been nasty, brutish and sometimes short, but there is now a flicker of light at the end of a dark and long tunnel. Things started really falling apart in 2008 with the unprecedented cholera outbreak that claimed more than 4 000 lives and infected over 100 000 others. Zimbabwe stood at the edge of a precipice with health centres and schools closed, shops displaying empty shelves, acute shortages of food and other basic essentials, and rampant politically-motivated violence and human rights violations.
The structure of government and opposition in Namibia as a dominant party system became solidified after independence in 1990 (Du Pisani and Lindeke, IPPR 2009). But, over the past year a number of new political parties have been formed to challenge the established ruling party, SWAPO Party of Namibia, as it has been officially called since independence. These new parties are also challenging the existing opposition parties in Namibia.
The recent Kenyan elections have given rise to violent confrontations between ethnic communities. During the first half of December, in the run up to the elections, the University of Oxford, in collaboration with researchers from the Michigan State University and the University of Connecticut, conducted a detailed survey of voter intentions, attitudes towards violence, corruption, performance of leaders, political party preferences, ethnicity and socio-economic characteristics.
The controversy over presidential term limits is at the center of public discussion in Nigeria. The most recent national opinion survey by the Afrobarometer finds strong support among the Nigerian public for term limits, free elections, competitive politics, and constitutional government. This survey shows widespread popular disapproval for an indefinite tenure of the chief Executive, and firm support for the present constitutional limit of two terms for elected officials.
Elections are a means for realising some of the core values of democracy, especially participation of the citizenry, which helps to ensure quality governance and accountability on the part of elected officials. The quality of elections therefore provides an indicator of the extent to which democratic governance has been consolidated. The analyses in this paper indicate a significant relationship between citizens’ evaluation of the quality of their national elections and (1) satisfaction with democracy, and (2) trust in political institutions.
This briefing paper examines the relevance of political parties in Malawi’s democracy. Beyond the functionalist assumption that existence suggests some positive contribution of an organ to the whole, this paper looks at social operational pre-requisites that justify the relevance and existence of political parties. Specifically the paper focuses on the linkage role of political parties.
Africa’s transition to multiparty democracy has often been accompanied by a re-institutionalization of autocratic regimes and authoritarianism. This tension between the forces of progress and regression has become an enduring feature of Africa’s electoral and democratic transitions, a contradiction of more frequent elections and the consolidation of multipartyism accompanied by a reversal of democratic gains and the institutionalization of violence during elections. Elections and democracy have not always correlated strongly.
Almost 15 years have passed since waves of democratization began to crash on African shores. Transitions to multiparty rule were often greeted with mass public celebration. But how long does any such political enthusiasm last? Are Africans’ expressed commitments to democracy enduring or ephemeral?
This paper argues that democratic commitments are not fixed. They tend to decline with the passage of time. But, more reassuringly, democratic commitments can be refreshed by an electoral alternation of power.
A la veille des premières élections présidentielles et législatives depuis que les protestations populaires d’octobre 2014 ont évincé du pouvoir l’ancien Président Blaise Compaoré, les résultats d'une enquête Afrobaromètre en avril-mai 2015 présente des signes encourageants d'un large soutien du public en faveur du processus démocratique en cours dans le pays.
Le 29 novembre 2015, le Burkina Faso tiendra ses premières élections présidentielles et législatives depuis que les protestations populaires d’octobre 2014 ont évincé du pouvoir l’inamovible Président Blaise Compaoré. Initialement prévues pour la mi-octobre 2015, les élections ont été retardées par un coup d'état en septembre, qui a été mis en échec par des manifestations de rue et des pressions diplomatiques de la Communauté Economique des Etats de l'Afrique de l'Ouest (CEDEAO), l'Union Africaine, et l'Organisation des Nations Unies.
Le 25 octobre 2015, la Côte d'Ivoire connaitra sa première élection présidentielle depuis les résultats contestés de 2010-2011 et la guerre civile qui s’en est suivie. L'élection met en compétition le Président Alassane Ouattara face à Pascal Affi N'Guessan et d'autres challengers.
A la veille des premières élections présidentielles depuis la crise de 2010-2011 en Côte d'Ivoire, de nombreux Ivoiriens se méfient de la Commission Electorale Indépendante (CEI) et sont préoccupés par l'équité et la sécurité de l'environnement électorale, d’après la dernière enquête Afrobaromètre.
Women are mostly marginalised in African political processes, but they have one key area of equality with their menfolk, and that is in voting: The ballot does not discriminate, even if the results of the balloting frequently do not meet the expectations of the voter.
Since 2000, elections in Ghana have been lauded by observers both internally and externally as being “free and fair.” The losing political party, however, has consistently contested the election results. After the 2004 presidential election, three key opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) members challenged the results announced by the Electoral Commission (EC), suing the EC to publish detailed data from the election.
Malawians will go to the polls on 20 May 2014 to select their next leaders. In an Afrobarometer poll conducted 6 to 8 weeks before the election, Malawians express strong
confidence in their ability to vote as they choose, but also concerns about the freeness and fairness of the overall process, especially the vote count. Given uncertainty about registration and turnout levels among Malawian youth, as well as the significant number of respondents who did not reveal a vote choice, the election remains too close to call.
Nigerians will go to the polls on 14 February to elect their president and national legislators to four-year terms, followed two weeks later by elections for many governors and state assemblies. The presidential election will be Nigeria’s fifth since the return to democracy in 1999. In an Afrobarometer survey conducted two months before the elections, we find a highly competitive political field, with much uncertainty about the prospects for credible and peaceful polls and about the outcome of the elections.
If elections were held in June or July 2014, the majority of Batswana would have voted for the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) would consolidate its position as the strongest opposition party. The coalition of opposition parties, the Umbrella for
Democratic Change (UDC) would have won 13%. The coalition consists of the Botswana Movement for Democracy (which broke away from the ruling party), the Botswana National Front and the Botswana People's Party.
Mauritians favour a proportional representation system for National Assembly elections but remain divided regarding two other proposed reforms – introducing an elected president with greater executive powers and eliminating National Assembly representation based on ethnic and religious affiliation, a new Afrobarometer survey reveals.
How do individual Africans view competitive elections? How do they behave at election time? What are the implications of new forms of popular participation for citizenship and democracy? Drawing on a decade of research from the cross-national Afrobarometer project, the authors of this seminal collection explore the emerging role of mass politics in Africa's fledgling democracies.
Basotho overwhelmingly support democratic elections and reject military and strongman rule, according to a new Afrobarometer study.
The survey, conducted at a time of mounting political tensions leading to the dissolution of Parliament, sheds light on citizen views on democracy and trust in political institutions, among other issues.
The Afrobarometer Round 6 public opinion survey interviewed 1,200 Basotho in May 2014. The nationally representative sample yields a +/- 3% margin of error with a 95% confidence level.
Afrobarometer conducted a Round 6 survey from 23 March to 7 April 2014 on Malawian opinions and attitudes about democracy and governance as well as their views on economic and social development. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with a nationally representative sample
of 2400 Malawian citizens from all regions of the country. The survey included questions on citizen evaluations of the election environment, as well as their voting intentions.
The SWAPO Party of Namibia continues to dominate the political scene in Namibia, with strong advantages in public trust and voter preference, but public tolerance of opposition parties may also be on the increase, according to the latest Afrobarometer survey. The opposition parties continue to survive and scramble for the minor places, with the DTA of Namibia and the Rally for Democracy and Progress in a close race for a distant second place behind the ruling SWAPO.
Uganda 2011 elections: campaign issues, voter perceptions and early voter intentions.
A summary of results for the Round 4.5 pre-election survey in Uganda (2010).