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Mixed views on democracy, accountability ahead of Nigeria's elections

As Nigerians prepare to vote in the 2015 general elections, Afrobarometer survey findings show that support for democracy remains the majority view, though weaker than two years ago and tempered by high levels of dissatisfaction and low approval ratings for elected officials.

More than half (57%) of citizens say Nigeria is a democracy “with major problems” or not a democracy at all.

Elected officials at all levels, including the president and members of the National Assembly, receive weak approval ratings and are perceived by a majority of citizens as corrupt.

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Nigeria heads for closest election on record, survey shows

As Nigerians prepare to vote in the 2015 general elections, Afrobarometer survey findings show that support for democracy remains the majority view, though weaker than two years ago and tempered by high levels of dissatisfaction and low approval ratings for elected officials.

More than half (57%) of citizens say Nigeria is a democracy “with major problems” or not a democracy at all.

Elected officials at all levels, including the president and members of the National Assembly, receive weak approval ratings and are perceived by a majority of citizens as corrupt.

French

PP25: MDC-T defeat in Zimbabwe: Was it only due to intimidation?

In the relatively peaceful harmonized elections of July 2013, Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe overwhelmingly defeated challenger Morgan Tsvangirai, 61% to 34%. Mugabe’s party, the Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), also won 158 of the country’s 210 parliamentary seats, giving it more than a two-thirds majority in the lower House of Assembly, as well as a large majority of local council seats.

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Media briefing: Disgruntled opposition or disillusioned Democrats: Who is for electoral reforms?

Key findings from the survey:

  • 9 in 10 adult Ugandans prefer to choose leaders through regular, open and honest elections.
  • Over the last decade and a half, support for elections in Uganda has averaged 88%, among the top 10 on the continent.
  • Majority not satisfied with quality of elections
  • Majority demand for electoral reform

Click here to download the full media briefing.

French

Election en Guinée: Les citoyens se sentent libres de choisir, mais inquiets à propos du décompte des voix

A la veille de leur deuxième élection présidentielle compétitive, les Guinéens se sentent libre de voter pour le candidat de leur choix, mais ils s’inquiètent à propos de l’environnement électoral et la fiabilité probable du décompte des voix, selon les résultats d’une nouvelle enquête Afrobaromètre.

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AD49: Election en Guinée: Les citoyens se sentent libres de choisir, mais inquiets à propos du décompte des voix

Les Guinéens se dirigent vers leur deuxième élection compétitive depuis la fin de 24 ans de règne du Général Lansana Conté en 2010. L’élection oppose le Président Alpha Condé et son parti, le Rassemblement du Peuple de Guinée (RPG), à Cellou Dalein Diallo de l’Union des Forces Démocratiques de Guinée (UFDG) et six autres candidats. Lors de l'élection générale de 2010, le Président Condé a remporté de justesse au second tour, 52,52% à 47,48% de Diallo.

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Ugandans’ views on multipartism

Ugandans support multipartism as a viable political system of governance but many are not satisfied with the way multi-party politics work in Uganda, the latest Afrobarometer survey shows.

A significant proportion of Ugandans say that competition between political parties often leads to violent conflict, that the opposition political parties and their supporters are often silenced by Government, and many fear becoming victims of political intimidation or violence during election campaigns.

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A majority of Zambians express confidence in the effectiveness of national elections

The percentage of Zambian citizens who believe in the effectiveness of national elections in effecting change has nearly doubled in a space of 10 years. The most recentAfrobarometer survey has revealed that between 2005 and 2014, the percentage of Zambians who expressed confidence in the effectivess of national electionsto bring about changeincreased from 30% in 2005 to 59% in 2014.

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AD47: Zambians gaining confidence in elections as tools for accountability

As one of the first post-independence countries in Africa to effect leadership change through peaceful and competitive elections, Zambia has a history of multiparty politics dating back to 1991, when the United National Independent Party (UNIP) party was removed from power by the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD). After ruling for 20 years, the MMD lost the elections in 2011, and the Patriotic Front (PF) was ushered into power.

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WP159: Does clientelism help Tanzanian MPs establish long-term electoral support?

Tanzanian Members of Parliament (MPs) and political analysts describe the primary roles of MPs with a variety of phrases: benefactors, providers, executors, social workers, saviours, multi-faceted donors, even “walking ATMs". Indeed, in Tanzania, where a majority of citizens are poor and the government lacks resources and capacity to provide sufficient social services, MPs provide various kinds of financial and material assistance to their constituents to support their lives and cultivate their electoral support.

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WP49: Electoral institutions, partisan status, and political support: A natural experiment from Lesotho

Does the introduction of proportionality in electoral systems help to boost popular evaluations of democracy? This article traces shifts over time in political support, using Afrobarometer data to measure mass satisfaction with democracy and public trust in political institutions in Lesotho. We find that electoral reforms have both direct and indirect effects. In the aggregate, Lesotho's transition from a majoritarian to a mixed electoral system is directly associated with increased levels of citizen support for the country's state and regime.

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WP51: "Who votes in Africa? An examination of electoral turnout in 10 African countries

The question "Who votes in the United States?" has been largely answered by the political science scholarship devoted to this subject. In contrast, the question "Who votes in Africa?" has yet to receive significant attention. This paper focuses on electoral participation in 10 sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries. Afrobarometer survey data is used to assess the determinants of voting for over 17,000 voting age adults in 10 SSA countries. We find that variables associated with several approaches help explain who votes in Africa.

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WP55: Free and fair or fraudulent and forged: Elections and legitimacy in Africa

Elections are thought to bolster legitimacy by providing fair mechanisms for selecting leaders. In Africa, where competitive elections are often unfamiliar and imperfect, losers express much less support for their political institutions than do winners. Analysis of Round 1 Afrobarometer survey data from more than 20,000 respondents in 12 countries demonstrates that losers are less inclined than winners to trust their political institutions, consent to government authority, and feel that voting matters.

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WP77: Support for competitive politics and government performance: Public perceptions of democracy In Senegal

The 2000 presidential election in which Abdoulaye Wade defeated Abdou Diouf demonstrated that multiparty politics has created meaningful competition between incumbents and opposition political parties in Senegal. Moreover, this alternation suggests that political competition is sustainable and that citizen’s commitment to democracy is strengthening as demonstrated by their willingness to eject undesirable governments from office. Previous analyses of citizens’ perceptions of democracy in Senegal have largely focused on elite views.

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WP78: It’s all relative: Competing models of vote choice in Benin

Since the Third Wave of democratization swept the African continent in the early 1990s, a sufficient number of democratic elections have taken place on the continent to begin to analyze voting patterns. Benin, for example, has successfully held several rounds of free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections since 1991, but little is known about how the individual citizens of Benin cast their votes and why, or about the strategies of parties and candidates for appealing to voters.

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WP94: Rejecting the disloyal opposition? The trust gap in mass attitudes toward ruling and opposition parties in Africa

Analysts of African political party systems frequently assert that political parties and party system development are central to the effective functioning and eventual consolidation of democracy on the continent. Due to both lack of data and elite bias, analysts have overlooked a critical link in the chain of party system evolution: mass attitudes toward political parties generally, and towards opposition parties in particular. Afrobarometer data reveals that there is, on average, a very large (20-percentage point) gap in levels of public trust between ruling and opposition parties.

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WP95: Voting in Kenya: Putting ethnicity in perspective

Do Kenyans vote according to ethnic identities or policy interests? Based on results from a national probability sample survey conducted in December 2007, this article shows that, while ethnic origins drive voting patterns, elections in Kenya amount to more than a mere ethnic census. We start by reviewing how Kenyans see themselves, which is mainly in non-ethnic terms. We then report on how they see others, whom they fear will organize politically along ethnic lines. People therefore vote defensively in ethnic blocs, but not exclusively.

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