WP84: Quality of elections, satisfaction with democracy, and political trust in Africa

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Working papers
Alemika, Etannibi

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. The overall implication of the results of the analyses is that citizens’ evaluation of their national elections has significant consequences for democratic consolidation in transitional societies. In this study we employ data from Afrobarometer - a public opinion survey that measures citizens’ opinions on issues that we examine such as: freeness and fairness of elections; trust in political institutions (president, national parliament, electoral agency, etc.); satisfaction with democracy, and the efficacy of elections as a means of representation and accountability. The data for this study were obtained from the round 3 survey of the Afrobarometer conducted in 18 African countries in 2005.