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  • Author: Alexander Stroh
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Recent publications suggest that exclusively ethnoregional parties are as rare in sub-Saharan Africa as elsewhere. At the same time, the idea that ethnicity is a very special feature of African party politics persists. The paper acknowledges the general relevance of ethnicity in party competition but emphasizes the level on which it becomes important. It develops a microbehavioral approach which pays particular attention to the strategic choices of party elites in order to supplement the dominant structuralist thinking in party research on Africa. An in-depth evaluation of detailed election data from Burkina Faso shows that strategies which rely on personal proximity between the voter and the candidates influence the parties' success to a great extent. Parties maximize their chances of winning seats if they concentrate their limited resources on the home localities of leading party members. Hence, African party politics are less dependent on ethnic demography than is often implied but more open to change through elite behavior.
  • Topic: Democratization, Demographics, Ethnic Conflict, Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Briggs Bomba
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Policy Information Center
  • Abstract: Great Zimbabwe, the monument, is an imposing structure of stone blocks daringly constructed without mortar. The ruined ancient city, still majestic in its presence, is said to be the biggest ancient stone structure in Africa outside the Egyptian pyramids. This impressive fortress stood for hundreds of years defying time and weather to become not only a national symbol of strength, audacious vision, and power but also a firm footprint and testimony to ancient ingenuity on the African continent. Zimbabwe, the country, born in 1980 following independence from almost a century of British colonial rule, lies prostate today, ruined like the ancient city from which it got its name. For the past decade, the country has been coming apart block by block. Evidently, like the ruins, the country of Zimbabwe was constructed without mortar.
  • Topic: Democratization, Post Colonialism
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zimbabwe, Egypt
  • Author: Jake Sherman
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: The Center for International Cooperation's Security Sector Reform project, funded by the Royal Government of Norway, undertook a comparative study of legislative oversight of security sector reform (SSR) in West Africa during 2008.
  • Topic: Security, Civil War, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Matthias Basedau, Alexander Stroh
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Despite earlier assumptions that ethnicity is a central feature of African party systems, there is little substantial evidence for this claim. The few studies with an empirical foundation rarely rely on individual data and are biased in favor of Anglophone Africa. This paper looks at four Francophone countries, drawing on four representative survey polls in Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger. Multivariate regression models and bivariate control tools reveal that ethnicity matters as a determinant of party preference, but that its impact is generally rather weak and differs with regard to party systems and individual parties. “Ethnic parties” in the strict sense are almost completely absent, and only the Beninese party system is substantially “ethnicized.” In particular, regional ties between voters and leaders—rather than ethnic affiliation alone—deserve attention in the future study of voting behavior in Africa.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Ethnic Conflict, Post Colonialism
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Christian von Soest
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Botswana appears to be an exception. Scholars recurrently describe the country as a “deviant” (Charlton 1990: 137-138; Kloeden et al. 2004: 53) or a “special case” (Hansohm 2001: 294) compared to the rest of Africa. A plethora of studies have been conducted on the political and economic development of the country, all stressing its “exceptionality.” Some even term Botswana the “African miracle” (Samatar 1999). The country is seen as a heaven of prosperity and stability in a region full of economic and political misery.
  • Topic: Corruption, Democratization, Post Colonialism
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Alexander Stroh
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: While much has been written about the special design of Rwanda's judiciary in order to handle the aftermath of the genocide in 1994, other institutional actions resulting from the 2003 constitution have rarely been addressed in research. However, the second (partial) parliamentary elections in September 2008 revealed some of the implications which the carefully designed electoral system has for Rwanda's political development. As a starting point, the paper emphasises the need to link the debates on institutional design in divided societies with elections in authoritarian regimes. Under different regime types, “institutional engineers” may pursue different goals. The paper concludes that in the case of Rwanda proportional representation (PR) has been implemented to support undemocratic goals. PR limits the local accountability of politicians in a political environment in which the government is not controlled by a democratic opposition. Thus, Rwanda's current PR system facilitates the maintenance of authoritarian power in the country, whereas small constituencies would establish closer links between the local populations and their representatives.
  • Topic: Democratization, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Marcus Alexander, Matthew Harding, Carlos Lamarche
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Does development lead to the establishment of more democratic institutions? The key to the puzzle, we argue, is the previously unrecognized fact that based on quantitative regime scores, countries over the past 50 years have clustered into two separate, very distinct, yet equally-common stages of political development—authoritarian states with low levels of freedom on one side an d democracies with liberal institutions on the other side of a bimodal distribution of political regimes. We develop a new empirical strategy—exploiting exogenous world economic factors and introducing new panel data estimators—that allows for the first time to estimate the effects of development as well as unobserved country effects in driving democracy at these different stages of political development. We find that income and education have the least effect on democracy when authoritarian regimes are consolidated and that only country effects, possibly accounting for institutional legacies, can lead to political development. Ironically, it is in highly democratic and wealthiest of nations that income and education start to play a role; however greater wealth and better educated citizenry can both help and hurt democracy depending again on what the country's institutional legacies are. Far from accepting the notion that much of the developing world is cursed by unchanging and poor long-run institutions, policy-makers should take note that with democratization we also see country-specific factors that in turn condition the difference income and education make for democracy.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Economics, Political Economy, Third World
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, China, Asia, Germany
  • Author: Dirk Kohnert, Heinz Jockers, Paul Nugent
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Ghana's 2008 elections have been hailed by national and international observers as a model for Africa. This perception has prevailed despite persistent concerns about “ethnic block voting” and electoral fraud. Electoral malpractice and vote rigging along ethnic lines in Ghana's virtual two‐party system could regain decisive importance as a “third force” that could tip the balance in future, possibly coming to represent an even more important factor than the smaller opposition parties. Unfortunate diplomatic and technocratic biases in election monitoring, combined with a reluctance on the part of the responsible authorities to investigate irregularities in what appears to be a long history of fraudulent “ethnic block voting”, amounts to a dangerous time bomb of unresolved conflict which could explode in future elections.
  • Topic: Corruption, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ghana
  • Author: Elisabeth Lindenmayer, Josie Lianna Kaye
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: The postelection violence that erupted in Kenya in December 2007 resulted in the deaths of over one thousand people and left three hundred thousand people displaced. While catastrophic, the scale of the social and economic destruction, not to mention the loss of life, could have been much greater were it not for the peace mediation mandated by the African Union in January 2008. The Panel of Eminent African Personalities, chaired by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, led the forty-one-day peace process, culminating in the Agreement on the Principles of Partnership of the Coalition Government, which was signed by President Mwai Kibaki and the Honorable Raila Odinga on February 28th, putting an end to the crisis which engulfed the nation and took the world by surprise.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Author: Andreas Mehler
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes the declining importance of political parties in the Central African Republic (CAR). It argues that the problematic attitude of elites who are fluctuating between violent and peaceful behavior in order to further their own careers is jeopardizing both peace and democracy. The author hypothesizes that both political parties and rebel movements are failing to adequately represent (ethnoregional) interests, but that parties are suffering more in the course of the enduring war and the peace process. Patterns of elite behavior are presented as the main explanation for the resulting crisis of representation, with international actors' preference for inclusionary power-sharing deals seen as the main aggravating factor.
  • Topic: Democratization, Armed Struggle, Insurgency, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Africa