Seminars/Lectures

Election Commissions and Democratization in Africa: Everyday Production of Democratic Legitimacy

Election Commissions and Democratization in Africa: Everyday Production of Democratic Legitimacy
Tue
Nov
09

Nicholas Kerr
Assistant Professor, Political Science
University of Florida

As the wave of democratization swept through Africa in the early 1990s, scholars and policymakers heralded independent election commissions (ECs) as institutional innovations. The hope was that ECs would enhance election legitimacy and deepen democracy, but after almost 30 years of multiparty rule in Africa, our collective understanding of whether ECs matter for promoting free, fair, and credible elections remains underdeveloped. This lecture, which is based on a chapter from a larger book project titled "Election Commissions & Democratization in Africa," explores the consequences of the performance election commissions (ECs) on the behavior of political elites. Among his findings using election-level data across 40 African countries since 1990, Kerr suggests that the legitimacy of elections and regime processes in Africa are reflective of the performance of electoral governance institutions.


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