A Preface to an Inclusive African Electoral System Reform Agenda

The main purpose of this paper is to contribute to a better understanding of why African electoral systems should be reformed and how to do so in order to improve the quality of representation, participation, and government effectiveness. We attempt to offer a generic framework, a menu, so to speak, whereby African political parties and policy makers can reflect on the current state of play vis-à-vis their electoral systems and then decide whether a comprehensive or partial electoral reform agenda is needed. The paper also delineates the various institutions and stakeholders that should be involved in the electoral system reform process. This is a call to improve the reform process instead of entrusting it with a limited range of state-sponsored institutions, which often create more problems than those they contrive to solve. The paper is divided into four sections: a) a synoptic exposé of electoral reforms; b) the various types of electoral reforms and the factors which militate against them; c) lessons from the African experience with electoral system reforms; and d) an analysis of the main stakeholders required to steer a comprehensive electoral system reform agenda.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections
Tags: African National Congress (ANC), Eritrean Peoples Liberation Front (EPLF), Ethiopia Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), mixed member proportional (MMP), multi-member, proportional representation (PR), Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF), single-member, South West Africa Peoples Organization (SWAPO), Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army) (SPLM/SPLA)