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Election Management Bodies in West Africa

A comparative study of the contribution of electoral commissions to the strengthen

Ismaila Madior Fall, Mathias Hounkpe

Publication Year: 2012

This report is an in-depth study of electoral commissions in six countries of West Africa ñBenin, Cape Verde, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone ñ assessing their contribution in strengthening political participation in the region. As institutions that apply the rules governing elections, electoral management bodies (EMBs) have occupied, over the last two decades, the heart of discussion and practice on the critical question of effective citizen participation in the public affairs of their countries. The way in which they are established and the effectiveness of their operations have continued to preoccupy those who advocate for competitive elections, while reforms to the EMBs have taken centre stage in more general political reforms. Election Management Bodies in West Africa thus responds to the evident need for more knowledge about an institution that occupies a more and more important place in the political process in West Africa. Based on documentary research and detailed interviews in each country, the study provides a comparative analysis which highlights the similarities and differences in the structure and operations of each body, and attempts to establish the reasons for their comparative successes and failures.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title page

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Copyright page

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pp. iii-iv

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pp. v-viii

Electoral management bodies (EMBs) have become a keystone of the process of democratisation in the countries of West Africa. Their composition, mandate and activities have attracted increasing public attention. In some countries, the EMBs and the rules of the electoral game are the focus of passionate interest and debate each time elections come around. ...

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1. Overview: The contribution of electoral management bodies to credible elections in West Africa

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pp. 1-11

Electoral competition has progressively come to occupy a central place in the political life of almost all the countries of the west African sub-region since the beginning of what has been called the ‘second wave of democratisation’ at the beginning of the 1990s. The Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance adopted by the Economic Community of West African States ...

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2. Benin

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pp. 12-48

Since 1994, elections have been organised in Benin by a body independent of the government, the Autonomous National Electoral Commission (Commission Electorale Nationale Autonome – CENA). This was a direct consequence of a growing distrust of the management of elections by the government ...

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3. Cape Verde

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pp. 49-75

Cape Verde gained its independence on 5 July 1975 from Portugal. The African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (Partido africano de independência da Guiné e Cabo Verde – PAIGC) immediately established a one-party political system. Cape Verde then lived under a socialist-inspired system until 1990, ...

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4. Ghana

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pp. 76-107

Like several other countries in the West Africa sub-region, the Republic of Ghana went through a succession of constitutional changes between independence in 1957 and the return to democratic government in 1992, mostly due to the intrusion of the armed forces into the political scene through military coups d’état. ...

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5. Nigeria

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pp. 108-161

Nigeria has struggled to find ways to engender confidence in the conduct of free and fair elections. The problem is a two-sided one: how to design and ensure an efficient, effective, and politically non-partisan election management body; and how to reorient the country’s political culture ...

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6. Senegal

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pp. 162-208

Despite its reputation as one of Africa’s pioneer democracies, with its unbroken series of elections since independence and the establishment of a multi-party system in the 1970s, Senegal did not have an electoral system that met the necessary conditions for transparent elections until 1992. ...

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7. Sierra Leone

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pp. 209-244

The electoral history of Sierra Leone is intimately linked with and has been influenced by a history of political instability and a decade-long civil war. The 1996 elections were held at the height of the civil war. The 2002 elections were run by the United Nations to start a new post-conflict era. ...

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About the authors

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pp. 245-246

Professor Fall is a lecturer at the Faculty of Law and Political Science at the Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, where he is director of the Centre de recherche, d’étude et de documentation sur les institutions et les législations africaines (CREDILA). ...

Back cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781920489724
Print-ISBN-13: 9781920489168

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2012