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The 'Democraticness' of Multiparty Elections: Participation, Competition and Legitimacy in Africa

Lindberg, Staffan I LU (2002) In Commonwealth & Comparative Politics 42(1). p.65-104
Abstract
As the ‘third wave’ progressed it has been argued that democratisation should be analysed in terms of partial regimes rather than with multidimensional concepts of democracy. This article analyses the democratic qualities of one such partial regime, albeit arguably the core dimension of representative democracy: multiparty elections. The analysis focuses on the three basic democratic values of elections: participation, competition, and legitimacy. The empirical examination focuses on Africa and comparisons are made first, over time and second, between founding, second, third and following elections. The results, based on 203 observations of presidential and parliamentary elections, contradict the periodisation approach, and run contrary to... (More)
As the ‘third wave’ progressed it has been argued that democratisation should be analysed in terms of partial regimes rather than with multidimensional concepts of democracy. This article analyses the democratic qualities of one such partial regime, albeit arguably the core dimension of representative democracy: multiparty elections. The analysis focuses on the three basic democratic values of elections: participation, competition, and legitimacy. The empirical examination focuses on Africa and comparisons are made first, over time and second, between founding, second, third and following elections. The results, based on 203 observations of presidential and parliamentary elections, contradict the periodisation approach, and run contrary to earlier findings in several respects. There is no trend of declining quality in recent elections held in Africa. With third elections the democratic quality increases significantly as all parties participate, the level of competition increases and the legitimacy of elections improves. Ultimate failure in the form of breakdowns into violent conflict or otherwise, typically occurs only after founding elections. In sum, the core institutions of representative democracy may have a future in Africa. Hence, there is a continuing case for demo-optimism on the continent. (Less)
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organization
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Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Politiska partier, Politik i tredje världen, Politisk makt och demokrati
in
Commonwealth & Comparative Politics
volume
42
issue
1
pages
65 - 104
publisher
Taylor & Francis
ISSN
1743-9094
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
facee140-716b-4e5d-9b81-223735fbd18e (old id 156324)
date added to LUP
2007-06-25 13:25:38
date last changed
2016-04-16 04:47:17
@article{facee140-716b-4e5d-9b81-223735fbd18e,
  abstract     = {As the ‘third wave’ progressed it has been argued that democratisation should be analysed in terms of partial regimes rather than with multidimensional concepts of democracy. This article analyses the democratic qualities of one such partial regime, albeit arguably the core dimension of representative democracy: multiparty elections. The analysis focuses on the three basic democratic values of elections: participation, competition, and legitimacy. The empirical examination focuses on Africa and comparisons are made first, over time and second, between founding, second, third and following elections. The results, based on 203 observations of presidential and parliamentary elections, contradict the periodisation approach, and run contrary to earlier findings in several respects. There is no trend of declining quality in recent elections held in Africa. With third elections the democratic quality increases significantly as all parties participate, the level of competition increases and the legitimacy of elections improves. Ultimate failure in the form of breakdowns into violent conflict or otherwise, typically occurs only after founding elections. In sum, the core institutions of representative democracy may have a future in Africa. Hence, there is a continuing case for demo-optimism on the continent.},
  author       = {Lindberg, Staffan I},
  issn         = {1743-9094},
  keyword      = {Politiska partier,Politik i tredje världen,Politisk makt och demokrati},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {65--104},
  publisher    = {Taylor & Francis},
  series       = {Commonwealth & Comparative Politics},
  title        = {The 'Democraticness' of Multiparty Elections: Participation, Competition and Legitimacy in Africa},
  volume       = {42},
  year         = {2002},
}