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Author Lindberg, Staffan I., 1969-

Title Democracy and elections in Africa / Staffan I. Lindberg
Published Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006
Online access available from:
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Description 1 online resource (xiii, 227 pages) : illustrations
Contents Introduction. The role of elections ; Why Africa? ; On regimes ; On elections and democracy ; Preindependence and postindependence elections in African nations ; Contemporary Africa's track record ; Outline of the book -- On democracy and elections. Making a conceptual choice ; Defining democracy ; Operationalizing democratic qualities of elections ; Data collection and processing -- Elections in Africa over time. Frequency and number of elections ; The democratic qualities, on average ; Democratic qualities of elections over time ; Conclusions -- The self-reinforcing power of elections. Going from bad to worse ; First, second, third, fourth and later elections ; A panel-group comparison ; Conclusions -- The causal effects of elections. Democratic qualities in society ; A missing factor of democratization ; Hypotheses and causal links -- Democratization by elections? Elections are associated with civil liberties ; Analyzing by countries ; Conclusions -- Comparative perspectives and reflections. The transition paradigm ; Corruption and democratization ; Stateness and social citizenship ; Lessons on consolidation ; Policy implications ; The power of elections in unfavorable conditions
Summary This volume studies elections as a core institution of liberal democracy in the context of newly democratizing countries. Political scientist Staffan I. Lindberg gathers data from every nationally contested election in Africa from 1989 to 2003, covering 232 elections in 44 countries. He argues that democratizing nations learn to become democratic through repeated democratic behavior, even if their elections are often flawed. Refuting a number of established hypotheses, Lindberg finds no general negative trend in either the frequency or the quality of African elections. Rather, elections in Africa, based on his findings, are more than just the goal of a transition toward democracy or merely a formal procedure. The inception of multiparty elections usually initiates liberalization, and repeated electoral activities create incentives for political actors, fostering the expansion and deepening of democratic values. In addition to improving the democratic qualities of political regimes, a sequence of elections tends to expand and solidify de facto civil liberties in society. Drawing on a wealth of data, Lindberg makes the case that repetitive elections are an important causal factor in the development of democracy. He thus extends Rustow's (1970) theory that democratic behavior produces democratic values
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 203-221) and index
Notes Print version record
Subject Democracy -- Africa.
Elections -- Africa.
Africa -- Politics and government -- 1960-
Form Electronic book
LC no. 2005024560
ISBN 0801883326 (hardcover ; alk. paper)
0801889251 (electronic bk.)
9780801883323 (hardcover ; alk. paper)
9780801889257 (electronic bk.)