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Elections

This page forms part of the Governance Theme section on 'political systems'. DFID's approach to responsive and accountable government includes a focus on elections. This page contains a series of key texts which explore issues including election standards, processes, and civic education.

Key texts

SADC Parliamentary Forum, 2001, Norms and Standards for Elections in the SADC Region, Adopted by the SADC Parliamentary Forum Plenary Assembly, Windhoek, Namibia, 25 March 2001.
This report from the SADC Parliamentary Forum first exposes some of the problems that still pervade the political environment in that region. Based on the lessons learned and experiences gained in election observation in Namibia, Mozambique, Mauritius and Zimbabwe, recommendations are made to face such problems. Strengthening electoral institutions, reforming outdated legal frameworks and electoral practices, and entrenching the democratic process in the conduct of elections are all basic ingredients to foster transparency, to level the playing field and to ensure free and fair elections.
Full document available online

Hansen, G. 2002, Approaches to Civic Education: Lessons Learned, USAID, Office of Democracy and Governance, Washington, D.C.
Beginning in 1996, the United States Agency for International Developments Centre for Democracy and Governance initiated this major multi-part study designed to measure the impact of both adult and school-based civic education programmes on participants' democratic behaviour and attitudes in the Dominican Republic, Poland, and South Africa. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, this study represents a pioneering effort, both as a research initiative and as a practical application in managing for results in the democracy sector.
Full document available online

Sabatini, C. and Finkel, S., 2002, 'Adult civic education in developing democracies: policy implications from a three-country study', unpublished paper presented to APSA, Boston, 2002
This paper from the APSA conference reports the results of an on-going study on the effectiveness of adult civic education programmes in the Dominican Republic, Poland and South Africa. The impact of civic education was ascertained by comparing the responses of individuals who had undergone civic education training (a 'treatment group') to the responses of similar individuals who had not been trained (what we call the 'control group').
Full document available online

Department for International Development 1999, Elections and the Electoral Process: A Guide to Assistance, DFID, London.
A guide to assistance from DFID, this paper is intended to assist DFID and FCO staff in deciding whether and how to offer assistance in the electoral process. It examines issues surrounding the decision to give assistance, gives detailed guidance on assistance during and between elections and looks at the role of monitoring and observing.
Full document available online
Revised edition forthcoming

International IDEA 1997, The International IDEA Handbook of Electoral System Design, chpt. 3, Stockholm.
This chapter, from a handbook by The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, focusses on three types of electoral system and examines their main strengths and weaknesses. These three types are: Plurality-majority, semi-Proportional Representation (PR), and Proportional Representation.
Full document available online

Young, T. 1993, 'Elections and electoral politics in Africa', Journal of the International African Institute, vol. 63, no.3, pp. 299-312
After the end of the Cold War the institute of elections was widely accepted by African countries. Trying to imitate the Western political model, Africa adopted elections as part of a modern package no more questioned than economic growth or science and technology.
Full document available through: BLDS document delivery service. Please access full summary and then click on the link for "BLDS Document Delivery Service".

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