Outside the Ballot Box: Preconditions for elections in Southern Africa 2004/5

Date: January 1, 1970
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The process of a free and fair election begins long before and is not confined exclusively to the fairness of events on Election Day.

Do voters in the SADC region enjoy their universally enshrined rights to freedom of movement? Are those who take a critical view of government free to hold political meetings and gatherings? How many citizens are purely engaged in an economic or agricultural battle for survival, possibly worsened by ill health, with little energy left to consider political solutions to their plight? Do they equate their survival with the appeasement of ruling parties who command economic and political resources? What is the degree of literacy, and what is the degree of political literacy in the SADC region? It is these issues that begin to describe preconditions for elections in various SADC countries.

Other essential preconditions include the choice of electoral system by which votes will be translated into parliamentary seats, the professional administration of elections, and the impartial observation of elections. It would make a significant difference if African countries had by now not only adopted, but were also consistently using, an inviolable set of norms and standards for election management and observation.

The articles in this book discuss these and other issues in relation to the elections that were held or are scheduled to take place in the SADC region in 2004/5.

Publisher: MISA
Year of Publication: 2004

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