Elections and Political Systems

The Africa Programme’s work on elections and political systems provides analysis of latest developments during election cycles in sub-Saharan African countries, as well as setting out the wider context and political trends behind the headlines.

Since its inception, the Programme has produced regular publications and hosted events aimed at helping international policymakers better understand the domestic and regional implications of the ever-increasing number of elections held on the continent. A 2017 Africa Programme event with the chairperson of the African Union, HE Moussa Faki Mahamat, looked at options for strengthening democracy in the continent.

Programme staff also regularly participate in election observation missions across sub-Saharan Africa, with most recently serving as members of the National Democratic Institute's (NDI) International Observer Missions in Liberia, Ghana and Nigeria, and as a member of the Commonwealth Observer Mission in Ghana.

2017 saw several major elections and political transitions in Africa, including polls in Kenya and Liberia, and the end of the reigns of three long-standing leaders: President Yahya Jammeh of the Gambia, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, and President José Eduardo dos Santos of Angola. As the ballot box becomes a more prominent part of political life in Africa, Africa Programme publication and events are investigating how the entrenchment of the rule of law and stronger institutions can take the heat out of political crises. 

More on Elections and Political Systems

Latest (56)
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The Future of Liberia's Democracy and Development: The Role of the National Legislature

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Zimbabwe Ahead of the Elections: Political and Economic Challenges

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Next Generation Nigeria: The Importance of Strengthening States’ Economic Management

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Nigeria’s 2019 Elections: Preparations, Politics and Prospects

Robert Mugabe is sworn in for another term in 2008. Photo: Getty Images.
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Mugabe’s Fall Is a Wake-Up Call for Africa’s Leaders

People celebrate Mugabe's resignation in Harare. Photo: Getty Images.
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Mugabe’s Departure Ushers in a Heady New Era for Zimbabwe

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Kenya's Democratic Future: Post-Elections Trends and Role for Civil Society

A Kenyan security force member in Nairobi on 30 October. Photo: Getty Images.
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Kenya Election Fallout Makes Institutional Challenges Impossible to Ignore

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Political Opposition and Policy Alternatives in Zambia

Kenya’s Next Test: Democracy, Elections and the Rule of Law
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Kenya’s Next Test: Democracy, Elections and the Rule of Law

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Next Generation Nigeria: Participation, Accountability and National Cohesion

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Kenya’s Next Election and Democratic Trajectory: Institution Building, Trust and Leadership

Raila Odinga arrives at a polling station on 8 August. Photo: Getty Images.
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Odinga Should Heed His Own Words to Strengthen Kenyan Democracy

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Zimbabwe’s Future: A New Opposition Perspective

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Advancing Accountability and Constitutionalism in South Africa

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Kenya Elections 2017: Prospects for a Credible Process

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Warlord Democrats in Africa: Ex-Military Leaders and Electoral Politics

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Nigeria's New Voters: Youth, Civic Education and Political Participation

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Strengthening Accountability in Somaliland: Parliament’s Role and Prospects for Reform

Supporters of new president Mohamed Abdullahi celebrate in Mogadishu. Photo: Getty Images.
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Is Democracy Emerging in Somalia?

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Past events (30)
Research Event

The Future of Liberia's Democracy and Development: The Role of the National Legislature

Research Event

Zimbabwe Ahead of the Elections: Political and Economic Challenges

Research Event

Next Generation Nigeria: The Importance of Strengthening States’ Economic Management

Research Event

Nigeria’s 2019 Elections: Preparations, Politics and Prospects

Research Event

Kenya's Democratic Future: Post-Elections Trends and Role for Civil Society

Research Event

Political Opposition and Policy Alternatives in Zambia

Kenya’s Next Test: Democracy, Elections and the Rule of Law
Research Event

Kenya’s Next Test: Democracy, Elections and the Rule of Law

Research Event

Next Generation Nigeria: Participation, Accountability and National Cohesion

Research Event

Kenya’s Next Election and Democratic Trajectory: Institution Building, Trust and Leadership

Research Event

Zimbabwe’s Future: A New Opposition Perspective

Research Event

Advancing Accountability and Constitutionalism in South Africa

Research Event

Kenya Elections 2017: Prospects for a Credible Process

Research Event

Warlord Democrats in Africa: Ex-Military Leaders and Electoral Politics

Research Event

Nigeria's New Voters: Youth, Civic Education and Political Participation

Research Event

Strengthening Accountability in Somaliland: Parliament’s Role and Prospects for Reform

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Democracy and Elections in Sub-Saharan Africa: Lessons Learned from 2016 and What to Expect in 2017

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Ghana’s 2016 Election: Processes and Priorities of the Electoral Commission

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Zimbabwe’s Changing Opposition

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Politics and the Demographic Shift: The Role of the Opposition in Uganda

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Somalia's Elections: Transitioning Towards Representative Politics

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