By WFD Senior Election Adviser, Tanja Hollstein, and Ben Graham Jones So far, the COVID-19 pandemic has postponed no less than 64 elections. It has become clear that COVID-19 is a long-term disruptive force that the electoral world must learn to live with. Policy responses to the virus may safeguard or endanger the integrity of […]
Learning from Success: The Implementation of Election Observation Recommendations in Sub-Saharan Africa
by Susan Dodsworth and Nic Cheeseman, International Development Department, University of Birmingham
International election observers invest significant time and energy in making recommendations designed to improve the integrity and credibility of future elections. Yet observers do not always have the opportunity to monitor the implementation of their recommendations over time, nor the capacity to conduct in-depth research into why certain recommendations may be successfully implemented while others are not. With this in mind, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) has partnered with the University of Birmingham on a new project that tracks the implementation of observers’ recommendations across five countries in sub-Saharan Africa: Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, and Uganda. Preliminary analysis reveals significant variation in terms of which recommendations are implemented, as well as some surprising successes – cases where, against the odds, the recommendations of international observers appear to have contributed to real and concrete improvements in electoral processes. Our initial analysis also identifies promising lines of inquiry for future research that will help to better connect international election observation with democracy assistance more broadly.
by Devin O’Shaughnessy, WFD’s Director of Programmes The recent announcement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson of plans to merge the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) into the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) will undoubtedly impact the UK’s approach to development assistance for many years to come. Despite […]
There’s no ‘right’ way to adapt elections to COVID-19 – but there is a right way to make those decisions
As governments decide to postpone elections or alter electoral processes because of COVID-19, it is crucial that they have a transparent debate about doing so. Importantly, they must consult key stakeholders or public trust in the electoral processes can be severely damaged and democracy weakened.