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 […]
WFD’s new approach focuses on long-term change and will engage partners at all phases of the electoral cycle: before, during and after the election period. By using our unique resources and experience with parliaments, political parties and electoral management bodies, our programmes enhance the integrity and credibility of electoral processes in selected countries worldwide. Our work will be structured around the different actors at all stages of the electoral cycle: election management bodies, civil society organisations, political parties, the executive, judiciary as well as legislative institutions.
Initiating a constructive conversation among core groups and supporting agents for democratic reform through WFD country teams will be the main approach. This includes engaging with regional networks and supporting south-south cooperation.
Developing national agenda for persons with disability in Sierra Leone In Sierra Leone, WFD’s inclusive and peaceful elections programme worked in partnership with government, political parties and local civil society organisations as part of the Standing Together for Democracy consortium, to engage youth, women and vulnerable groups in the March 2018 general election.
From developing election manifestoes with representatives from 14 political parties, to the launch of a National Agenda to involve people living with disabilities in the elections in partnership with the Sierra Leone Union on Disability Issues (SLUDI), a nationwide outreach tour in nine districts to promote tolerance and educate about politics in partnership with Community Agenda and a National Youth conference, were all ways we engaged different communities during the pre-election period.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, WFD in partnership with the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung supported the training of political party polling agents to provide local partners with the skills needed to support a credible electoral process.
Money might not guarantee electoral success but electoral success rarely comes to those with very little money. WFD’s research on the cost of politics examines the cost of running for office as well as for nomination and those faced during the time in office. The significant costs involved with running for office have a disproportionate impact on marginalised groups like young people and persons with disabilities, who along with women, are often excluded from the outset.
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.
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 […]