Title

A 'whole system' approach to the choice of electoral rules in democratizing countries: Senegal in comparative perspective

Publication Date

2002

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Authoritarian incumbents in democratizing countries choose electoral rules to retain power while accommodating opposition demands for increased participation and representation. We clarify the political logic of this institutional choice and its consequences in Senegal by employing a ‘whole system’ approach that emphasizes the intricate but often hidden relationships between elections and the rules governing them at multiple levels — presidential, legislative and local. Success at one level depends on performance at all levels. In the short run, multiple-level electoral reforms preserve the ruling party in power while expanding opportunities for, but also fragmenting, the opposition. In the long run, they encourage splits within the ruling party and help the opposition develop increased ability to coalesce around a single opposition candidate, resulting in the defeat of the authoritarian incumbent and a democratic transfer of power through competitive elections.

Original Citation

Mozaffar S., Vengroff R. (2002). A 'whole system' approach to the choice of electoral rules in democratizing countries: Senegal in comparative perspective. Electoral Studies, 21(4), 601-616. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0261-3794(01)00029-4