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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Electoral rules of the authoritarian game: undemocratic effects of proportional representation in Rwanda
Author:Stroh, AlexanderISNI
Periodical:Journal of Eastern African Studies
Geographic term:Rwanda
Subjects:electoral systems
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/17531050903550066
Abstract:Much has been written about the special design of Rwanda's judiciary in order to handle the aftermath of the genocide in 1994. By contrast, other institutional elements of the 2003 constitution have rarely been addressed in research. The second (partial) parliamentary elections in September 2008 revealed some of the implications which the carefully designed electoral system has for Rwanda's political development. As a starting point, the paper emphasizes the need to link the debate about institutional design in divided societies with the debate about elections in authoritarian regimes. Under different regime types, 'institutional engineers' may pursue different goals. The author argues that proportional representation (PR) can foster undemocratic outcomes: PR impedes the local accountability of politicians in a political environment in which the government is not held in check by a democratic opposition. Thus, the current PR system facilitates the maintenance of authoritarian power in Rwanda whereas small constituencies would establish closer links between the local populations and their representatives. App., bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]