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Local elections and local government in southern Africa

Regionale Wahlen und die regionale Regierung in Südafrika
[journal article]

Hartmann, Christof

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Abstract 'Vor dem Hintergrund der Demokratisierungsprozesse im südlichen Afrika hat die Regulierung des politischen Wettbewerbs auch auf der lokalen Ebene in den letzten Jahren an Bedeutung gewonnen. Der Beitrag systematisiert die verstreuten Informationen über die Reformen der Kommunalverfassung und lokale Wahlen in allen SADC-Ländern. Dabei werden sowohl die Typen von gewählten Institutionen, das Zusammenwirken von gewählten und ernannten Ratsmitgliedern, die Rolle der Bürgermeister, die Regelmäßigkeit der Durchführung von Wahlen, die Wahlsysteme und das passive Wahlrecht näher beleuchtet. In einem zweiten Schritt werden einige Hypothesen zu den möglichen Auswirkungen der in den SADC-Ländern stark variierenden institutionellen Regelungen sowohl für die Demokratisierung der Lokalpolitik als auch Rückwirkungen auf die nationale Ebene diskutiert.' (Autorenreferat)

'With the recent wave of democratisation in Sub-Saharan Africa a new interest in elected local councils has appeared. It is also increasingly underlined by re-search, both from the field of development theory/politics and from comparative research on democratisation processes. These broader arguments are narrowed down by concentrating on local electoral rules, with a geographical focus on the countries of Southern Africa. The contribution presents data for all Southern African countries on the types of elected bodies at sub-national level of government, the composition of local councils, the regularity and simultaneity of local and national elections, the electoral systems and the rules governing candidature at the local level. Electoral rules are just one set of institutions that matter in local politics, and there is no doubt that other variables (such as local administration, resource allocation or capacity-building) are equally important. But the assumption is that local electoral institutions are relevant for the democratisation of both local and national politics, and should thus merit closer scrutiny. The comparative study of different countries offers additional insights into similarities or specific constraints and problems that countries face in organising local elections, as well as into the institutional solutions that they eventually opted for.' (author's abstract)|
Keywords Africa; Africa South of the Sahara; Southern Africa; party; democratization; decentralization; local politics; community constitution; political institution; international comparison; local election; electoral system; suffrage
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture
Method descriptive study
Publication Year 2004
Page/Pages p. 223-248
Journal Afrika Spectrum, 39 (2004) 2
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works