Tuesday, January 4
2011 Election Year

I may provoke you but I am convinced that in all African countries Presidents rule and not Parliaments.

This year presidential elections will be held in Liberia and in 17 (!) other African countries, that means in one out of three countries. As mentioned previously (see my post dated November 5, last year, below) in about 10 countries parliamentary and local elections will be held too, but I will focus here on the presidential elections. Why? Because I don't believe that in African countries national or local parliaments make the difference. Presidents decide in African countries, not parliaments. More about this later.

There is an excellent site of the Electoral Institute for the Sustainability of Democracy in Africa - the name sounds very politically correct - that shows the elections calender for 2011 for all African countries. The 18 countries where presidential elections will be held: 6 in West Africa, 5 in Central Africa, 3 in East Africa, 3 in Southern Africa, and one country in North Africa. About 500 million people live in the countries, half the population of the continent. See my November 5, 2010 post (below) for the names of the countries.

The presidential elections in Liberia are important and promise to be hectic considering only the number of presidential candidates, at least 10. That may not be different in other African countries where presidential elections wil be held.

For the coming months I will comment here on how the forthcoming elections in Liberia compare with presidential elections in other countries. We all know that in certain countries preparatory campaigns are not transparant, political parties and aspirant presidential candidates are influenced, state media monopolize 'information', and that voters are bought. Recent developments within the Alliance for Peace and Democracy, the political party of veteran politician Toga Nah Tipoteh, are extremely illustrative.

Is Liberia different? Where are similarities? Are there risques to have what happens in Ivory Coast repeated? What will happen in Africa's most populous country, Nigeria? You will read it here. If you're interested in Africa and Liberia, visit this blog again.


Matt Jones said...

Its true, I think, what you say, but being on the ground in Monrovia, I have also seen how there is serious opposition to Ellen in the legislature, and how that can complicate her agenda. I definitely agree with what you say about Presidents being much stronger and the focus on the presidential elections far outweighing interest in parliamentary polls.

Hope all is well! Matt

Dr. Fred P.M. van der Kraaij said...

Many thanks, Matt! You're back In Monrovia?! I'm jealous :-) !

I'm surprised to read that Ellen's political agenda is being complicated by the legislature - never too late to learn!

Let's keep in touch - I am regularly visiting your blog!