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Attitudes of political elites and democratic governance

About this project

Fieldwork interviews with political elites inspired an interest in measuring and explaining the attitudes of political elites. The aim of the project is to explain elite attitudes (e.g., institutional, individual-level factors) and consider how elite attitudes influence the prospects for democratic governance. In particular, the project is exploring attitudes towards party institutionalization and internal party democracy. As a part of internal democracy within political parties, primary elections are increasingly being trialed in African countries. But, the quality and results of these elections are severely wanting. In many cases, the primary elections fall well short of being free and fair, and political elites are often imposed as candidates despite primary results.

The project seeks to determine how elites perceive party institutions designed for candidate selection and the prospects for holding free and fair primary elections. In addition, the project seeks to determine how democracy assistance efforts do or do not influence political elite attitudes, as well as political elites' attitudes towards regional integration. Finally, with an ability to measure elite attitudes comes the ability to compare elite and citizen attitudes, such as those reflected on the Afrobarometer survey.

Rassemblement des républicains (RDR) Party Convention in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, 2015

Members of Parliament Never Listen to Citizens, Afrobarometer Survey, 2014/2015

How much of the time do you think the following try their best to listen to what people like you have to say? Members of Parliament. (% who said "never")

45% say that their MP never listens to what citizens have to say