January 12, 2016

Article

Think Tanks and Elections: experiences from around the world

Some thinktankers may suggest that electoral years are dead for think tanks: they are not good for undertaking new research or for communicating their findings because they do not know who might win and what they will decide to do -and so it is best to wait until after the elections. Some think tanks would disagree: for them, this is the time to get busy. WonkComms just organised an event on the subject: Election Fever: how can think tanks make the most of the UK General Election?

Based on a series of posts on think tanks and elections in Latin America, we have gathered a broad range of projects that think tanks around the world put into action at the time of the elections in their countries.

This webpage will also be a supporting material for a panel focusing on the role of think tanks in elections at the upcoming Think Tank Initiative’s global exchange conference taking place in Istanbul in mid February 2015.

Moreover, we decided to expand our series of experiences on think tanks and elections and invite thinktankers around the world to share their organisations’ initiatives thus fostering cross-learning with their peers and other interested audiences. The series will deepen some of the experiences gathered in this page, but will also invite other voices to reflect on the broad spectrum of efforts that think tanks can put into practice focusing on elections.

If your think tank (or other organisations you know) work with similar initiatives at the time of elections, please email me and we will be happy to include it in the chart so others can benefit from your experience. We hope this effort provides a space of reference/inspiration for those think tanks seeking to develop initiatives with a clear focus: elections.

The list below is organised alphabetically.



Africa Research Institute (ARI) / UK ARI-Logo1-small3

([email protected])

2015: Elections in Africa

Summary

Objective

  • ARI set up a resource’s page to share information on a dozen of African countries that will face elections in 2015.
    Research
  • While the site does not share ARI’s research, it points to different articles and reflections regarding elections in African countries.

Components (research, events, debates, communication outputs)

Research

  • Further reading list. While the site does not share ARI’s research, it points to different articles and reflections regarding elections in African countries, with the purpose of  showcasing writers and linking readers up to great new analyses on the elections.

Communication outputs

  • The Election map highlights facts and links to key resources on upcoming elections for a dozen of African countries.
  • Timelines regarding electoral process for each country are also shared in the website.

Results

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Supporters

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Brasilian Center of International Relations (CEBRI) / BrasilScreen Shot 2015-02-02 at 23.37.32

[email protected]

2014: Cycles on Foreign Policy: The Paths of Foreign Policy after the 2014 Elections

Summary

Objective

  • Host two events about the proposals of the two main candidates regarding foreign policy.

Components (research, events, debates, communication outputs)

Events

Communication outputs

Results

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Supporters

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The Brookings Institution / United States brookingslogotagline

[email protected]

2014: The Primaries Project

Summary

Objective

  • Examine the congressional primaries and asked what they revealed about the future of each political party and the future of American politics.

Components (research, events, debates, communication outputs)

Research

Events

Communication outputs

  • FixGov is a blog that identifies and aims to solve the nation’s most pressing political and governance challenges
  • A series of blog posts. See an example here

Results

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Supporters

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2012: Campaign 2012

Summary

Objectives

  • Identify and address the 12 most crucial policy challenges facing the next president in the months leading up to Election Day.
  • Offer the public and the candidates a range of independent, fact-based ideas for addressing the nation’s most urgent foreign and domestic concerns.
  • Serve as a forum for discussion and debate.

Components (research, events, debates, communication outputs)

Research

Events

  • Events were organised to discuss the policy issues.

Communication outputs

Results

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Supporters

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1992: Memos to the President. A Guide through Macroeconomics for the Busy Policymaker

Summary

Objectives

  • The book is written as a series of memos to the president on the principles and policy issues that should be understood before making macroeconomic policy judgments.

Components (research, events, debates, communication outputs)

Research

The series of short, easy-to-read memos is divided into three groups:

  • the first presents the background, explaining why it is particularly important for policymakers to distinguish between those economic forces that affect total demand in the economy and those that affect total supply;
  • the second addresses the problem of economic stability; and
  • the third looks at long-term economic growth

Results

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Supporters

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Budapest Institute / Hungary logo_bpint_hu

[email protected]

2010 and 2014: What they promise

Summary

Objectives

  • Analyse the party programmes during the run up to the Hungarian parliamentary elections.
  • Evaluate the programme of the parties without bias, focusing specifically on how targeted and well-grounded these are and whether the parties could be made accountable for the promises they make.
  • Contribute to raising the general quality of political and policy debates during the elections – and beyond.
  • Promote accountability during elections, and help the press as well as the wider public to formulate similar concrete questions for candidates.

Components (research, events, debates, communication outputs)

Research

  • A team of experts identify top 8 (and 10 additional) priorities in the country they think any political party programme should address. In 2014, the top 8 priorities included: constitutional order, recognizing and strengthening the principle of separation of powers; quality, independency and efficiency of judiciary; quality and efficiency of public education; integration of the Roma population; equality of opportunity in education; business friendly / performance enhancing tax regime; employment of low-skilled people; and corruption and political party financing.
  • Campaign programmes of all parties that gained at least 5% at prev. nation-wide elections (in 2014) or have been on the voting lists in during the EU parliamentary elections in 2008 (in 2010) are evaluated according to the following criteria: 1) Targetedness, 2) Soundness, and 3) Accountability.
  • Evaluation is done by 3 experts for each party programme by assigning scores on a 5-1 scale (5=best, 1=fail), and the average of all scores gives the final score for the party. The original final score can be revised based on subsequent public statements, promises made by party representatives until election day.

Events

  • Press announcements, short interviews in Hungarian media outlets (radio and TV channels),  short news on the project results based on the press announcement. The initiative appeared in the volume of Political Yearbook of Hungary 2010.

Commnication outputs

  • The final scores of political parties are illustrated on charts. The charts rank political parties in the three main criteria separately, and a fourth chart indicates the total score of the party. Party scores in each sub-criteria are made public, and a brief (cca 500 words) note is provided to summarise the overall result as to why particular scores were assigned to particular parties.

Results

  • While the project did not aim at generating big debate events, specific evaluations were sent to each of the corresponding parties in order to inform them about the ranking outcome and the potential points which they could easily improve still during the campaign. One out of the 6 parties responded with acknowledgement of the results and with more detailed information on some of the their campaign promises.

Supporters

Partners

  • Set up by a group of economists, financial analysts and lawyers, all of them working on a voluntary basis.

Donors

  • Funding gathered by croudsourcing (via the online community crowdsourcing site: Creative Selector).


Center for Policy Dialogue / Bangladesh Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 22.48.33

[email protected]

2007: National Election 2007: Civil Society Initiative for Accountable Development

Summary

Objectives

  • Give voice to common citizens of the country so that their development interests and concerns got reflected in the election manifestos of the major political parties.
  • Influence public opinion to encourage and put pressure on political parties to nominate competent candidates to contest in the next parliamentary elections.

Main activities

  1. Constitution of the Eminent Citizen’s Group (Nagorik Committee) to prepare a “Vision” document.
  2. Set up of the Eight Task Forces to develop policy paper on specific issues.
  3. Preparation of the draft of the revised Representation of People’s Order (RPO)
  4. Organisation of meetings in major districts of Bangladesh.
  5. Organisation of Focus Group Discussions separately with international development partners, newspaper editors, TV channel executives, young professionals and legal experts.
  6. Strategic partnerships and collaborative arrangements with institutions and networks.
  7. Engagement of the youths and non-resident Bangladeshi.
  8. Outreach through the following activities: (i) TV Talk Shows, (ii) Publication of special supplements in the newspapers, (iii) video presentation of the summary of these discussions on TV, and (iv) advertisements in the media.
  9. National Policy Forum in Dhaka with important stakeholder groups from across the country and leaders of major political parties.
  10. Publication of the Vision document and reports on the launch meeting and discussions.
  11. Organisation of a series of sessions with members of the incumbent government’s cabinet sharing with them the outcome of the programme

Components (research, events, debates, communication outputs)

Research

  • Bangladesh Vision 2021 formulates a medium-term outlook for the country. Policy papers on specific issues were to feed into the preparation of the vision document

Events

Results

The General Secretaries of both the major political parties made public commitments that they would give nomination to clean candidates, pursue good governance and encourage principled politics. They further committed that they would reflect the ideas generated through extensive public discussion in their manifesto and would pursue commensurate policies when in government.

The Vision 2021 document’ goals got reflected in the election manifestos of the leading political parties. The Awami League, the party which subsequently won the election, incidentally named its manifesto Vision 2021 and included many of the policy suggestions put forward in the CPD’s Vision 2021. Once in power, the Awami League took a number of legislative initiatives and undertook implementation of several programmes in line with the Vision doc recommendations.

Many of the suggestions generated by the CPD’s programme were taken up by the Election Commission in their effort to conduct a free and fair election.

More than eight thousand people had taken part in the fifteen regional meetings.

CPD made a crucial transition, from a predominantly policy influencing and policy

Supporters

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Centre for the Studies of Developing Societies (CSDS) / India logo-2

[email protected]

Since 1967: National Election Studies

Summary

Objective

  • CSDS is primarily engaged in analyzing democratic and electoral trends spanning a period of 5 decades, using survey as a research tool.
  • Presentation for the Think Tank Initiative 2015 Exchange.

Components (research, events, debates, communication outputs)

Research

Results

Supporters

Media, Election Commission of India, CSOs.



Centro de Análisis y Difusión de la Economía Paraguaya (CADEP) and Instituto Desarrollo (ID) / Paraguay Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 23.43.14Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 23.42.02

[email protected]

2013: Paraguay Debate

Summary

Objective

  • Contribute to the development of Paraguay, by enriching the political debate in the country with a focus on the 2013 elections, promoting the discussion of the most important issues related to the strengthening of democratic governance and the sustainability of development.
  • After 203 elections, the project seeks to consolidate itself as a space for permanent coordination, promotion and enrichment of the debate. It also aims to be a platform for monitoring and public policy proposals

Components (research, events, debates, communication outputs)

Research

  • 12 policy notes were elaborated on the following issues: Economic Development, Governance, Environmental Sustainability, Climate Change, Education, Health, Public Finance, Agricultural Development, Childhood Investment, Tax Reform,Open Government and Justice Reform. All these policy notes were translated into briefs to be handed out to the technical teams of presidential candidates and the public opinion.
  • After the 2013 Elections Paraguay Debate continued to publish Policy Notes on different subjects of the government agenda (9 policy notes). Also it publishes opinion articles called Policy dialogues and a magazine called DEBATE.

Debate

  • The debate on TV was agreed by the partners of the Paraguay Debate, the 4 main candidates (including current president) and the Center of Regulation, Norms and Communication Studies (CERNECO), which gathers the main radio, TV and press companies of the country.

Communication outputs

Results

  • The debate was broadcasted by every terrestrial channel, cable channel and was also web-streamed, reaching 1.5 million households.
  • After the elections, the platform became a new space of reference regarding policy proposals.
  • The proposals were considered in many of the government programmes of the main parties. The current National Development Plan was clearly influenced by the analyses included in the Policy Notes.
  • The importance of approaching these topics was installed in the media and among journalists.
  • A systematisation of the experience can be found in this article: Paraguay debate: The challenge of nourishing the political debate in times of elections

Supporters

Partners

  • Besides CADEP and Instituto Desarrollo, the alliance also included Centro de Información y Recursos para el Desarrollo (CIRD), DECIDAMOS Campaña por la Expresión Ciudadana, Desarrollo en Democracia (DENDE), Gestión Ambiental (geAm), Semillas para la Democracia) and 5 others as organisations.

Donors

  • International Development Research Centre ( IDRC) and Think Tank Initiative (TTI)

Allies

  • Center of Regulation, Norms and Communication Studies (CERNECO)


Centro de Implementación de Políticas Públicas para la Equidad y el Crecimiento (CIPPEC) / Argentina layout_set_logo

[email protected]

Presentation for the Think Tank Initiative 2015 Exchange

2014: Argentina Debate

Summary

Objectives

  • Achieve the first presidential debate in Argentina’s history in the elections of 2015, around an agenda of development priorities, and shape the basis for its institutionalisation.

Components (research, events, debates, communication outputs)

Research

Events

Communication outputs

Results

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Supporters

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2011: Agenda for the President 2011-2015

Summary

Objective

  • Raise the quality of public policies and the public debate during the electoral campaign.
  • Create the necessary conditions for the realization of the first televised debate between the presidential candidates
  • Internal objective: Consolidate the organisation’s work and identity: the initiative would enable the organisation’s different policy areas to reflect on their decade-long work and help establish priorities and goals.

Components (research, events, debates, communication outputs)

Research

Debate

  • CIPPEC organised a debate between the candidates for the mayor office of Moron, a highly populated municipality in suburban Buenos Aires.

Communication outputs

  • Agenda for the President’s Website (which has been closed afterwards)
  • Video


Results

  • The project was featured 142 times in print media; 50 in national newspapers, 29 in provincial newspapers, 43 in news portals and websites. 9 on TV and 29 in the radio.
  • The project was presented 69 times to different audiences, including experts, academics, businessmen, party experts, high-ranked public officials, legislators, diplomats, and governors.
  • The project was discussed with 3 of the 7 candidates, but not the incumbent President and main candidate.
  • A few proposals from the Memos were adopted by opposition political parties and others were even implemented by the government.
  • It was not possible to organise the first presidential debate.
  • The project allowed the organisation to compile, organize, and present in non-technical language more than 10 years of research.
  • CIPPEC was accepted as a member of the International Network for Electoral Debates.
  •  A systematisation of the experience can be found in the document Promoting a national policy forum: CIPPEC’s “Agenda for the President 2011-2015”. In Spanish.

Supporters

Donor

  • Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE)

Allies

  • Center for Legal and Social Studies (CELS), Fundación Vida Silvestre (FVSA), Poder Ciudadano.

Programme of Political Institutions

Summary

CIPPEC also counts with a team focused on research and technical assistance on electoral issues (among other issues).

Components (research, events, debates, communication outputs)

Research

  • The Programme addresses different issues related to elections, electoral reforms, implementation of the single ballot, the vote of young population, and electoral observation.
  • Publications from the programme can be found here.
  • Some important projects of the Program includes Young vote and the Argentine Electoral Observatory

Communication outputs

Videos


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Comparative Studies of Electoral Systems (CSES)CSES

[email protected]

Summary

Objective

  • Since 1996, CSES is a collaborative program of research among election study teams from around the world.

Methodology

  • Participating countries include a common module of survey questions in their post-election studies. The resulting data are deposited along with voting, demographic, district and macro variables. The studies are then merged into a single, free, public dataset for use in comparative study and cross-level analysis.
  • The research agenda, questionnaires, and study design are developed by an international committee of leading scholars of electoral politics and political science. The design is implemented in each country by their foremost social scientists.

Supporters

Allies

  • The CSES Secretariat is in cooperation between the Center for Political Studies and GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences.

Donors

  • American National Science Foundation, he GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, and the University of Michigan.


Consorcio de Investigación Económica y Social (CIES) / Peru

logo_0

[email protected]

Presentation for the Think Tank Initiative 2015 Exchange

Summary: 2006-2015

2014: Regional elections 2014: focusing the electoral debate

Summary

Objective

  • Promote a higher level debate and more focused on policy options that allows the strengthening of regional governance.

Main activities

Four phases:

  1. Preparation of policy briefs on key issues for new regional governments: Apurimac, Arequipa, Cusco, La Libertad, Loreto and Piura.
  2. Presentation of policy briefs at closed workshops with main parties’ planning team and regional movements
  3. Broad dissemination of policy briefs that promotes informed vote
  4. Advocacy with the elected authorities of regional governments.

Components (research, events, debates, communication outputs)

Research

  • 26 policy briefs on six policy issues: DebatesStrategic planning, Regional competitiveness, Poverty alleviation and productive development, Sustainable management of natural resources and extractive industries, Climate change, and Human rights and gender.
  • A summary of the main proposals can be found here: Policy proposals for regional governments. 2015 – 2018

Events

Debates

  • Technical debate in Lima
  • Presidential debate in Lima with 13 candidates
  • 3 Regional Debates (Apurimac, Arequipa and La Libertad)

Communication outputs

Supporters

2011: Elections Peru 2011: Focusing the electoral debate

Summary

Objective

  • Raise the level of the electoral debate through public policy proposals on key issues for national development. It intended to strengthen both the parties’ policy proposals and the next government’s policies.

Main activities

The intervention included 5 stages:

  1. Production of 15 public policy documents,
  2. Discussion over them with main parties’ planning teams,
  3. Production of ad hoc resources for the press,
  4. Broad dissemination campaign in Lima and regions,
  5. Electoral debates

Components (research, events, debates, communication outputs)

Research

  • Policy briefs on 15 issues: Public Management; Corruption and Governance; Security and Narcotics; Tax Policy; Tax policies to minerals and oil; Regional Development; Rural Development; Natural Resources; Social Conflict; Interculturalism; Climate Change; Social policies and poverty; Education; Innovation, Science and Technology; and Genre. Available here.
  •  A list of the policy briefs and authors can be found here.

Events

  • Two events in Lima: a launch workshop with national public opinion leaders and a seminar consisting of three consecutive working breakfasts with more than 300 attendees from academia, the public sector, civil society, political parties, international cooperation and press.
  • The dissemination campaign included 8 seminars in different regions (Piura, Loreto, Trujillo, Chiclayo, Ayacucho, Cusco and Arequipa), which reached out to more than 1,000 attendees.
  • 15 meetings with political parties and JNE (to shape debates)
  • 25 workshops with government planning teams: 117 attendees
  • 6 meetings with regional opinion leaders

Debates

Communication outputs

Results

  • Enrichment of policy proposals and government plans of the parties that participated of the 2011 electoral process.
  • Offer of technical elements to the debate and inputs to the journalists covering the process.
  • Roadmap with 15 important issues for Peru’s development and governance.
  • Facilitation of links between researchers, technocrats and politicians beyond the project.
  • After the elections, CIES participated of an official induction seminar with the newly elected congress, organised by the Major Office of the Congress. CIES presented the project and the challenges for the Peruvian economy between 2011-2016, complemented with a distribution of the 15 documents to each representative.
  • The relevance of the second round debates stimulated the organisers to publish a memoire of the debates, a responsibility that fell to CIES. In addition to the report of the discussions the book included interviews with key stakeholders, in order to facilitate the organization of future debates. The publication was distributed among politicians, journalists and members of academia.
  • A systematisation of the experience can be found in this article: Focusing the electoral debate: CIES’ experience during the Peru 2011 campaign.

Supporters

Donors

  • CIDA, JICA, AECID, SDC, IADB, World Bank, IDRC, GIZ, CAF, Embassy of Belgium, UNFPA, MESAGEN, UNODC, NED, ODI

Allies

  • Acuerdo Nacional Ciudadanos al Día; Consejo de la Prensa Peruana; Diario El Comercio; Idea Internacional; Jurado Nacional de Elecciones (JNE); PUCP – Dpto. de Ciencias Sociales; Transparencia

2006: Elections Peru 2006: Knowledge for better choice

Summary

Objective

  • Raise the level of electoral debate, emphasizing the discussion of policy options and government programs.
  • Promote consensus on State policies in Peru
  • Contribute to the design of the next government programs.

Main activities

  1. Production of policy briefs.
  2. Meetings with main parties’ planning teams.
  3. Decentralised seminars in six regions of Peru.
  4. Dissemination campaigns through the media.

Components (research, events, debates, communication outputs)

Research

  • The project generated documents on the following policy issues: Competitiveness, Regulation and concessions, Employment, Modernisation of the State, Social programs and poverty, Rural Development, Education, Decentralization, Health, Gender.
  • Access the documents here.

Events

  • 19 workshops with government planning’s teams
  • 6 workshops with authorities and civil society: 647 attendees
  • 6 Meetings with media opinion leaders
  • Meeting with Chief of Mission of Observers of OAS, USAID and international cooperation

Debates

Communication outputs

  • Photo dissemination
  • 32,500 copies of policy documents (including magazines, dossier), distributed nationwide
  • 644 radio spots
  • Virtual Policy Analysis Bulletin distributed to a database of 9000 contacts

Results

  • For the first time in the electoral history of Peru a programmatic debate took place, in which the heads of government plans of the candidates that got to the second round exposed their sectorial programs.

Supporters

Donors

  • IADB; NED; CIDA-IDRC; World Bank; PNUD; UNFPA; MESAGEN

Allies

  • Jurado Nacional de Elecciones; Acuerdo Nacional; Asociación Civil Transparencia; Instituto de Defensa Legal y Propuesta Ciudadana

2006: Regional elections 2006: Knowledge for better choice

Summary

Main activities

  1. Organization and coordination of the preparation of four documents “Proposals for Regional Development 2007-2010”.
  2. Three workshops with civil society to validate priorities identified in the documents.
  3. Seminars with regional and local leaders and candidates for regional presidencies and vice presidencies in the 3 regions.
  4. Meetings between the authors of the documents and the elected regional presidents and vice presidents and their advisors.
  5. Production of promotional materials for working with media.
  6. Organisation of press conferences to ensure dissemination through mass media.
  7. Meeting with presenters in political shows in television and radio.
  8. Dissemination through radio and print media

Components (research, events, debates, communication outputs)

Research

  • The documents were prepared by three centers members of CIES, one in each region. Each document prioritized four or five policy issues for each region. The policy issues were selected according to the experience of each region and their development plans.

Results

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Supporters

Allies

Universidad Católica de Santa María de Arequipa; Centro Bartolomé de las Casas del Cusco;Centro de Investigación y Promoción del Campesinado de Piura



Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) / Georgia

logo-3

[email protected]

2014: Political parties Social – Economic Programs. 2014 Elections

(Similar initiatives were carried out in 2012 Parliamentary Elections and 2013 Presidential elections)

Summary

Objective

  • Evaluate economic platforms and pre-election promises by political parties.
  • Create an information resource base regarding the socio-economic visions of the election participant political parties for the citizens of Georgia.

Methodology

  • Pre-election platforms and promises presented by political parties are examined in different categories (policy issues). Independent experts work on each categories using a new methodology developed within the framework of the project and evaluating the programs and promises using six indicators.
  • In addition to evaluating the promises, experts, by using the six categories, are able to ascertain the viewpoint and receive a detailed analysis of promises made by each party.
  • Election platforms and promises presented by political parties are evaluated by the following criteria: Factual accuracy, Consistency of text, Economic advisability, Feasibility; Evaluation, Placement on ideological spectrum, Ideological Flip-Flop

Components (research, events, debates, communication outputs)

Research

Events

Communication outputs

  • For 2012 Parliamentary elections, videos with presentations of the different parties’ platforms were recorded.


Results

  • The five language web-site was created in Georgian, Russian, English, Azeri and Armenian. This has enabled the ethnic minority representatives to gain access to the socio-economic visions of the presidential and local election participant political parties in their native languages that in itself has helped them in making a more informed political choice.
  • This was the very first case that within the project, experts have prepared independent reviews of the socio-economic programs of the election participant political parties. This has enabled the society as well as the ethnic minorities to better assess the relevance and feasibility of the visions presented by the presidential election candidates.

Supporters

Donors

  • USAID – Georgia; East West Management Institute; Policy, Advocacy, and Civil Society Development in Georgia; US Embassy in Georgia.

Allies

  • European Initiative Liberal Academy Tbilisi, ISET Policy Institute, Transparency International Georgia.


Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) / South Africa (field offices in Central African Republic, Kenya, Mali, Madagascar, Mozambique and  Somalia)eisalogo

[email protected]

Summary

Objectives

To promote credible elections, citizen participation and the strengthening of political institutions for sustainable democracy in Africa, EISA’s programme areas include:

  • Elections and Political Processes: seeks to influence key political processes that underpin elections in Africa and to promote the development, popularisation and application of election principles and good practices through knowledge production, election  conflict  management programmes,  civic and voter education, party agent poll watch training,  technical support and expertise to election stakeholders.
  • Political Parties Support: aims to strengthen key democracy institutions in Africa, by building the functional capacity of political parties and foster good inter-party relations and strengthen capacity of elected leaders to fulfil their representative and oversight role.
  • Balloting and Electoral Services: enhances the credibility and legitimacy of organisational elections by providing independent and impartial electoral administration, management and consultancy services to business, labour, government, civic associations, tertiary institutions, community based organizations, quasi-state bodies and political parties.
  • African Peer Review Mechanism. Support to civil society, research and platforms for engagement  with the APRM review process.

Components (research, events, debates, communication outputs)

Research

  • Publications provide useful information for policy makers and academics.
  • The Journal of African Elections (JAE) is an accredited, interdisciplinary, biannual publication of research and writing in the human sciences which seeks to promote a scholarly understanding of developments and change in Africa.

Communication outputs

Supporters

Donors

  • CIDA, Danida, DFID, Embassy of Finland Pretoria, Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), National Democratic Institute, Norwegian Foreign Affairs Ministry, Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), UNDEF.


Expert Forum / RomaniaExpert Forum

[email protected]

Program Electoral Processes

Summary

Objectives

  • Expert Forum implements projects related to organizing procedures of the elections, accreditation of internal observers and monitoring the main electoral events. Be strongly believe in the necessity of an Electoral Code that will integrate technical procedures and the characteristics of the electoral system and will reduce the bureaucracy, the discrepancies among different types of electoral laws and will facilitate the access of the citizen to the voting process. Furthermore, fighting electoral fraud is one of the priorities of this program.

Components (research, events, debates, communication outputs)

Research

Communication outputs

  • Video The Electoral Code reform can wait no longer



Fedesarrollo / Colombia

logo_fede_ini_4

2014: Elections 2014

Summary

Objective

  • For the 2014 presidential elections in Colombia, Fedesarrollo prepared a series of five research documents on a number of relevant issues for the next government’s economic and social policy, which were used as the main inputs to promote public debate among the various candidates that participated in the election.

Components (research, events, debates, communication outputs)

Research

Debates

  • Two debates were organized in the cities of Bogotá and Medellín.

Results

  • In the case of Medellín, Fedesarrollo gathered four out of five candidates to the Vice-presidency. The meeting was attended by 250 people.
  • The event in Bogotá was joined by 500 people plus 11,500 who joined via web-streaming.
  • A systematisation of the experience can be found in this article: Experience of Fedesarrollo in presidential campaigns in Colombia

Supporters

Allies

  • Fundación Compartir and Fundación Éxito

2010: Elections 2010

Summary

Objective

  • Raise the quality of the debate on economic issues during the first round of the presidential campaign and of providing policy proposals to the incoming administration.

Main activities

The initiative was developed in 4 steps:

  1. Commission the papers.
  2. Convince the presidential candidates of the merits of the exercise.
  3. Organisation of the debates.
  4. Papers were collected in a volume following the debates.

Components (research, events, debates, communication outputs)

Research 

  • Eight policy-oriented papers on the following issues were commissioned to local experts: labor, taxes and infrastructure.
  • The proposals were gathered in the document 2010 – 2014 Public policy proposals

Debates

  • 3 debates with presidential candidates were organized in the cities of Cali, Barranquilla and Bogotá.

Results

  • Informal discussion sessions based on the policy papers were held at Fedesarrollo with members of the transition team including the incoming Minister´s of Finance, Agriculture and Planning.
  • Many of Fedesarrollo’s proposals were adopted by the new administration (for instance, elimination of certain income tax exemptions, generation of formal employment for youngsters, formalisation of micro, small and medium-sized, among others).
  • A systematisation of the experience can be found here.

Supporters

Donors

  • Corporación Andina de Fomento (CAF)

Allies

  • Portafolio and Proantioquia


FUSADES / El Salvador Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 23.49.36

2015: “How to vote?” Campaign

Summary 

Objective

  • Contribute to the exercise of suffrage by the citizens in the elections of March 2015, revealing the correct ways to vote, thus strengthening democracy and citizen participation. This initiative was successfully performed by Fusades with other organizations in 2012.

Components (research, events, debates, communication outputs)

Communication outputs


SupportersAllies

  • TECHO, CREO and Aliados por la Democracia

2014: Legislative platforms

Summary 

Objective

  • Discussion panel with political parties to share the programmatic lines that will promote over the next three years.

Components (research, events, debates, communication outputs)

Communication outputs

Results

  • 8 of 10 political parties participated of the event

Supporters

Donor

  • Hanns Seidel Foundation

2014: Electoral observation 2014

Summary

24 voting centers were observed

Components (research, events, debates, communication outputs)

Communication outputs

Results

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Supporters

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2013: Dialogues with presidential candidates

Summary

Objective

  • The dialogues were a space for reflection that sought to deepen into the proposals and plans for government of each of the candidates and inform the public in a systematic way (considering different policy areas) on actions that presidential candidates have in mind to solve the main problems of the country.

Approach

  • Dialogues took place between candidates and different policy experts.

Components (research, events, debates, communication outputs)

Research

  • The Memory of the dialogues. Dialogues focused on the following areas: economic, social, institutional and public safety.

Communication outputs

  • Videos of dialogues with candidates.


Results

  • Five candidates responded to the call and one by one spoke with a panel of eight experts.

Supporters

Allies

  • FUNDE

Ongoing: Research series

Summary

Objective

  • The Department of Political Studies of FUSADES develop research on electoral issues.

Components (research, events, debates, communication outputs)

Research

Results

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Supporters

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Grupo FARO / Ecuador LogotipoSloganBajo

[email protected]

2006: Ciudadanizando las políticas

Summary

Objective

  • Raise the level of public debate during the election process.
  • Contribute to the development of plans of government and political parties in the medium term, with the construction and monitoring of public policies of the next government.
  • Improve the level of information on policy options and promote informed vote.
  • Promote decentralization of electoral debate.
  • Internal objective: position Grupo FARO as promoter of the use of evidence in policy making; Introduce Grupo FARO to the new government.

Main activities

The project can be divided in seven stages:

  1. Shape an Advisory Council.
  2. Launch a call to researches who were interested in writing proposals on strategic policy issues for the country.
  3. Selection of proposals
  4. Support in developing proposals
  5. Presentation of the proposals during the election’s first round
  6. Replication in four cities
  7. Presentation of the proposals during the election’s second round.

Components (research, events, debates, communication outputs)

Research

Events

  • Three Citizen Forums were organized in the cities of Tena, Manta and Riobamba. Other events (evaluation of proposals, launch of proposals) can be found here.

Results

  • A great number of the proposals were incorporated to the winner’s government plan.
  • The initiative was a big opportunity to show Grupo FARO and its researchers’ work.
  • It was not possible to interact with all presidential candidates.
  • As a consequence of the production of the studies, Grupo FARO was able to identify researchers that were then engaged in different projects within the organisation.
  • The experience was an interesting opportunity to shape networks with civil society at national and supranational level.
  • A reflection on the initiative can be found in this interview with the Executive Director.

Supporters

Donors

  • UNICEF, NED, IDRC

Allies

  • Alianza Equidad, CIESPAL, Participación Ciudadana Ecuador, Info Desarrollo


Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) / Ghana

iea_ghana_logo[email protected]

Presentation for the Think Tank Initiative’s 2015 Exchange.

Presidential Debates conducted in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012. Evening Encounters and Vice Presidential Debates held in 2008 & 2012

Summary

Objective

  • Promote issue-based elections and provide a platform for political accountability. The Debates equip the electorate with requisite information on what each candidate stands for and enables them make an informed choice as to who is the best Candidate to govern them.

Components (research, events, debates, communication outputs)

Research

  • Prior to the 2008 Debates, the IEA conducted a study and nation-wide consultations that sought to identify the gaps in Ghana’s democratic practice since the coming into force of the 1992 Constitution, and to make practical recommendations for reform. The challenges and gaps identified in the study formed the basis of questions posed to the Presidential Candidates in the 2008 and 2012 Debates. The IEA invited questions from key stakeholders on various issues. A number of these questions were developed into a questionnaire. The completed questionnaire by the Candidates was published as a booklet and circulated nation-wide. This enabled the electorate know what each candidate stood for on the various policy issues.

Debates

  • Debates included Presidential Debates, Vice Presidential Debates and Evening Encounters. Whereas the Presidential Debates and Vice Presidential Debates provides a single platform for Candidates of Political Parties to dialogue and answer specific questions, the Evening Encounters provide individual platform to each of the Presidential Candidates to present their programmes, policies and answer questions from the electorate.
  • Presidential Debates. Organized in each election year in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012. These Debates bring the Presidential Candidates of the Parliamentary Political Parties together on one platform to answer questions from the electorate.

  • Vice Presidential Debates. In addition to the Presidential Debates, The IEA in 2008 introduced Vice Presidential Debates. This platform enables the Vice Presidential Candidates to introduce themselves to the Ghanaian electorate, thereby enabling the electorate to assess their competence; and capability to assist in the governance of the country as well as perform as Presidents should the need arise.
  • Evening Encounters. In 2008, the IEA introduced the Evening Encounters to provide the Presidential Candidates the sole platform to outline their plans and vision for the nation and answer direct questions from the electorate. The Evening Encounters are different from the Presidential Debates in that each Candidate has the platform to him/herself. Also, it is a platform that enables the Candidates to interact with Civil Society and interest groups. Indeed members of the public who are present at the Encounters pose direct questions to the Candidates and engage them on their policy positions.

  • More videos of presidential, vice presidential and evening encounter debates can be found here.

Communication outputs

  • The Debates are telecast by all media houses, that is, radio and television stations. The recorded Debates are played over the course of two weeks and discussions held. All major newspapers also transcribe the debates. In 2012, the Debates were streamed live by several radio stations and this enabled Ghanaians abroad to watch the Debates.  The IEA also produces DVDs and circulate copies to key stakeholders. Additionally, all the Debates are transcribed and published in reports. These reports are circulated to 2000 most influential Ghanaians including media houses and serialized in the newspapers.

Results

  • The Debates have been successful in lowering the political temperature and reducing tension as well as contributing to peaceful elections in Ghana. For example, the video clips on the peace pledge of the Presidential Candidates holding hands together was used by the National Commission for Civic Education and the media to promote peace throughout the country. The regent of Dagbon Traditional Area wrote to commend The IEA for organizing one of the Debates in Northern Ghana and promoting peace in the volatile area.
  • The Debates helped Ghana to move campaigns away from one based on personalities, insults, acrimony to an issues-based campaign and Debates.  Indeed, following the Debates, the political landscape and media is dominated by a comparative analysis of the political parties and their policy positions on issues.
  • The electronic media have also translated the Debates extensively into all the major dialects of Ghana to enable the unlettered understand the issues raised. This also enables the electorate to make an informed choice on election day. Hitherto, the electorate had no opportunity to hear first hand from the Candidates. The Debates and Evening Encounters have afforded the electorate the opportunity to know what each Candidate stands for.
  • The Debates and Evening Encounters have also served as accountability platforms in that the one who gets elected is held accountable for his or her policy positions.
  • The Debates have not only been campaign platforms. Leaders have gone ahead to implement policy proposals they articulated on the debate platform. For instance, Ghana’s constitution review exercise was a pledge made on the 2008 Debate Platform. The passage of the IEA-sponsored Presidential Transition Bill into law was also a commitment articulated on the 2008 Debate platform. The appointment of several women including the Chief Justice, Attorney-General, the Deputy Inspector General of Police, the Commissioner for the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice and several other ministers and deputy ministers were in fulfillment of the promise to increase the number of women in the decision making process.
  • Ghana is the only country in West Africa to have held four Presidential Debates back to back.
  • In 2012 the sitting president of Ghana participated in the debate for the first time.
  • A systematisation of the experience can be found in this article: The IEA presidential debates: 15 years of upholding electoral accountability.

Supporters

Allies

  • Four main Political Parties with representation in Parliament, media houses, civil society and public interest bodies including the Trades Union Congress, Ghana Journalists Association, Gender Groups.


Institute for Fiscal Studies / UK

IFS_logo

[email protected]

2014: Election 2015 website

Summary

  • Provide initial analysis of what has happened to a set of policy issues over the last five years

Components (research, events, debates, communication outputs)

Research

Communication outputs

  • Press release
  • Timelines are also shared in the project’s website.

Results

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Supporters

Donors

  • Nuffield Foundation


 

Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS), University of the Western Cape / South AfricaPlaasLogo2

[email protected]

2014 General Elections

Summary

Objectives

  • Make the public aware of government’s political machinations regarding new policies with progressive titles introduced to look progressive enough to secure the vote, while in fact not having much benefit for most South Africans/ Inform the public of the hidden costs and problems with the proposed policies.

Components (research, events, debates, communication outputs)

Research

  • Analyse the proposed policies to identify the key proposals and identify existing research that speaks to those proposals i.e. literature review.
  • Analyse the proposed government budget for land reform, and identify if it is adequate to meet governments plans proposed in the policies.

Communication outputs

  • Held 2 public events to discuss the policies with civil society organisations.
  • Submit comments to government during the governments time limits for collecting comments on policies & circulate comments in public via social media and mailing lists.
  • Write numerous press releases and blogs, highlighting the problematic aspects of the policies, and the declining government budget to implement the policies.
  • Write OpEds and conduct print media, radio and television interviews about the policies.

Results

  • Informed civil society of problems with policies and built opposition to them.
  • Supported civil society organisations in making submissions to government about their opposition to the policies.
  • Increased opposition to the detrimental policies.

Supporters

Allies

  • Civil society and usually conservative farmers’ organisations opposed the policies.
  • Other research organisations agreed with and backed our analysis.
  • Media editors created substantial space for PLAAS to take its message forward.


 

Risk Monitor / BulgariaRisk Monitor

[email protected]

The Еlectoral Process in Bulgaria – Main Deficiencies and Risks

Summary

Objectives

  • Analytical overview of the development of rules for conducting elections of 1990 so far;
  • Empirical research in three key municipalities in the country with a view to outline the main risks for the local elections in the year 2011;
  • Analysis and summary of the expert view on the issue of “Vote buying” and the implications it features in Bulgarian environment.

Components (research, events, debates, communication outputs)

Research

  • The Еlectoral Process in Bulgaria – Main Deficiencies and Risks in Bulgarian and in French.

Supporters

Donors

  • Organisation Internationale de La Francophonie


 

Romanian Academic Society (SAR) / Romania ro-logo

[email protected]

Romanian Coalition for a Clean Parliament / 2004 & 2008

Summary

Objectives

  • The Coalition for a Clean Parliament was a coalition of NGOs which set out to inform the electorate regarding the parliamentary candidates before the 2004 elections.

Components (research, events, debates, communication outputs)

Communications outputs

  • A guide for choosing MPs was drafted, containing criteria for assessing how suitable candidates were. Over 2 million of these were distributed as leaflets largely in rural areas.
  • Political integrity was defined and an agreement called the White Paper of Good Governance was signed with the political parties.
  • Blacklists of candidates were also drafted and sent to the party leadership.
  • Pressure was put on parties to drop blacklisted candidates, including public shaming.
  • A Quest for Political Integrity – book in English, tells the story of how the coalition came to be, their activity, obstacles, threats and ultimate success.

Results

  • The coalition won all law suits filed against it by candidates and office-holders. A total of 98 candidates were withdrawn from the lists or lost the elections, even though 104 blacklisted candidates did make it to Parliament. The coalition thus enjoyed a success rate of close to 50%.

Supporters

  • Active Watch – Media Monitoring Agency, Open Society Foundation, Civic Alliance, APADOR-CH, Asociatia Pro Democratia, The Group for Social Dialogue, The Association of Political Science Students, FreedomHouse Romania, Centre for Independent Journalism.

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