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D 8.3 Report on the challenges faced by young democracies and failing states

Type of the publication: 

This task focuses on the challenges faced by new democracies. The democratic process through the development of democratic institutions and free and fair elections is often obstructed by remnants of the past authoritarian systems. Focusing on case studies, cross-country analyses and comparative studies, we identify some important issues: clientelism, corruption, fraud, vote-buying practises. Research by the CDD (Ghana), the SALDRU (South-Africa) and the UFRJ (Brazil) give an overview of these challenges, mainly by conducting surveys on specific topics dealing with the perception of the population towards condemnable practices or misallocation of public goods. The first two studies are conducted by the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development. “Perception of Corruption and Quality of Public Services: A Case Study of Health Service Delivery” analyses the perception of the corruption and of the quality of services by the poor based on a survey on health service delivery in Ghana. It evaluates the performance and easiness of access to medical care. We find that while the majority of users are generally satisfied with the quality of health delivery, improvements can be made to raise awareness as well as in the operation of the health programs. The second study “The Voice of the Poor And Democracy: A Case Study of Ghana“ aims to measure citizens’ opinion on public affairs and the impact on the behavioural response of politicians’ overtime in light of citizens’ demand for accountability. Although the Ghanaian voters display a noticeable interest in politics, their demand for accountability towards their elected representatives remains weak compared to most democracies. The third sub-task studies the limits of redistribution and clientelism through the South-African scope. “Clientelism and Redistribution in South Africa: Evidence on Perceptions and Attitudes from a Field Survey”, conducted by the SALDRU, assesses the perception of citizens in two villages of South Africa towards clientelistic practices and whether politicians allocate public goods equitably and programmatically in order to maximise social welfare or goods are allocated in an opportunistic manner so as to alter electoral outcomes to favour politicians themselves. The survey suggests evidence of a relationship between attitudes towards clientelism (and clientelistic practices) and redistributive preferences. The fourth study, “The Electronic Voting Machine and the Improvement of the Elections in Brazil”, sheds light on the experience of the electronic voting Brazil’s elections since 1996, and the contribution of this tool in eliminating electoral fraud which remains a concern in newly established democracies. In the end, the electronic voting has provided a very effective basis to increase the participation of low-income voters which are often characterized by a high illiteracy rate. As a result, the simplicity and the security provided by electronic voting may prove useful for new democracies. The results of these studies let us think that citizens are aware of the duties performed by their political leaders but also underline the prevalence of corruption and clientelism in such countries. Nevertheless, some policy recommendations can be addressed to these concerns in order to improve the electoral process and the redistribution, and reduce the corruption in public affairs.
This deliverable gives an overview of four researches conducted in task 8.3. Full results can be seen in the articles referenced in annex, which can be downloaded from the NOPOOR website.