Please see the below information on an informal presentation by RegNet PhD Visiting Fellow, Charlotte Heyl. Charlotte is part of our DAAD Research Exchange Program with the GIGA Institute of African Affairs (Hamburg, Germany) led by Dr. Bjoern Dressel of the Crawford School.
The Contribution of Constitutional Courts to the Democratic Quality of Elections in Sub-Saharan Africa
Date/Time: 4th September, Thursday from 3-4:15pm
Venue: RegNet Meeting room, level 3 Coombs Extension Building
Electoral processes in Sub-Saharan Africa are prone to electoral irregularities. Reoccurring and unsanctioned irregularities shake the confidence of voters and candidates in the electoral process and can thus jeopardize the voters’ willingness to participate in elections as well as the elections’ competitiveness and legitimacy. Impartial electoral contestation adjudication can however serve as an “institutional safety-valve” (Mozaffar / Schedler 2002) that compensates short-comings earlier in the electoral process. In Francophone Africa constitutional courts are the electoral judges of presidential and legislative elections. Which role do these constitutional courts play in reality in electoral processes? How do they contribute to the democratic quality of elections? The doctoral thesis analyzes in a first step the institutional structure and performance of constitutional courts in five African electoral democracies (Benin, Madagascar, Mali, Niger and Senegal) before it examines more deeply the dynamics of electoral adjudication in Madagascar and Senegal.
Charlotte Heyl is a Political Scientist and a research fellow at the GIGA Institute of African Affairs in Hamburg (Germany) as well as at the University of Duisburg-Essen (Germany). She works in a research project on” Judicial Independence in New Democracies” led by Dr. Mariana Llanos. Her doctoral project deals with the role of African constitutional courts in electoral processes. She has field work experience in Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique and Senegal.