Postponed Elections in Haiti and the Democratic Republic of Congo

Nov. 18, 2016 Weekly Graphs

Haiti has postponed this presidential election five times since the first round on October 25th 2015 when no candidate received a majority of the vote. The election is now planned for November 20th. In Congo, general elections were planned for November 27th this year but following protests in September calling for the current president Joseph Kabila to step down, the president postponed the elections until 2018. These postponements obviously undermine the electoral democracy in these countries.  The Electoral Democracy Index analyzes to what extent rulers are responsive to citizens through elections. The index incorporates fundamental ideals of democracy such as clean elections and extensive suffrage. In between elections, the index measures freedom of expression and independent media. A higher value indicates that a country is closer to achieving the ideal of electoral democracy.

The two countries appear to have traveled different paths to arrive where they are today. Though Haiti experienced a long period of very low levels of electoral democracy from 1957 to 1986, the scores have recently seen some intermittent gains with a significant dip in 2006. Congo held elections in 1965 several years after becoming independent but did not do so again until 2006. Thus, Haiti appears caught in a cycle of progress and setbacks, and maybe Congo has seen the beginning of similar fluctuations in the lower range of the scale. 

You can learn more about elections in Haiti or Congo, or any other country, by using the online analysis tool at v-dem.net.

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