The design of electoral systems and executive types is increasingly being recognized the key lever of constitutional engineering to be applied in the interests of political accommodation and stability in ethnically divided societies. In this groundbreaking comparative study of democratic design in Southern Africa, Andrew Reynolds finds that the decisions about how to constitute representative parliaments have wide ranging effects on the type of parties and party
system that develops, the nature of executive-legislative relations, and the inclusiveness of both majority and minority interests in the process of governance. While electoral system design is the primary focus of the book, the related constitutional issues of whether to choose a presidential or
parliamentary system, and whether to entrench consensual, consociational or majoritarian government are also discussed. Analysing the experiences of Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, the author presents a host of revealing conclusions that help shed light on the success or failure of democratic design in other fledgling democracies, in both Africa and beyond.
`an important contribution to comparative theory, the comparative analysis of democratic institutions, and the comparative study of African politics.'
Shaheen Mozaffar, Representation, 37 (1).
`Reynolds has produced a landmark work in the study of institutional designs for managing ethnic conflict. This book helps put African studies back at the cutting edge of comparative politics.'
Larry Diamond. Stanford University.
`Reynolds's book takes its place as required reading for students of electoral systems, democratization and political development, and African politics.'
Bernie Grofman. University of California.
`a significant contribution to the comparative study of the democratization process in southern Africa ... ambitious study.'
M O Anda, Choice, Vol 37 no 7 March 2000
`Reynolds combines superb analysis with profound public policy implications and extremely helpful lessons not just for Southern Africa but for ethnically divided societies and democratizing countries everywhere. Electoral Systems and Decmocratization in Southern Africa breaks important new ground in the field of comparative constitutional design.'
Arand Lijphart. University of California.
"Andrew Reynolds makes a welcome and useful contribution to the literature of comparative politics from several perspectives" John W Harbeson, American Political Science Review, March 2000
1: Defining and Measuring the Trajectory of Democratization
2: Defining the Intervening and Explanatory Variables
3: Choosing an Electoral System
4: Majoritarian or Power-Sharing Government
5: Plurality Case Study Election Results: Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe
6: PR Case Study Election Results: South Africa and Namibia
8 Cross-Country Comparisons: Legislative and Executive Inclusion
9: Conclusion: The Case for Democratic Optimism