The Interplay Between Political and Technical Factors in Democratic Transition Electoral Processes

Citation: Ellis, A. (2020). The Interplay Between Political and Technical Factors in Democratic Transition Electoral Processes (PA-X Spotlight Report). Edinburgh: Global Justice Academy, University of Edinburgh.

Download report.

Summary: In this PSRP Spotlight, Andrew Ellis highlights some of the political and technical challenges facing countries holding elections during democratic transitions. Ellis draws on his extensive experience as an electoral adviser to tease out practical lessons for national and international actors implementing and supporting elections. At the heart of this Spotlight lie reflections on the ways in which political and technical factors enable and constrain each other in determining electoral ‘success’. The report discusses electoral frameworks, implementation issues, as well as the role of the international community and geopolitics in democratic transitions.

Key Findings and Recommendations:

  1. To ensure a constructive relationship between technical advice and the political marketplace of the transition, this Spotlight sets out advice focused on:
  2. Better understanding the interplay of political and technical dimensions of elections
  3. Finding ways to deal with the election-model ‘status quo bias’ of office holders
  4. Providing ‘politically accessible’ and ‘contextually sensitive’ electoral design expertise
  5. Securing funding and addressing electoral technical challenges early in the process
  6. Building effective relationships between electoral stakeholders
  7. Ensuring context-specific electoral modelling – there are no one-size-fits-all models
  8. Employing creativity in electoral design, in particular in marrying individual
    one-person-one-vote considerations with group accommodation mechanisms
  9. Building or remedying wider institutional systems and capabilities
  10. Preparing for potential last-minute changes, born of political contingencies

Return to search all publications