FacebookTwitterGoogle+Google GmailShare

Representative Governance

Founder(s): FOSIA
Status: Completed

AREU has produced a number of papers based broadly around the theme of “representative governance,” and conducted a detailed study on the topic during 2009-10. Conducted across a wide variety of locations against a backdrop of elections, the research closely observed electoral dynamics at a local and national level while expanding the focus to include Afghan attitudes to democracy and democratisation in general.
The research has highlighted the gap that frequently separates government from the governed, as well as parliament’s complicated relationship with the president and government ministries. Analysis of political organisations and networks focus on political parties, bloc voting and the shifting political allegiances within parliament itself. It looks in detail at the factors affecting the formation of political alliances, including insecurity, narratives of ethnicity, economic motivations, and the influence of personality politics. Also examined are the often complex popular narratives surrounding the word “democracy” itself. The findings critique the way that international actors have tended to equate “democracy” with “elections” and have not paid adequate attention to the long-term institution building necessary for the establishment of a working democratic system.
AREU has also produced a range of coverage and analysis focusing specifically on electoral processes in 2004-05 and 2009-10. A Guide to Parliamentary Elections in Afghanistan provided an in-depth explanation of the processes and legislation behind 2005’s Wolesi Jirga and provincial council elections, and AREU research teams conducted field observation of 41 voting centres during the poll itself. Post-election analysis culminated in A House Divided, a paper that served as a base for AREU’s coverage of the 2009-10 polls; this examined why and how Afghans vote and how elections have related to instability at central and local levels.

Publications from this research project:

AREU Election Observation Report

AREU’s observation report on the 2005 parliamentary election.

A Guide to Parliamentary Elections in Afghanistan

This guide is a one-stop source of information on the Wolesi Jirga and Provincial Council elections that includes an explanation of the elections process, the different actors involved and the key issues that affect electoral procedures.

Free, Fair or Flawed? Challenges to Legitimate Elections in Afghanistan

An AREU briefing paper examining the challenges facing the holding of the 2004/05 presidential and parliamentary elections, and how these could be minimised to ensure perceived legitimacy.

Afghan Elections: The Great Gamble

Despite considerable evidence that elections held prematurely in post-conflict situations do more harm than good, the Karzai administration, the UN and major donors (including the United States) are betting that the potential benefits of 2004 elections exceed the risks. This Read More