Nic Cheeseman on how to rig elections
Elections, as much as we might like to think the contrary, do not guarantee democracy. Indeed, as recent history shows, electoral systems around the world are delivering up wins for authoritarians. Worse still, there are plenty of electoral systems that are themselves compromised or degraded — and election interference appears to be gaining even more traction as a tool of an ugly realpolitik. We spoke with Nic Cheeseman, professor at the University of Birgmingham and co-author of How to Rig An Election, about making sure the free and open society survives as more than a concept.
About Nic Cheeseman:
Nic Cheeseman is Professor of Democracy and International Development at the University of Birmingham. In addition to numerous book chapters, he is the author of Democracy in Africa: Successes, failures and the struggle for political reform (CUP, 2015) and over twenty journal articles including “Rethinking the ‘presidentialism debate’: Conceptualizing coalitional politics in cross-regional perspective” (Democratization, 2014), which won the inaugural GIGA prize for the best article published in Comparative Area Studies. Professor Cheeseman is also the editor of the collections Our Turn to Eat: Politics in Kenya Since 1950 (2010), The Handbook of African Politics (2013), and African Politics: Major Works (2016), and two special issues of the Journal of Eastern African Studies on the Kenyan elections of 2007 and 2013. As well as being the former editor of the journal African Affairs, the #1 ranked journal in Area Studies, Professor Cheeseman is the founding editor of the Oxford Encyclopaedia of African Politics, the Oxford Dictionary of African Politics, and the co-editor of the Handbook of Kenyan Politics (forthcoming). These days, he spends much of his time writing about contemporary events in Africa in a bi-weekly column for Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper. Professor Cheeseman also regularly provides analysis to the UK and US governments, and is an advisor to, and writer for, Kofi Annan’s African Progress Panel.