IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Effects of Electoral Institutions in Rwanda: Why Proportional Representation Supports the Authoritarian Regime


  • Alexander Stroh

    () (GIGA Institute of African Studies)


While much has been written about the special design of Rwanda’s judiciary in order to handle the aftermath of the genocide in 1994, other institutional actions resulting from the 2003 constitution have rarely been addressed in research. However, the second (partial) par-liamentary elections in September 2008 revealed some of the implications which the care-fully designed electoral system has for Rwanda’s political development. As a starting point, the paper emphasises the need to link the debates on institutional design in divided societies with elections in authoritarian regimes. Under different regime types, “institutional engi-neers” may pursue different goals. The paper concludes that in the case of Rwanda propor-tional representation (PR) has been implemented to support undemocratic goals. PR limits the local accountability of politicians in a political environment in which the government is not controlled by a democratic opposition. Thus, Rwanda’s current PR system facilitates the maintenance of authoritarian power in the country, whereas small constituencies would es-tablish closer links between the local populations and their representatives.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexander Stroh, 2009. "The Effects of Electoral Institutions in Rwanda: Why Proportional Representation Supports the Authoritarian Regime," GIGA Working Paper Series 105, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:gig:wpaper:105

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alexander Stroh, 2007. "Crafting Political Institutions in Africa. Electoral Systems and Systems of Government in Rwanda and Zambia Compared," GIGA Working Paper Series 43, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Rwanda; electoral authoritarianism; electoral system; parliament; constituency size;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:gig:wpaper:105. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Bert Hoffmann) or (Howard Loewen). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.