Shielding elections from presidential influence: lessons from Cabo Verde, Comoros and Madagascar

Should sitting presidents who seek re-election be required to step aside ahead of the polls?

Cabo Verde and Madagascar require a sitting president seeking re-election to step aside in the run-up to the polls. Electoral observers have found that this little-known practice in the two island nations has helped level the electoral playing field. This report discusses the merits and challenges of the practice. It argues that implementation offers some useful lessons for cases where the abuse of incumbency is a threat to electoral processes.

About the author

Dr Andrews Atta-Asamoah is a Senior Research Fellow in the ISS Addis Ababa office. He has worked extensively on peace and security in Africa, including as a member of the UN’s Panel of Experts on South Sudan. Andrews has a PhD in political studies from the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Picture: Amelia Broodryk/ISS

Development partners
This report is funded by the government of Denmark. The ISS is also grateful for support from the members of the ISS Partnership Forum: the Hanns Seidel Foundation, the European Union and the governments of Canada, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the USA.
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