The practice of recalling elected representatives during their term of office is both topical and controversial within the context of democratic governance across the globe. On the one hand, recall can be an instrument to ensure adequate representation of the elected, but on the other hand, it can be weaponised to undermine democratic representation.
The recall is a direct democracy procedure that allows the appropriate authority and/or a specified number of citizens to demand a vote for the electorate on whether an elected holder of public office should be removed from that office before the end of his or her term. The recall occurs when an elected person is withdrawn from office, triggered by their political party or the electorate. There are several reasons why an elected representative may be recalled from office. It could be because the elected representative has ceased to be a member of the political party on whose ticket s/he was elected into office.
International IDEA, in partnership with Electoral Resource Centre Africa and Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) West Africa, will convene a virtual dialogue on Recall Mechanisms and the Impact on Representation in African Legislatures on 21 October 2020. The dialogue is aimed at creating a platform for reflection on comparative experiences and legislative provisions for recall of parliamentarians and the impact on representation across Africa. As an outcome, the dialogue session is expected to enrich the Discussion Paper on the topic.
Objectives of the Virtual Dialogue
- create a platform for reflection on comparative recall provisions and how they are applied in selected countries across Africa;
- assess recall provisions of selected countries against regional and continental instruments on democracy elections and human rights;
- identify the strengths and weaknesses of the recall models in selected African countries and how they impact on representation in Africa legislatures;
- amplify the discourse on the topic with a view of enhancing traction towards legislative reforms to enhance representation in African legislatures; and
- proffer policy recommendations on how to balance the objectives of recall provisions and the interests of the electorate, elected representatives and political parties within a democratic system.
The virtual dialogue is expected to outline comparative experiences and legislative provisions of recalling parliamentarians across Africa. The dialogue aims to allow for robust and open exchange of experiences and proffer policy recommendations on recall of parliamentarians that will enrich a discussion paper on the same topic.
The virtual dialogue will bring together representatives of national parliaments from Ethiopia, Gambia, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Parliamentary and electoral experts from across the region will also participate at the dialogue session.