Kick-off Workshop: Parliaments and Democracy in Africa (IFG 2)
From 18 to 20 March 2018, the workshop ‘Parliaments and Democracy’ took place in Dakar. It brought together three types of scholars: members of the “Do legislatures enhance democracy in Africa?” Project Group, future fellows of the second MIASA Interdisciplinary Fellow Group on ‘Parliaments and Democracy’, and other scholars working on legislatures, political parties, and democratization. Participants came from all over the world, about half of them were African scholars. The mix between junior and senior scholars, ranging from early PhD students to full professors, guaranteed the inclusion of diverse voices.
From the beginning to end, all debates were lively and productive. The format gave future fellows an opportunity to present their MIASA research proposals and receive valuable feedback from the audience. In addition, established and younger scholars presented papers and work in progress. Participants gained insights into a number of different topics, such as public opinion towards elected officials, candidate selection and nomination processes, opposition politics in authoritarian regimes and dominant party systems, cabinet formation, elections campaigns and parliamentary debates, and many more. The workshop helped to map the field of African legislative studies and drew attention to existing gaps in research. It also gave scholars the opportunity to link up with their peers and discuss possible future collaborations.