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The Likelihood of Failure

Although a boycott strategy worked in the South African example, the evidence shows that such successes are exceedingly rare. A 2010 study by Matthew Frankel of the Brookings Institution found that boycotts paid off in just 4 percent of the 171 cases examined between 1990 and 2009. Frankel concluded that the threat of a boycott can be effective when there is strong domestic and international pressure to ensure that elections are fully representative, but that in most circumstances the strategy will backfire.

The consequences of a boycott are especially dire when the opposition is incapable of actually blocking the elections from proceeding, either through crippling street protests or rules requiring a certain turnout for the vote to be valid. For example, in Venezuela’s 2005 legislative elections, an opposition boycott—motivated in part by concerns about ballot secrecy—helped reduce the turnout rate to just 25 percent, but progovernment lawmakers then monopolized the new National Assembly and helped President Hugo Chávez push through radical policy initiatives. By contrast, high opposition participation in a 2007 constitutional referendum helped defeat a controversial package of amendments sought by Chávez, including the removal of presidential term limits.

Another weakness of the boycott strategy is that it allows the opposition’s campaign machinery to go idle and corrode, making it all the more difficult to reactivate for the next cycle of elections. For example, in Iraq’s January 2005 elections, a concerted Sunni boycott amounted to a “strategic blunder,” according to Frankel, because Sunnis won only 5 of 275 parliamentary seats. In the short term, this meant that Sunnis relinquished their veto power during the drafting process for a new constitution. But in the longer term, the groups that boycotted had to redouble their efforts to mobilize their voter base and win representation in the December 2005 elections.

More recent cases reinforce Frankel’s finding that boycotts are almost always counterproductive. In March 2014, Libya’s ethnic Amazigh minority decided to boycott elections for a 60-seat Constituent Assembly, leaving the two seats designated for the Amazigh empty and the community itself without a voice in the drafting of a new constitution.

Likewise, in Algeria’s April 2014 presidential vote, six parties boycotted because they feared that vote tampering would guarantee the incumbent’s victory. In a self-fulfilling prophecy, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika easily won a fourth term.

Frankel’s study and the recent cases show that executing an election boycott does not force the ruling party from power, and in the absence of serious negotiations as well as strong societal and international pressure, the threat of a boycott is unlikely to win concessions from the government. Instead, such tactics tend to encourage apathy and resignation among opposition voters. In the cases listed above, it would have been better for opposition or minority groups to invest their energy in organizing an election campaign, mobilizing their supporters, building up their political prowess for future contests, and making any fraud or repression by the authorities that much more difficult and obvious to the world.

By
Mehrunisa Qayyum
www.freedom house.org

Comments

  1. Gill boycotts for one reason only. He knows he will get no votes eventhough through his blog he leads people to believe that he is the only one that can lead the opposition.

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  2. None opposition on the island can lead?They full of shit and crap like PP.

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  3. Excellent piece!
    Let us ffacetthefacts.A BBOYCOTTiisa double ~eedgesword.....On one hand,a boycott sounds like an admmussion to defeat :~it was the case,when the opposition failed to unite and could not ecite a large portion of Seychellois Since they could not do the above,and their failure to articulate their ideas,because of the widespread lethargy,..the boycott was a short temporary show of dellusion.In other words,a boycott is not a pipe dream,Seychellois did not want to jump into a sinking ship,whereby crew members could not agreed on who would be thecCommander and common route to follow.Disunited Ram,Gill,Volcere also Failed shamelessly to provide convincing answer to the burning question“to vote or not to vote though each one in their coner,were calling for a boycott.
    Moreover,when political parties decided to throw themselves into a Boycott,the boycott must often be accompanied by other measures(e.g,protests etc..) to have a chance of succeeding,which is aimed at hindering the ruling party from governing or into concession.

    The 2012 election boycott impact was minor,.it impacted only upon the legitimacy ,but not the final result.It was a short temporary statement,which pl could easily manage,ignore and was allow to win without competition,while the opposition was kept aside the Assembly and ended literally in the shadow of pl.

    However,i must confessed that there was also some minor positive effects as a result ofvthe boycott.For instance,pl delegitimized itself further,by creating a fake party and incarnated by fake oposition leader Pierre,in an attenpt to create fakeblegitimacy by pl,in order to sale to the international community,foreign donors,etc..
    The boycott did test the EC,which accepted to review the procedures.Ram,Volcere,Gill attended meetings organized by Gappy,but as always,their disunity ended by creating No inportant reforms at all.
    On the other hand,an election Boycott can be effective~~:The most recent election in Nepal is a good example~~All opposition parties allied and called for a boycott.As result,all International players in Nepal(USA,Britain,India,EU),even Japanese,who are usually careful in its public statements,denouced the election as being hollow exercise.Sanctions followed.

    follow up below........


    !

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  4. As,we can see,the problem with boycott lies in determining at what point an election are being voilated to such extent that a boycott isvjutified,and how modilized,organized,galvanized....oposition parties stragegies are.Even when justified,it must be considered as last resort.
    Was it a last resort in 2012 boycott+No,why?oposition failed on all other options..these are unity of opposition,common strategy,common leader,and thecfailure to mobilized the street seychellois behind them

    It is true,that Seychellois have locked horns with the ruling party.And reposing faith in the electoral system is seen by many as rejection of the system.We agree that past elections have not been“about people rule“,but about ruling people Hence that is why we equally donot also expect a completely free and fair in a police state disguises as hydrid dictatorship ,whereby election is hold as windowing to please foreign donors.

    If elrction is rigged in the past to avoid demoncractic rights,the answer should
    have been and should be mobilizing heavy turnout and not boycott.But be it boycott or participating the disunity in the opposition is so devastating that it would as zhe 2012 boycott,created medoic result.

    Jeanne D!Arc

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  5. Victory in elections you need unity. Victory for boycotts you need unity too. But Seychellois have no balls for unity in neither elections nor boycotts. From top to bottom they are hopelessly weak, they crumble in the face of corruption for they lack principles. Look at the politicians on the scene today, they are all Jhudas, corrupted, and have no guided principles. Pierre played the fake opposition, Mancham professed no 'lanver- bon coter' and Ramkalawan a paid loser. The biggest culprits of them all are those who advocate boycott knowing that PL will stay in power. By Jove give PL a run for its money although it wins by hook or by crook. The big powers do not give a damn about little Seychelles boycotts as long as there has been an election. Boycotts are for lazy cowards who want to hide their weaknesses or afraid to expose their public support.

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  6. Right!!!If a party wants a change to win,,either seats in the Assenbly or even win office,it has to particioate in elections.If a party wants to boycott frauds of an election and even accompany its by post~election protests in order to force ruling party to concessions,it must participate.Without participation you can not prove the frauds,and without proof of fruads ,it is unlikely that people will follow a boycott or protest.

    The truth is,the dictatorian incumbent is more likely to suffer defeat in an electoral dictatorship,when emancipative values have become more widespread.Electoral protest against fruadulent elections is more likely,when emancipative values have become widespread.
    Different circumstance can give a persistence advatage to the opposition,in elrction.: for instance zhe election maybe strongly ideological etc....when emancipative values grow strong,autocratic power appears increasingly illegitimate in peoole!s eyes,which often,motivate subsersive mass actions against the ruling authority.

    Now,let us look at the changes of opposition grabbing some seats in the Assenbly in 2015,'The probably is assure,since pl electoral dictatorship wants some level of democratic legitimacy....it has no intention of frauding elections by astronomic winning margin of 99.99%, .Pl will by a smaller marhin to allow opposition of having some seats in the Assenbly ,thereby asure the legitimacy it wants,i. Order to sale it to the international community...this asure that pl keeps getting foreign loans,avoid sanctions,make pl internationally acceptable.
    The opposition can use their own legitimacy to buildvthese kinds of international recognition it needs,by more visible both locally and internationality by representing themselves in international opposition forum..to share ideas,strategies, developcommon international pressure strategies to pressure ruling regime,etc..etc....

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  7. In the land of the free and the home of the brave - we protest when there is an issue and want the Government to act or the world to note. Protests work better than Boycotts. Only the brave and fearless take to the streets, those with no balls stay home and wait for crumbs from PL.

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  8. Pl ahs unilaterally dicied that it would introduce civilains without law knowledge to be jurors in court...and that under no constitutional approval or what so ever.

    It is not civilains as jurors who would make a Knagaroo court be inpartial,and the failures of a crooked justice system cannot be disguise under the veil of CIVILAN JURORS:

    moreover,such things exist in other counries like USA etc.. and such civilian jurors are involved only in civil cases.....only small minor case between indivuals
    .No criminal case should have the present of civilian jurors involve.

    I think,our justice has much more to do than wasting time forming Civilan juroros without law knowledge for instance making our judicial system indepenedent and foreign free,etc...
    The problem of having cvilan jurrors in voling in field that they are ignorance in ...will further rape justice......create partisanship......use as means for corruption......What citicens can do instead..be active observers,,participating in refroming the system...but not a literally being judges...being judge is a profession that needs long study in law and you cannot take a street fruit seller and asks hi to be judge.....just as you would not ask a Diver to be a pilot,or a cook to play the role of astronaut etc......

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  9. Can election end Pl rule?The answer ,the Sri Lankans have provided us with.YES.All is neede is organized untied Opposition.....unveiling Pl crimes Like Sri Lankan Oppostion did..and lots of professional None African Electoral Observers and mass mobilization.If Rome, can not see that is because he has premeditatingly decided to be blinded.

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  10. We asking Gill this time around to exercise his civic duty ..by registering himself and go to vote in2016.Why you should Voe TOTOF....because everybody has an opinion and you should value this opportunity to give your opinion as citizen.Citizens complain about the world around them...so go cast your vote to help make that change Gill.
    Exercise one of your right as citizen Gill....we agree many of our rights are limited but Voting is a right that you can exercise under Pl...go exercise one of your basic rights as citizen ..go cast your vote.
    You might have a thousands reasons why you not participating or should not participating...but voting is your/ours first responsibility to protect the process itself,and that does not happens by removing your participation.As messy as it may be ,your/our pariticpation is required.
    One of the most commonly-held limiting beliefs that serves to obstruct our access to living a powerful ,creative and satisfacting life is the unconsciously-held belief one does not matter.

    Happy Voting in 2016 Gill.Cast your vote not for change by participating Totof.Stop being a coward Totof:

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  11. OIL SPELLING AGAIN IN OUR SEA SOUTH MAHE ITS NOT THE FIRST TIME.WHEN MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT WILL TAKE ACTION?There is a law in place why is not working?

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  12. Pl tells us its monitoring it..what is there to.monitor when the spilling has already contaminated mangrooves,mares......should pl already have a party of workers removing the oil instead?Pl seems to know the origine of the oil.What would proffessionals in a well organised society do in this,case?experts would have taken sample from spilled oil in the mangroves,and another sample of oil from the supposed or alledged boat which cause the spill,bring the samples in a LAB,and within hours they would have traced the DNA,if u will,of the two sample,match them,to see if they the same type from the same origine etc.. Pl does not have either rxperts nor equipments,just as we donot have a good morderm Marine Firebrigade,well equipped,though the large EZz and increase of ships in our port and waters.

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