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date: 18 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

A large body of research examines questions relating to the quality of Nigeria’s elections, focusing on the mechanisms of fraud, the likelihood of violence, or the virtues of administrative reform. After briefly summarizing these issues, this chapter focuses on important reforms contained in a 2010 electoral reform law, such as new rules pertaining to party primaries and requirements to post electoral results at the polling unit level. It then asks why these reforms passed. Most explanations focus on the change of leadership in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). However, the chapter points to reform-minded coalitions in the National Assembly that emerged during presidential leadership crises in 2006 and 2010, as well as important shifts within civil society that increased INEC’s operational latitude and provided political “cover” from partisan interference. The complementary convergence of a coalition for reform inside government and a constituency for reform outside government, were critical to the successful conduct of the 2011 and 2015 elections.

Keywords: constituency, institutions, violence, presidency, electoral reforms, legitimacy, political parties, elections, electronic voting, civil society

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