Publication | Report/Paper

IFES Equatorial Guinea Assessment Report, November 1997



In February 1996, the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES) sent a team of international observers to observe the February 25th Presidential elections. The election process in Equatorial Guinea was beset with numerous problems. The IFES observation report detailed these problems and made a number of recommendations for improvement in the election process in particular and the democratic process in general.   


In an effort to determine whether there had been any substantial improvement in the democratic conditions in the country and to assess whether there is any opportunity for the international community to assist the process of democratic consolidation, the IFES sent a two-member team to Equatorial Guinea in November 1997. The team consisted of Juan Rial, a political scientist from Uruguay with broad experience in democratic transitions in Latin America, and Joe Baxter, IFES' Senior Advisor for Election Administration, who has extensive experience in election administration in transitional democratic elections.   


The team spent one week in Malabo speaking with many people about the state of democracy in the country. Their conversations included interviews with officials of the top three political parties, government officials, journalists, representatives of the international community and others. The interviews covered the events leading up to the current political situation and also the prospects for the future of democracy in Equatorial Guinea. This report provides a summary of their findings.


While noting the lack of democratic space and the absolute dominance of political life by the ruling Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea in the country, the team found that there exists opportunities for the government, the political parties, and the international community to work together to increase the democratic space. The report begins with the recent political history of the country, discusses the 1996 Presidential election and the events following the election, and provides an overall assessment of the political situation in Equatorial Guinea today. Finally, the report provides the assessment team's recommendations for international assistance to the democratic process and opportunities for increasing the democratic space.  


Legislative elections are tentatively scheduled for September 1998. In those elections all 80 members of the National Assembly will be elected. Prior to those elections a new electoral census (voter registration) will be conducted, These two events represent the major milestones in Equatorial Guinea's electoral calendar in 1998.


Read the Full Report.