This panel aims at gathering theoretically-grounded perspectives on electoral politics and democratisation in different countries in South Asia focusing on (but not restricted to) electoral campaigns, voting behaviour and government-formation.
In 2013 and 2014, elections are scheduled in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and India, the most populous countries in South Asia. These elections will be a massive and momentous undertaking in each of the countries mentioned. India's election is the largest in the world. Pakistan has made the first transfer of power from an elected government to another after completing its full, five-year term. As such, the country has joined a number of post-colonial states that have made a transition to democracy. In Afghanistan, the first election without the supervision of ISAF forces will take place. In Bangladesh, it remains to be seen if the intensely confrontational politics among the two dominant political parties will allow for a legitimate and fair electoral contest. This panel will reflect on elections and the democratic transition through the application of new methodological approaches to understand the process of political change that is occurring in South Asia. A theoretical and comparative approach will reflect on the democratic transition of South Asian countries, to understand the different stages of this process. It will particularly examine elections in South Asia with the intention of producing comparative analyses of a) electoral campaigns, b) voting behaviour with special reference to identity politics and c) government formation. These themes are not exclusive but are merely indicative of the range of topics that will be explored.