This paper is on election observation and its political impact in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. It seeks to make a connection between election observation, the importance of political reforms and the declining levels of electoral violence. It argues that extensive election observation and the elaborate reportage that it produces has the potential in the short term, to lead to extensive electoral reforms and in the long run to lower electoral violence in countries that experience it. It also argues that electoral violence is most likely when a long time ruling party faces electoral defeat and that during such times, it is most difficult for parties to agree on and implement electoral reforms and hence extensive election observation is most needed.
Key words: Election observation, political impact, election observation, electoral reforms, electoral violence.
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