A major study on the impact of HIV/AIDS on southern Africa's electorate says the pandemic threatens to roll back democratic gains in much of the region.
Countries are facing the added burden of replacing representatives who die, many of them from AIDS-related illnesses.
The Institute for Democracy in South Africa (IDASA) report cites the example of Zambia, where 102 by-elections were held over an 18-year period, 59 of them due to death by disease.
Agence France-Presse quoted the co-author, Kondwani Chirambo, as saying: "The first-past-the-post electoral system, on which many southern African countries base elections, means that when an elected candidate resigns, gets expelled, or dies, a new by-election has to be held at great cost."
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