This two-volume work constitutes the second instalment in the series of election data handbooks published by Oxford University Press. Two years after the apparition of the first title, Elections in Africa, we now present the first-ever compendium of electoral data for all the states in Asia and the Pacific, since their independence to the present day. The fourth volume, covering national elections on the American continent, is currently underway, and a final work dedicated to Europe will close the series of Elections Worldwide.
The basic idea of these handbooks—a systematic and historically complete documentation of elections in all the countries of the world—is almost 40 years old. It was born in the early 1960s, when Dolf Sternberger and Bernhard Vogel embarked on a voluminous research project at the Institute for Political Science at the University of Heidelberg (Germany), on 'The Election of Parliaments and other State Organs'. Since then Heidelberg has been witness to several projects on elections and electoral systems, including empirical and theoretical publications covering all world regions. The first major data-oriented publication was Die Wahl der Parlamente (1969), which recorded and analyzed the national elections in all European countries. In 1978 a second voluminous work on Africa was published under the subtitle Politische Organisation und Repräsentation in Afrika. In the late 1980s a multinational research team directed by Dieter Nohlen began working on parliamentary and presidential elections in Latin America and the Caribbean. The main result concerning electoral data was published in 1993 in German (Handbuch der Wahldaten Lateinamerikas und der Karibik) and in Spanish (Enciclopedia Electoral Latinoamericana y del Caribe). A new project on 'Elections and Democratization in Africa and Latin America', begun in 1996, provided the perfect framework to revive the old idea of a worldwide compendium of electoral data handbooks. This path led us to Elections in Africa, edited by Dieter Nohlen, Michael Krennerich, and Bernhard Thibaut, yet it did not end there, but continued to Asia and the Pacific. This latter work was by far the most challenging part of this handbook series, since Asia and the Pacific were the only world regions for which we could not rely on a preceding 'Heidelberg product'.
For this reason, we are especially grateful to those individuals and organizations without whose support it would have been impossible to