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  • © 2017

The Quality of Democracy in Africa

Opposition Competitiveness Rooted in Legacies of Cleavages

Palgrave Macmillan
  • Explains the role of party systems on the quality of democracy and democratic consolidation in late third wave democratization processes

  • Offers an original explanation for the varying consequences of African dominant party systems for democratic consolidation

  • Includes statistical evidence from 19 African countries with dominant party systems and 55 elections overall

Part of the book series: Challenges to Democracy in the 21st Century (CDC)

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Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-319-50838-2
  • Instant PDF download
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  • Own it forever
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Softcover Book USD 119.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 119.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

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Table of contents (6 chapters)

About this book

This book shows that democratization in sub-Saharan Africa can be successful, even if the government remains dominated by one major political party. If an institutionalized and strong opposition party – even when too weak to take power – challenges the dominant government party, the quality of democracy improves substantially. The comparative study demonstrates that competitive opposition parties in dominant party systems are rooted in the historical legacy of political cleavages related to de-colonization that precede the third wave of democratization of the 1990s and have survived the instability of post-independence political developments to the present day. The study covers 19 African countries and 55 elections overall, including four in-depth case studies of Botswana, Lesotho, Ghana and Mali. It offers scholars and practitioners of electoral democracies and competitive authoritarian regimes a novel view on the role of party systems in processes of democratization. It makes an important contribution to the general literature on state building intertwined with democratization and representation in old and new democracies.

Keywords

  • democratization
  • democratisation
  • sub-Saharan African politics
  • comparative African politics
  • Botswana
  • Lesotho
  • Ghana
  • Mali
  • electoral democracies
  • party systems
  • state building
  • dominant party systems
  • democracy

Reviews

“In recent years, the functioning of political parties and party systems in Africa has received increasing research attention. The Quality of Democracy in Africa: Opposition Competitiveness Rooted in Legacies of Cleavages forms one of the latest contributions to this important research area. … For specialized scholars, the work provides interesting insights and sets the path for new avenues of research.” (Leila Demarest, Democratization, Vol. 25 (5), August, 2017)

“This important work demonstrates the role played by political opposition parties in increasing competitiveness within dominant party systems. Although focussed upon African political systems, it offers a rigorous analysis of what makes for a better quality of democracy which will resonate amongst all scholars of democratisation across the globe.” (Emeritus Professor Roger Southall, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa)

“Jonathan van Eerd has written a keenly informed and provocative analysis of the role that historically constructed party systems play in determining the prospects for democratic consolidation in Africa. His book will influence future debates on the topic.” (Professor Nicolas van de Walle, Cornell University, USA)

“This research shows that the democratizing power of elections in Africa to a large extent depends on the strength of the opposition. The novel argument helps explain why some dominant party systems in Africa are more democratic than others. A must-read for anyone interested in the factors that make democracy succeed in Africa and beyond.” (Professor Matthijs Bogaards, Central European University, Hungary)

“This book shows that democratization in sub-Saharan Africa can be successful, even if the government remains dominated by one major political party: If an institutionalized and strong opposition party – even when too weak to take power – challenges the dominant government party, the quality of democracy improves substantially. The comparative study demonstrates that competitive opposition parties in dominant party systems are rooted in the historical legacy of political cleavages related to de-colonization that precede the third wave of democratization of the 1990s and have survived the instability of post-independence political developments to the present day. The study covers 19 African countries and 55 elections overall, including four in-depth case studies of Botswana, Lesotho, Ghana and Mali. It offers scholars and practitioners of electoral democracies and competitive authoritarian regimes a novel view on the role of party systems in processes of democratization. It makes an important contribution to the general literature on state building intertwined with democratization and representation in old and new democracies.” (Jonathan van Eerd is Teaching Associate at the Department for Political Science, University of Zurich, Switzerland)

Authors and Affiliations

  • Institute of Political Science, University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland

    Jonathan van Eerd

About the author

Jonathan van Eerd is a political analyst specialized on Africa. He is a former senior research and teaching associate at the Department for Political Science, University of Zurich, Switzerland. His research and teaching focus on democratization processes and party systems. Jonathan was a visiting scholar at Cornell University, N.Y., with university affiliations in Botswana, Lesotho and Ghana.

Bibliographic Information

Buying options

eBook USD 89.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-319-50838-2
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book USD 119.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 119.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)