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Introduction: Party Proliferation and Its Consequences in Senegal and Beyond

  • Catherine Lena Kelly
Chapter
Part of the Contemporary African Political Economy book series (CONTAPE)

Abstract

The introduction describes the proliferation of registered political parties in sub-Saharan Africa, a pattern that began with post-Cold War transitions to multiparty politics. In some countries, proliferation persists over 30 years after these transitions, defying theories expecting parties performing poorly in initial elections to disappear or fuse with more successful parties in subsequent contests. Senegal stands out as a “least-likely” case of proliferation, worthy of further analysis, because it shifted to multipartism a decade earlier than many counterparts even though party proliferation is ongoing. After reviewing the concerns that African scholars, pundits, and policymakers have expressed about party proliferation and its consequences for democracy and governance, the introduction outlines each chapter of the book. It summarizes how the book analyzes the sources of party proliferation formation in Senegal, along with three related issues: the paucity of parties that consistently oppose any given incumbent; the tendency for ex-regime insiders instead of regime outsiders to be the president’s foremost electoral competitors; and the linkage between party creation and elite defection from existing parties. The introduction also references the book’s empirically rich data, derived from hundreds of interviews in French and Wolof, as well as archival research, personal papers, locally written biographies, and local newspapers.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine Lena Kelly
    • 1
  1. 1.American Bar Association Rule of Law InitiativeWashington, DCUSA

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