Introduction: Party Proliferation and Its Consequences in Senegal and Beyond

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


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.


  1. Abdrahman, Irdjima. 2001. Le phénomène de la proliferation de partis politiques en Afrique. Session Ordinaire, Commission des Affaires Parlémentaires. Parléments et francophonie 112: 271–275.Google Scholar
  2. Africa Confidential. 2014. Malawi: Clash of the Dynasties, 55:10, May 14.
  3. AfriMAP. 2009. Mozambique: Democracy and Political Participation. Johannesburg: Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa.Google Scholar
  4. Aldrich, John. 1995. Why Parties? The Origins and Transformation of Party Politics in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Arriola, Leonardo. 2012. Multiethnic Coalitions in Africa. Business Financing of Opposition Election Campaigns. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Beber, Berndt, and Alexandra Scacco. 2012. What the Numbers Say: A Digit-Based Test for Election Fraud. Political Analysis 20: 211–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Beck, Linda. 2008. Brokering Democracy in Africa. The Rise of Clientelist Democracy in Senegal. London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Benin Ministry of Interior. 2007. Annexe II: Liste des partis politiques régulièrement enregistrés à la date du 14 juin 2007 au Bénin. In Bénin: Démocratie et la participation à la vie politique. Une évaluation de 20 ans de ‘Renouveau démocratique’, ed. Gilles Badet, 189–195. Dakar: Open Society Initiative for West Africa.Google Scholar
  9. Bogaards, Matthijs. 2004. Counting Parties and Identifying Dominant Party Systems in Africa. European Journal of Political Research 43 (2): 173–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. ———. 2014. Electoral Alliances in Africa: What Do We Know, What Can We Do? Journal of African Elections 13: 25–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bratton, Michael, and Nicolas Van de Walle. 1997. Democratic Experiments in Africa. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Camara, Bakary. 2012. Le processus démocratique et la performance économique au Mali depuis 1991. Revue internationale de droit africain EDJA 94:3, Dakar.Google Scholar
  13. Center for Multiparty Democracy—Kenya (CMD). 2012. Registered Political Parties in Kenya: June 2012.
  14. Centre pour la Gouvernance Démocratique (CGD-IGD). 2009. Partis et système de partis politiques au Burkina Faso. Ouagadougou.Google Scholar
  15. Cheeseman, Nic. 2010. African Elections as Vehicles for Change. Journal of Democracy 21 (4): 139–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dahl, Robert. 1971. Polyarchy: Participation and Opposition. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Dahou, Tarik, and Vincent Foucher. 2009. Senegal Since 2000: Rebuilding Hegemony in a Global Age. In Turning Points in African Democracy, ed. Abdul Raufu Mustafa and Lindsay Whitfield, 13–30. London: James Currey.Google Scholar
  18. Diatta, Jean-Michel. 2018. Prolifération des partis politiques: Abdoulaye Wade et Macky Sall passifs. April 11.
  19. Diop, Omar. 2006. Partis politiques et processus de transition démocratique en Afrique noire. Paris: Publibook.Google Scholar
  20. ———. 2011. Partis politiques, démocratie et réalités sociales au Sénégal. Essai critique pour une étude réaliste du multipartisme. Paris: Karthala.Google Scholar
  21. ———. 2013. L’opposition sous la présidence d’Abdoulaye Wade. Entre regroupements, cooptation et répression. In Le Sénégal sous Abdoulaye Wade. Le sopi à l’épreuve du pouvoir, ed. Momar-Coumba Diop and Mamadou Diouf. Paris: Karthala.Google Scholar
  22. Doorenspleet, Renske, and Lia Nijzink, eds. 2013. One-Party Dominance and African Party Dominance. Boulder: Lynne Rienner.Google Scholar
  23. Downs, Anthony. 1957. An Economic Theory of Democracy. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  24. Duverger, Maurice. 1963. Political Parties. Their Organization and Activity in the Modern State. Trans. Barabara and Robert North. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  25. Fall, Ismaila Madior. 2011. Senegal. In Election Management Bodies in West Africa, ed. Mathias Hounkpé Fall, Adele Jinadu, and Pascal Kambale, 162–208. Dakar: Open Society Foundations.Google Scholar
  26. Gazibo, Mamadou. 2006. Pour une réhabilitation de l’analyse des partis politiques en Afrique. Politique Africaine 104: 5–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Gellar, Sheldon. 2005. Democracy in Senegal. Tocquevillean Analytics in Africa. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gerring, John. 2007. Case Study Research. Principles and Practices. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Grzymala-Busse, Anna. 2007. Rebuilding Leviathan. Party Competition and State Exploitation in Post-Communist Democracies. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Guèye, Sémou Pathé. 2003. Du bon usage de la démocratie en Afrique. Contribution à une éthique et à une pédagogie du pluralisme. Dakar: Nouvelles Editions Africaines du Sénégal.Google Scholar
  31. Havard, Jean-François. 2004. Gouvernement de l’alternance et la liberté d’expression des médias au Sénégal. Politique Africaine 96: 22–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hirschman, Albert. 1970. Exit, Voice, and Loyalty. Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations, and States. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Investir en zone franc. n.d. Liste des partis politiques legalisés du Cameroun.
  34. Kanté, Babacar. 1994. Senegal’s Empty Elections. Journal of Democracy 5 (1): 96–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kelly, Catherine. 2012. Senegal: What Will Turnover Bring? Journal of Democracy 23 (2): 121–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Key, V.O. 1964. Politics, Parties, and Pressure Groups. 5th ed. New York: Thomas Crowell Company.Google Scholar
  37. Kuenzi, Michelle, and Gina Lambright. 2001. Party System Institutionalization in 30 African Countries. Party Politics 7 (4): 437–468.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Laasko, Markku, and Rein Taagepera. 1979. ‘Effective’ Number of Parties: A Measure with Application to Western Europe. Comparative Political Studies 12 (1): 3–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. LeBas, Adrienne. 2011. From Protest to Parties. Party-Building and Democratization in Africa. London: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Levitsky, Steven, and Lucan Way. 2010a. Why Democracy Needs a Level Playing Field. Journal of Democracy 21 (1): 57–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. ———. 2010b. Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes After the Cold War. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Lipset, Seymour Martin. 2000. The Indispensability of Political Parties. Journal of Democracy 11 (1): 48–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Loum, Ndiaga. 2013. Les médias sous Abdoulaye Wade: entre contrôle et défiance. In Le Sénégal sous Abdoulaye Wade: entre le Sopi et le pouvoir, ed. Momar-Coumba Diop, 591–625. Paris: Karthala.Google Scholar
  44. Mac Giollabhuí, Shane. 2011. How Things Fall Apart: Candidate Selection and the Cohesion of Dominant Parties in South Africa and Namibia. Party Politics 19 (4): 577–600.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Madagascar Ministry of Interior. 2014. Liste de partis et organisations légalement constitués à Madagascar.
  46. Mainwaring, Scott. 2003. Party Objectives in Authoritarian Regimes with Elections or Fragile Democracies: A Dual Game. In Christian Democracy in Latin America: Electoral Competition and Regime Conflicts, ed. Scott Mainwaring and Timothy Scully, 3–29. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  47. Mainwaring, Scott, and Timothy Scully, eds. 1995. Building Democratic Institutions: Party Systems in Latin America. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  48. Mali Ministère de l’Administration Territoriale et des Collectivités Locales (MATCL). 2011. Répertoire des Partis Politiques. Bamako.
  49. Manning, Carrie. 2005. African Party Systems After the Third Wave. Party Politics 11 (6): 707–727.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Mbow, Penda. 2008. Senegal: The Return of Personalism. Journal of Democracy 19 (1): 156–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Nyamnjoh, Francis. 2005. Africa’s Media, Democracy, and the Politics of Belonging. Chicago: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  52. Resnick, Danielle. 2013. Continuity and Change in Senegalese Party Politics: Lessons from the 2012 Elections. African Affairs 112 (449): 623–645.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Reuter, Ora John, and Jennifer Gandhi. 2010. Economic Performance and Elite Defection from Hegemonic Parties. British Journal of Political Science 41 (1): 83–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Riedl, Rachel. 2014. Authoritarian Origins of Democratic Party Systems in Africa. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Riedl, Rachel, and Noam Lupu. 2013. Political Parties and Uncertainty in Developing Democracies. Comparative Political Studies 46 (11): 1339–1365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Schattschneider, E.E. 1942. Party Government: American Government in Action. New York: Farrar and Rinehart.Google Scholar
  57. Shefter, Martin. 1977. Party and Patronage: Germany, England, and Italy. Politics and Society 7: 403–451.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Sidibé, Oumar. 2015. Mali: Multipartisme intégral: déjà 176 partis politiques au Mali.
  59. Stepan, Alfred. 2007. Democratic Opposition and Democratization Theory. Government and Opposition 32 (4): 657–678: 662.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Sud Quotidien. 2015. Prolifération de formations politiques au Sénégal: les recettes des acteurs politiques. May 19.
  61. Svasand, Lars. 2014. Regulation of Political Parties and Party Functions in Malawi: Incentive Structures and the Selective Application of the Rules. International Political Science Review 34 (3): 275–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Tandé, Dibussi. 2009. Scribbles from the Den. Essays on Politics and Collective Memory in Cameroon. Bamenda: African Books Collective.Google Scholar
  63. United Nations Development Programme. 2003. Third Kenya Human Development Report. New York: UNDP.Google Scholar
  64. Van de Walle, Nicolas. 2006. Tipping Games: When do Opposition Parties Coalesce? In Electoral Authoritarianism. The Dynamics of Unfree Competition, ed. Andreas Schedler, 105–127. Boulder: Lynne Rienner.Google Scholar
  65. ———. 2007. Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss? The Evolution of Political Clientelism in Africa. In Patrons, Clients, and Policies: Patterns of Democratic Accountability and Political Competition, ed. Herbert Kitschelt and Steven Wilkinson. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  66. Van de Walle, Nicolas, and Kimberly Smiddy Butler. 1999. Political Parties and Party Systems in Africa’s Emerging Democracies. Cambridge Review of International Affairs 13 (1): 14–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Villalón, Leonardo. 1994. Democratizing a (Quasi)Democracy: The Senegalese Elections of 1993. African Affairs 93 (371): 163–193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Villalón, Leonardo, and Ousmane Kane. 1998. Senegal: The Crisis of Democracy and the Emergence of an Islamic Opposition. In The African State at a Critical Juncture: Between Disintegration and Reconfiguration, ed. Leonardo Villalón and Phillip Huxtable, 143–166. Boulder: Lynne Rienner.Google Scholar
  69. Wahman, Michael. 2014. Democratization and Electoral Turnovers in Sub-Saharan Africa and Beyond. Democratization 21 (2): 220–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Way, Lucan. 2005. Kuchma’s Failed Authoritarianism. Journal of Democracy 16 (2): 131–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

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

Personalised recommendations