Advertisement

Do Party Systems Make Democracy Work? A Comparative Test of Party-system Characteristics and Democratization in Francophone Africa

  • Matthias Basedau
  • Alexander Stroh

Abstract

According to the functionalist argument, party systems that show moderate fragmentation, high institutionalization and rather low polarization are more conducive to democracy than others. This hypothesis is systematically tested in four country cases in Francophone West Africa that share many historical, social and economic characteristics but differ in their level of democratization, thus providing an at least approximate most-similar-systems design that is best suited to isolating the impact of party-system characteristics. The employment of pertinent and innovative indicators for the three dimensions of party systems reveals that the central hypothesis must be rejected. At best, four indicators confirm the assumptions, while 13 show no relationship and five show inverse findings. The case with the most favourable fragmentation and institutionalization values, Niger, has in between experienced a substantial decline in democracy. The paper concludes that the link between party systems and democracy is, at least in Africa, less simple and straightforward than the literature suggests.

Keywords

Political Party Party System Opposition Parti Democratic Consolidation Seat Share 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Bibliography

  1. Ake, Claude (1996) Democracy and Development in Africa, Washington.Google Scholar
  2. Basedau, Matthias (2003) Erfolgsbedingungen von Demokratie im subsaharischen Afrika. Opladen.Google Scholar
  3. Basedau, Matthias (2007) ‘Do Party Systems Matter for Democracy?’ in Basedau, Matthias/Erdmann, Gero/Mehler, Andreas (eds.) Votes, Money and Violence. Political Parties and Elections in Africa, Uppsala, 105–143.Google Scholar
  4. Basedau, Matthias/Stroh, Alexander (2008) ‘Measuring Party Institutionalization in Developing Countries: A New Research Instrument Applied to 28 African Political Parties’, German Institute of Global and Area Studies Working Papers 69, Hamburg.Google Scholar
  5. Basedau, Matthias/Stroh, Alexander (2009) ‘Ethnicity and Party Systems in Francophone Sub-Sahara-Africa’, German Institute of Global and Area Studies Working Papers 100, Hamburg.Google Scholar
  6. Bendel, Petra (1996) Parteiensysteme in Zentralamerika. Erklärungsfaktoren und Typologien, Opladen.Google Scholar
  7. Bendel, Petra/Grotz, Florian (2001) ‘Parteiensysteme und Demokratisierung. Junge Demokratien in Afrika, Asien und Lateinamerika im Vergleich’, Nord-Süd-Aktuell 1: 70–80.Google Scholar
  8. Berg-Schlosser, Dirk (2008) ‘Determinants of Democratic Successes and Failures in Africa’, European Journal of Political Research 3: 269–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bogaards, Matthijs (2004) ‘Counting Parties and Identifying Dominant Party Systems in Africa’, European Journal of Political Research 2: 173–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bratton, Michael/Mattes, Robert/Gyimah-Boadi, Emmanuel (2005) Public Opinion, Democracy, and Market Reform in Africa, New York.Google Scholar
  11. Bratton, Michael/van de Walle, Nicolas (1997) Democratic Experiments in Africa: Regime Transitions in Comparative Perspective, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  12. Carey, Sabine C. (2002) ‘A Comparative Analysis of Political Parties in Kenya, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo’, Democratization 3: 53–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chabal, Patrick/Daloz, Jean-Pascal (1999) Africa Works. Disorder as Political Instrument. Oxford.Google Scholar
  14. Chandra, Kanchan (2005) ‘Ethnic Parties and Democratic Stability’, Perspectives on Politics 2: 235–252.Google Scholar
  15. Creevey, Lucy/Ngomo, Paul/Vengroff, Richard (2005) ‘Party Politics and Different Paths to Democratic Transitions. A Comparison of Benin and Senegal’, Party Politics 4: 471–493.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dahl, Robert A. (1971) Polyarchy. Participation and Opposition, New Haven/ London.Google Scholar
  17. Dahl, Robert A. (1998) On Democracy, New Haven/ London.Google Scholar
  18. Diamond, Larry (1999) Developing Democracy. Toward Consolidation, Baltimore.Google Scholar
  19. Diamond, Larry/Gunther, Richard (eds.) (2001) Political Parties and Democracy, Baltimore.Google Scholar
  20. Emminghaus, Christoph (2003) Politische Parteien im Demokratisierungsprozess. Struktur und Funktion afrikanischer Parteiensysteme, Opladen.Google Scholar
  21. Erdmann, Gero (2004) ‘Party Research: Western European Bias and the ’African Labyrinth‘’, Democratization 3: 63–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Erdmann, Gero/Basedau, Matthias (2008) ‘Party Systems in Africa: Problems of Categorizing and Explaining Political Party Systems’, Journal of Contemporary African Studies 3: 241–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Fomunyoh, Christopher (2001) ‘Francophone Africa in Flux. Democratization in Fits and Starts’, Journal of Democracy 3: 36–50.Google Scholar
  24. Grotz, Florian (2000) Politische Institutionen und post-sozialistische Parteiensysteme in Ostmitteleuropa, Opladen.Google Scholar
  25. Hermens, Ferndinand A. (1958) The Representative Republic, Notre Dame.Google Scholar
  26. Huntington, Samuel (1968) Political Order in Changing Societies, New Haven.Google Scholar
  27. Karvonen, Lauri (1993) Fragmentation and Consensus. Political Organization and the Interwar Crisis in Europe, Boulder.Google Scholar
  28. Karvonen, Lauri/Anckar, Carsten (2002) ‘Party Systems and Democratization: A Comparative Study of the Third World’, Democratization 3: 11–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Katz, Richard S. (1980) A Theory of Parties and Electoral Systems, Baltimore.Google Scholar
  30. Kuenzi, Michelle/Lambright, Gina (2005) ‘Party Systems and Democratic Consolidation in Africa's Electoral Regimes’, Party Politics 4: 423–446.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Laakso, Markku/Taagepera, Rein (1979) ‘Effective Number of Parties: A Measure with Applications to West Europe’, Comparative Political Studies 1: 3–27.Google Scholar
  32. Lindberg, Staffan (2007) ‘Institutionalization of party systems? Stability and fluidity among legislative parties in Africa's democracies’, Government and Opposition 2: 215–241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Linz, Juan J./Stepan, Alfred (1996) ‘Toward Consolidated Democracies’, Journal of Democracy 2: 14–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lipset, Seymour M. (2000) ‘The Indispensability of Political Parties’, Journal of Democracy 1: 48–55.Google Scholar
  35. Mainwaring, Scott/Scully, Timothy (1995) ‘Introduction: Party Systems in Latin America’ in Mainwaring, Scott/ Scully, Timothy (eds.) Building Democratic Institutions: Party Systems in Latin America, Stanford: 1–34.Google Scholar
  36. Manning, Carrie (2005) ‘Assessing African Party Systems After the Third Wave’, Party Politics 6: 707–727.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Merkel, Wolfgang (1999a) ‘Defekte Demokratien’ in Merkel, Wolfgang/Busch, Andreas (eds.) Demokratie in Ost und West, Frankfurt/Main: 361–381.Google Scholar
  38. Merkel, Wolfgang (1999b) Systemtransformation, Opladen.Google Scholar
  39. Monga, Celestin (1999) ‘Eight problems with African politics’, in Diamond, Lary/Plattner, Marc F. (eds.) Democratization in Africa, Baltimore: 48–62.Google Scholar
  40. NIMD (2004) Repertoire des partis politiques au Mali, Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy [NIMD].Google Scholar
  41. Nohlen, Dieter (2004) Wahlrecht und Parteiensystem, Opalden.Google Scholar
  42. Nohlen, Dieter/Krennerich, Michael/Thibaut, Bernhard (eds.) (1999) Elections in Africa. A Data Handbook, Oxford.Google Scholar
  43. Özbudun, Ergun (1981) ‘The Turkish Party System: Institutionalization, Polarization, and Fragmentation’, Middle Eastern Studies 2: 228–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Pedersen, Mogens N (1979) ‘The Dynamics of European Party Systems: Changing Patterns of Electoral Volatility’, European Journal of Political Research 1: 1–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Przeworski, Adam/Alvarez, Michael/Cheibub, José Antonio/Limongi, Fernando (2000) Democracy and Development. Political Institutions and Well-Being in the World, 1950–1990. Cambridge.Google Scholar
  46. Randall, Vicky (2005) ‘Political Parties and Social Structure in the Developing World’ in Katz, Richard S./Crotty, William (eds.) Handbook of Party Politics, London: 387–395.Google Scholar
  47. Randall, Vicky/Svåsand, Lars (2002) ‘Introduction: The Contribution of Parties to Democracy and Democratic Consolidation’, Democratization 3: 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Robert, David/Caspers, Anja (2010) ‘Rückschlag für die Demokratie in Niger. “Ziviler Staatsstreich” bringt absolute Macht für Präsident Tandja’, KAS Auslandsinformationen 1: 74–88.Google Scholar
  49. Sandbrook, Richard (1996) ‘Transitions without consolidation: democratization in six African cases’, Third World Quarterly 1: 69–87.Google Scholar
  50. Sani, Giacomo/Sartori, Giovanni (1983) ‘Polarization, Fragmentation and Competition in Western Democracies’ in Daalder, Hans/Mair, Peter (eds.) Western European Party Systems, Berverly Hills: 307–340.Google Scholar
  51. Sartori, Giovanni (1976) Parties and Party Systems: A Framework for Analysis, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  52. Sartori, Giovanni (1991) ‘Comparing and Miscomparing’, Journal of Theoretical Politics 3: 243–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Sartori, Giovanni (1994) ‘Compare Why and How. Comparing, Miscomparing and the Comparative Method’ in Dogan, Mattei/Kazancigil, Ali (eds.) Comparing Nations: Concepts, Strategies, Substance, Oxford: 14–34.Google Scholar
  54. Sartori, Giovanni (2005) ‘Party Types, Organisations and Functions’, West European Politics 1: 5–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Sartori, Giovanni (2005) [1976] Parties and Party Systems, Colchester.Google Scholar
  56. Schmitter, Philippe C. (1999) ‘Critical Reflections on the “Functions” of Political Parties and their Performance in Neo-Democracies’, in Merkel, Wolfgang/Busch, Andreas (eds.) Demokartie in Ost und West, Frankfurt/Main: 475–495.Google Scholar
  57. Schmitter, Philippe C./Karl, Terry L. (1991) ‘What Democracy is… and is not’, Journal of Democracy 3: 75–88.Google Scholar
  58. van de Walle, Nicolas (2003) ‘Presidentialism and Clientelism in Africa's Emerging Party Systems’, Journal of Modern African Studies 2: 297–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Warren, Mark E. (2000) Democracy and Association, Princeton.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften ist eine Marke von Springer Fachmedien 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthias Basedau
  • Alexander Stroh

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations