Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Presidentialism and clientelism in Africa's emerging party systems

  • Nicolas van de Walle (a1)
Abstract

This paper analyses the parties and party systems that have begun to emerge in sub-Saharan Africa's fledgling multiparty systems. Using a data base of 87 legislative elections convened in the 1990s, the paper identifies three trends. The position of parties late in the decade is primarily tributary of their performance in the first multiparty election conducted in the early 1990s. Parties that won founding elections are almost invariably still in power. Secondly, the typical emerging party system has consisted of a dominant party surrounded by a large number of small, unstable parties. Thirdly, party cleavages have been overwhelmingly ethno-linguistic in nature, while ideological and programmatic debates have been muted and rare. The second half of the paper provides tentative explanations for these striking patterns. It emphasises the illiberal nature of most of the new African democracies, their characteristic centralisation of power around the presidency, and the pervasive clientelism that structures the relationship between the state and the citizenry. These characteristics shape the incentives faced by individual politicians and thus much of their behaviour.

Copyright
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Journal of Modern African Studies
  • ISSN: 0022-278X
  • EISSN: 1469-7777
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-modern-african-studies
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 227 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 594 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 20th September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.