Challenges to Democracy in the 21st Century

The Quality of Democracy in Africa

Opposition Competitiveness Rooted in Legacies of Cleavages

Authors: van Eerd, Jonathan

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  • 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
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eBook $89.00
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-319-50838-2
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Hardcover $119.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-319-50837-5
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  • Covid-19 shipping restrictions & severe weather in the US may cause delays
  • Usually ready to be dispatched within 3 to 5 business days, if in stock
Softcover $119.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-319-84502-9
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Institutional customers should get in touch with their account manager
  • Covid-19 shipping restrictions & severe weather in the US may cause delays
  • Usually ready to be dispatched within 3 to 5 business days, if in stock
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.

About the authors

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.

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)

Table of contents (6 chapters)

Table of contents (6 chapters)
  • Introduction

    Pages 1-27

    van Eerd, Jonathan

  • The Conceptualization of Opposition Competitiveness and Its Significance for Dominant Party System Responsiveness

    Pages 29-60

    van Eerd, Jonathan

  • Explanations for Different Opposition Competitiveness Degrees in African Dominant Party Systems

    Pages 61-114

    van Eerd, Jonathan

  • Comparative Historical Explanation of Contemporary Opposition Competitiveness Degrees in Four Crucial Cases

    Pages 115-239

    van Eerd, Jonathan

  • Party System Responsiveness in Contemporary Botswana, Lesotho, Ghana and Mali

    Pages 241-254

    van Eerd, Jonathan

Buy this book

eBook $89.00
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-319-50838-2
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $119.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-319-50837-5
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Institutional customers should get in touch with their account manager
  • Covid-19 shipping restrictions & severe weather in the US may cause delays
  • Usually ready to be dispatched within 3 to 5 business days, if in stock
Softcover $119.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-319-84502-9
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Institutional customers should get in touch with their account manager
  • Covid-19 shipping restrictions & severe weather in the US may cause delays
  • Usually ready to be dispatched within 3 to 5 business days, if in stock
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
The Quality of Democracy in Africa
Book Subtitle
Opposition Competitiveness Rooted in Legacies of Cleavages
Authors
Series Title
Challenges to Democracy in the 21st Century
Copyright
2017
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-50838-2
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-50838-2
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-50837-5
Softcover ISBN
978-3-319-84502-9
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XXI, 272
Number of Illustrations
43 b/w illustrations
Topics