Crafting competitive party systems : electoral laws and the opposition in Africa
Title: Crafting competitive party systems : electoral laws and the opposition in Africa
Author: BOGAARDS, Matthijs
Citation: Democratization, 2000, Vol. 7, No. 4, pp. 163-190
ISSN: 1351-0347; 1743-890X
After the resurgence of democracy in the 1990s, as was the case after independence, dominant party systems are predominant in Africa. This has occurred irrespective of the particular electoral system used. Both scholars and practitioners have so far failed to appreciate the fact that not fragmentation but concentration of the party system is the main challenge and that a choice between proportional representation or a plurality electoral system will do little to change the fortunes of the majority party and the opposition. This article goes beyond the current debate by suggesting that opposition parties in Africa could be crafted through a minority premium, preferably in combination with a majority ceiling. Such electoral engineering would in the long‐term contribute to the emergence of a two‐party system, generally recognized as the environment most congenial to a strong parliamentary opposition. In the short-term, adoption of a minority premium would increase competitiveness.
Published online: 26 Sep 2007
Type of Access: openAccess
Initial version: http://hdl.handle.net/1814/10462
Version: Based on parts of the author’s EUI PhD thesis, 2000
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