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One-Party Dominant Party Systems in Africa


Short description of this research:


OPD 1. Patterns of One-Party Dominance in African Democracies: How One-Party Dominant Systems Endure and Decline

This project discusses theories, concepts and measurements of one-party dominance and their application in the context of Africa’s young democracies. It brings together a number of leading experts from both European and African research institutions to discuss Africa’s one-party dominant systems, describe current patterns of dominance on the continent and explain how one-party dominant systems endure and decline. Six experts present new knowledge about party system developments in Mali, Namibia, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia, while three other experts enrich our knowledge by providing a comparative framework for analysis and drawing comparative conclusions based on the findings of the country chapters. This project presents new research on a theme that is increasingly relevant to the policy goal of developing and deepening democracy on the African continent. See e.g. ‘Why Some One-Party Dominant Systems Endure and Others Not’, co-edited book with Lia Nijzink, to be published by Lynne Rienner in 2013


OPD 2. Party Politics and Democracy in Africa: One-Party Dominance Reconsidered

This project constitutes an in-depth and systematic analysis of different party system configurations in Sub-Saharan Africa. In particular, it examines the way in which party systems with one dominant political party contribute or pose a threat to the development of democracy on the continent. It brings together a number of leading experts from both European and African research institutions. The project includes African countries with different party system configurations in order to get a full picture of party systems in African democracies. An examination of the experiences in a fragmented party system (Benin), a two-party system (Ghana) and a system in which one-party dominance has come to an end (Zambia) will provide valuable insights into the broader question of party systems and their implications for the development of democracy on the continent. It will also explore to what extent there are general trends and overarching conclusions on how one-party dominant systems contribute or threaten the development of democracy in Sub-Saharan Africa.


Edited book projects based on this research:


- OPD1: ‘Why Some One-Party Dominant Systems Endure and Others Not’, co-edited book with Lia Nijzink, to be published by Lynne Rienner in 2013
- OPD2: ‘Political Parties, Party Systems and Democracy in Africa’, co-edited book with Lia Nijzink, to be published by Palgrave in 2013


Book chapter and paper based on this research:


- Paper on elections and one-party dominance in African democracies, in magazine ‘New Routes’ 2012, with Lia Nijzink, click here for the article

- book chapter ‘Political Parties, Party Systems and Democracy in Sub-Saharan Africa’, in: Salih, M. O. (ed.) African Political Parties: Evolution, Institutionalisation and Governance, London: Pinto, 2003


Conference papers based on this research:


- ‘Dominant One-Party Systems in African Democracies: Theoretical and Empirical Explanations’, paper presented at Panel ‘Elections and the Transformation from One-Party Rule’, IPSA, Sao Paulo, Brazil, February 18, 2011, click here for the paper

- ‘One-party dominance in Africa’, paper presented at international workshop on one-party dominance, CSD and PaIS, Warwick University, September 2011

- ‘Explaining one-party dominance in Africa’, paper presented at international workshop on one-party dominance, CSD and School of Law, Warwick University, September 2010


Work-in-Progress-Papers based on this research:


- ‘Why Some One-Party Dominant Systems Endure and Others Not’ with Lia Nijzink
- Paper on consequences One-Party Dominant Systems, to be presented in Amsterdam, the Netherlands (June 2012) and Leeds, UK (September 2012)
- Paper on concepts One-Party Dominant Systems, to be presented in Bergen, Norway (June 2012)


Workshops on this research:


- 2011 Workshop ‘Party Systems and the Future of Democracy in Sub-Saharan Africa’, at Warwick University, September 2011, with around 40 invited scholars from e.g. the UK, Sweden, Norway, Germany, South Africa, Botswana, and USA from disciplines of Law and Politics. The collection of papers will be edited and is to be published by Palgrave

- 2010 Workshop ‘Parties in Africa’, organization with Lia Nijzink (Cape Town, South Africa), at Warwick University, September 2010, with around 40 invited scholars from the UK, Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, South Africa, Zambia, and Tanzania, from disciplines of Law and Politics. Selection of edited papers is under review with international publisher


Funding related to this research:


- 2007-2010 Participant in Project ‘Implementing constitutional choices: enhancing accountable government on the African continent’. The Centre for Studies in Democratization (University of Warwick, UK) is ‘northern’ partner. School of Law (University Cape Town , South Africa) is lead partner in the ‘south’, with School of Law (Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania)  British Council-funded project

- CARP Funding from PaIS to fund OPD workshop in September 2011