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Negotiators or Adversaries? Tracing the Sources of Party Trajectories

  • Catherine Lena Kelly
Chapter
Part of the Contemporary African Political Economy book series (CONTAPE)

Abstract

Political parties formed primarily for negotiating patronage rarely become the consistent opposition organizations that are purported to bolster democracy and accountability. Focused on the Wade era, this chapter explains the determinants of whether parties pursue trajectories of consistent opposition, or instead pursue tactical alliances or relationships of co-optation with the president and his ruling coalition. The analysis is based on comparative case studies and descriptive statistical analysis of an original dataset that captures party trajectories of all 46 parties created during 1998–2003, as well as their leaders’ relevant endowments of state experience and international private financing. This research shows that when they are reliant on personal resources for party-building on the uneven playing field, party leaders rarely possess the two endowments that facilitate consistent opposition: prior experience as high-level state administrators and international sources of private financing. The analysis also illustrates that party leaders with both endowments are best able to resist opportunities for government collaboration that presidents offer politicians in order to fragment the opposition. With prior experience as state administrators, party leaders can market themselves as capable replacements to incumbents. With international private financing, they can compete for office using the clientelist strategies that citizens expect of serious candidates.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine Lena Kelly
    • 1
  1. 1.American Bar Association Rule of Law InitiativeWashington, DCUSA

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