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The Heart and Soul of the Party: Candidate Selection in Ghana and Africa
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
2004 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The ambition of this book is to shed light on the power dynamics within African political parties through studying how different parties select their candidates for parliamentary elections. Having control over who should represent the party in elections is often considered an important factor in the distribution of power. This is however the first time that this research endeavour has been attempted in an African context. The study’s main focus is on the level of centralisation in the selection process and the vulnerability of incumbent Members of Parliament to challenges from others interested in standing for the party. In addition, attention is given to potential electoral effects of different selection systems and to local expectations on aspirants and MPs.

The analysis takes place on three levels. A comparative study brings together information from 31 parties in 17 African countries. Thereafter, the selection process in Ghana’s main parties during the latest elections is analysed. Finally, Ghanaian constituency level case studies provide detailed information about the processes.

All three studies indicate that the selection process is often significantly more decentralised than general theories about African parties would have us assume. In addition, incumbent MPs regularly lose out to challengers from within the party, often due to local discontent. It is argued that the clientelistic ties that play an important part in many African political parties go far in explaining these findings. Although such ties may generally strengthen the power of the centre, they often create possibilities for local party activists to reject patrons who do not fulfil their expectations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 2004. , 313 p.
Skrifter utgivna av Statsvetenskapliga föreningen i Uppsala, ISSN 0346-7538 ; 161
Keyword [en]
Political science, political parties, party organisation, candidate selection, clientelism, neopatrimonialism, parliamentary candidates, parliamentary turnover, Africa, Ghana
Keyword [sv]
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-4538ISBN: 91-554-6004-6OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-4538DiVA: diva2:165075
Public defence
2004-09-24, Brusewitzsalen, Badhuset, Gamla Torget 6, Uppsala, 13:15
Available from: 2004-09-02 Created: 2004-09-02Bibliographically approved

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