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Political opposition and democracy in Sub-Saharan Africa
Department of Social Sciences, Linnaeus University.
Department of International Development, London School of Economics and Political Science.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
2011 (English)In: Democratization, ISSN 1351-0347, E-ISSN 1743-890X, Vol. 18, no 5, 1057-1066 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This special issue takes a closer look at the role and meaning of political opposition for the development of democracy across sub-Saharan Africa. Why is it that room for political opposition in most cases is severely limited? Under what circumstances has the political opposition been able to establish itself in a legitimate role in African politics? To answer these questions this special issue focuses on the institutional settings, the nature and dynamics within and between the political parties, and the relationship between the citizens and the political parties. It is found that regional devolution and federalist structures are areas where the political opposition can find room to organize and gain local power, as a supplement to influence at the central level. Important factors behind support for the opposition are a realistic appreciation of the level of democracy, dissatisfaction with corruption and pro-democratic values. Generally, however, opposition parties are lacking in organization and in institutionalization, as well as in their ability to find support in civil society and at promoting the issues that voters find most important. Overall, strong executive powers, unchecked by democratic institutions, in combination with deferential values and fear of conflict, undermine legitimate opposition activity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2011. Vol. 18, no 5, 1057-1066 p.
Keyword [en]
political opposition, institutions, political parties, sub-Saharan Africa, democracy, devolution, political values
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
Research subject
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-160786DOI: 10.1080/13510347.2011.603466ISI: 000299438700001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-160786DiVA: diva2:452986
Available from: 2011-10-31 Created: 2011-10-31 Last updated: 2012-12-20Bibliographically approved

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Publisher's full texthttp://www.tandfonline.com/toc/fdem20/18/5

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