Elections in Africa: Successes and Failures of Ethnic and Regional Electoral Consolidation

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2023-67-10-108-119
R. Turovsky, RTurovsky@hse.ru
MGIMO University, 76, Vernadskogo Prosp., Moscow, 119454, Russian Federation.
HSE University, 20, Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation.

Received 13.06.2023. Revised 05.07.2023. Accepted 14.07.2023.

Abstract. The article examines the impact of elite coalition strategies on the ethno-regional consolidation of the electorate in African countries. Ethnic voting has traditionally been seen as a key factor in African elections, but recent research shows that other determinants also play a significant role. Moreover, it is clear that the strength of ethnic voting varies considerably from country to country, and various explanations have been offered, ranging from the features of the historical path to the structure of ethnic splits and the sizes of the ethnic groups in question. We suggest that the strength of ethnic voting can vary not only between countries, but also between different electoral cycles in the same country. The reason for this is the choice of strategy by political actors: we assume that when a coalition strategy is chosen, the role of ethnic cleavages will decrease, and the territorial homogeneity of the vote will increase. This paper examines three cases similar in terms of democracy level, political system, British colonial past, and ethnic heterogeneity: Malawi, Nigeria and Ghana. In cases of Malawi and Nigeria, we observe how the choice or rejection of a coalition strategy by political actors can influence the increase or decrease of ethno-regional consolidation of the electorate. Ghana is an example of successful and stable consolidation achieved through the consistent application of coalition strategies. This article demonstrates that coalition strategies of elites can indeed influence ethno-regional consolidation of the electorate. In addition, the research reveals that voting is significantly influenced by some other non-ethnic factors related to economic voting (both retrospective and prospective), strategic voting of smaller ethnic groups, and distinctive kind of voting in national capitals.

Keywords: electoral consolidation, coalition strategies, institutionalization of party systems, ethnic voting, elites, elections, Africa


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For citation:
Turovskiy R., Sukhova M. Elections in Africa: Successes and Failures of Ethnic and Regional Electoral Consolidation. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2023, vol. 67, no. 10, pp. 108-119. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2023-67-10-108-119 EDN: OSDEDC

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