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

21
DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2023-67-10-108-119
EDN: OSDEDC
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


REFERENCES

1. Lindberg S.I., Morrison M.K. Are African voters really ethnic or clientelistic? Survey evidence from Ghana. Political Science Quarterly, 2008, vol. 123, no. 1, pp. 95-122. DOI: 10.2307/20202973

2 Hoffman B.D., Long J.D. Parties, ethnicity, and voting in African elections. Comparative Politics, 2013, vol. 45, no. 2, pp. 127-146. DOI: 10.5129/001041513804634235

3. Carlson E. Ethnic voting and accountability in Africa: A choice experiment in Uganda. World Politics, 2015, vol. 67, no. 2, pp. 353-385. DOI: 10.1017/S0043887115000015

4. Bratton M., Bhavnani R., Chen T.H. Voting intentions in Africa: ethnic, economic or partisan? Commonwealth & Comparative Politics, 2012, vol. 50, no. 1, pp. 27-52. DOI: 10.1080/14662043.2012.642121

5. Basedau M., Stroh A. How ethnic are African parties really? Evidence from four Francophone countries. International Political Science Review, 2012, vol. 33, no. 1, pp. 5-24. DOI: 10.1080/14662043.2012.642121

6. Posner D.N. The political salience of cultural difference: Why Chewas and Tumbukas are allies in Zambia and adversaries in Malawi. American Political Science Review, 2004, vol. 98, no. 4, pp. 529-545. DOI: 10.1017/S0003055404041334

7. Houle C., Park C., Kenny P.D. The structure of ethnic inequality and ethnic voting. The Journal of Politics, 2019, vol. 81, no. 1, pp. 187-200. DOI: 10.1086/700200

8. Mainwaring S. Rethinking party systems in the third wave of democratization: the case of Brazil. Stanford University Press, 1999. 412 p.

9. Weghorst K.R., Bernhard M. From formlessness to structure? The institutionalization of competitive party systems in Africa. Comparative Political Studies, 2014, vol. 47, no. 12, pp. 1707-1737.

10. Angerbrandt H. Party system institutionalization and the 2019 state elections in Nigeria. Regional & Federal Studies, 2020, vol. 30, no. 3, pp. 415-440.

11. Albert I.O. Explaining ‘godfatherism’ in Nigerian politics. African Sociological Review / Revue Africaine de Sociologie, 2005, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 79-105.

12. Posner D.N. Regime change and ethnic cleavages in Africa. Comparative political studies, 2007, vol. 40, no. 11, pp. 1302-1327.

13. Eifert B., Miguel E., Posner D.N. Political competition and ethnic identification in Africa. American journal of political science, 2010, vol. 54, no. 2, pp. 494-510.

14. Prokopenko L.Ya. New Political Elites in the States of Southern Africa. Moscow, Institute of Africa, 2011. 252 p. (In Russ.)

15. Basedau M., Bogaards M., Hartmann C., Niesen P. Ethnic party bans in Africa: a research agenda. German Law Journal, 2007, vol. 8, no. 6, pp. 617-634.

16. Ismagilova R. N. Ethnicity and federalism: Ethiopia’s experience. Ethnographic Review, 2008, no. 1, pp. 118-132. (In Russ.)

17. Basedau M., Erdmann G., Lay J., Stroh A. Ethnicity and party preference in sub-Saharan Africa. Democratization, 2011, vol. 18, no. 2, pp. 462-489.

18. Adida C., Gottlieb J. Kramon E., McClendon G. Overcoming or reinforcing coethnic preferences? An experiment on information and ethnic voting. Quarterly Journal of Political Science, 2017, vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 437-477.

19. Ferree K.E., Gibson C.C., Long J.D. Mixed records, complexity, and ethnic voting in African elections. World Development, 2021, vol. 141, 105418. DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2021.105418

20. Posner D.N. The political salience of cultural difference: Why Chewas and Tumbukas are allies in Zambia and adversaries in Malawi. American Political Science Review, 2004, vol. 98, no. 4, pp. 529-545. DOI: 10.1017/S0003055404041334

21. Posner D.N. Institutions and ethnic politics in Africa. Cambridge University Press, 2005. 339 p.

22. Scarritt J.R. The strategic choice of multiethnic parties in Zambia’s dominant and personalist party system. Commonwealth & Comparative Politics, 2006, vol. 44, no. 2, pp. 234-256. DOI: 10.1080/14662040600831669

23. Horowitz J. The ethnic logic of campaign strategy in diverse societies: Theory and evidence from Kenya. Comparative Political Studies, 2016, vol. 49, no. 3, pp. 324-356. DOI: 10.1177/0010414015617963

24. Jones M.P., Mainwaring S. The nationalization of parties and party systems: an empirical measure and an application to the Americas. Party Politics, 2003, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 139-166. DOI: 10.1177/13540688030092002

25. Chinsinga B., Kayuni H. The contemporary political context in Malawi: challenges, opportunities and prospects. Centre for Multiparty Democracy in Malawi (CMD-M), 2010, pp. 1-14.

26. Patel N., Wahman M. The presidential, parliamentary and local elections in Malawi, May 2014. Africa Spectrum, 2015, vol. 50, no. 1, pp. 79-92. DOI: 10.1177/000203971505000106

27. Girardin L., Hunziker P., Cederman L.-E., Bormann N.-C., Rüegger S., Vogt M. GROWup – Geographical Research on War, Unified Platform. ETH Zurich, 2015. Available at: https://growup.ethz.ch/atlas/ (accessed 02.06.2023).

28. Elez A.Y. Elections as one of the indicators of the level of political culture in the countries of Tropical Africa. Bulletin of the Institute of World Civilizations, 2020, no. 11, pp. 67-77. (In Russ.)


SOURCES

1. V-Dem Institute. Democracy Report 2023. Available at: https://www.v-dem.net/documents/29/V-dem_democracyreport2023_lowres.pdf (accessed 02.06.2023).


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



Comments (0)

No comments

Add comment







Indexed

 

 

 

 

Dear authors! Please note that in the VAK List of peer-reviewed scientific journals, in which the main scientific results of dissertations for the degree of candidate and doctor of sciences should be published for the “MEMO Journal” the following specialties are recorded:
economic sciences:
5.2.5. World Economy.
5.2.1. Economic Theory
5.2.3. Regional and Branch Economics
political sciences:
5.5.4. International Relations
5.5.1. History and Theory of Politics
5.5.2. Political Institutions, Processes, Technologies

 

Current Issue
2024, vol. 68, No. 6
Topical Themes of the Issue:
  • The “Pivot to Asia”: AUKUS in the Perception of American Politicum
  • The Collapse of the European Collective Security System
  • Public Investment and Sustainability of World Economy
  • Sub-Saharan Africa: Trends, Proportions and Factors of Development
Submit an Article
INVITATION FOR PUBLICATION
The Editorial Board invites authors to write analytical articles on the following topics:
  • changes in the processes of globalization in modern conditions
  • formation of the new world order
  • shifts in civilization at the stage of transition to a digital society

The editors are also interested in publishing synthesis articles / scientific reviews revealing the main trends in the development of certain regions of the world - Latin America, Africa, South Asia, etc.