Chapter

Opposition Parties and Democratization in Africa

Adrienne LeBas

in From Protest to Parties

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199546862
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191728594 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199546862.003.0001
Opposition Parties and Democratization in Africa

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Why do we see such variation in the success of democratization across the developing world? Why are some pro-democracy movements successful, while others remain weak? Chapter 1 introduces the reader to the distinct characteristics of democratization in the late Third Wave. Recent democratic transitions have tended to be more protracted and more conflict-prone than earlier transitions in Latin America and Southern Europe. In democratizing countries in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, incumbents often retain control over the degree of political opening in these “hybrid regimes.” The chapter argues that existing theories of democratic transition are insufficient to explain the dynamics of change in these kinds of regimes. Instead, the strength and cohesion of opposition parties is an important determinant of whether democratization will occur. The chapter introduces the book’s arguments about the sources of variation in opposition strength.

Keywords: hybrid regime; transitions to democracy; democratization; political parties; ethnicity; Africa; Third Wave of Democracy; semi-authoritarianism; electoral fraud; violence

Chapter.  7770 words. 

Subjects: Politics

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