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How ethnic are African parties really? Evidence from Francophone Africa

[journal article]

Basedau, Matthias; Stroh, Alexander

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Abstract Though African party systems are said to be ethnic, there is little evidence for this claim. The few empirical studies rarely rely on individual data and are biased in favour of Anglophone Africa. This paper looks at four Francophone countries, drawing on representative survey polls. Results reveal that ethnicity matters, but that its impact is generally rather weak and differs with regard to party systems and individual parties. ‘Ethnic parties’ in the strict sense are virtually absent. In particular, the voters’ location seems more important than ethnic affiliation. Other determinants such as regional ties, elite strategies, cross-cutting cleavages, and rational preferences deserve more attention in the future study of voting behaviour in Africa.
Keywords French-speaking Africa; party; ethnicity; regionalism; party system; voting behavior; Africa
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture
Free Keywords voting intentions
Document language English
Publication Year 2012
Page/Pages p. 5-24
Journal International Political Science Review, 33 (2012) 1
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0192512110391770
ISSN 1460-373X
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications
This publication is with permission of the rights owner freely accessible due to an Alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.