Battleground: Candidate selection and violence in Africa’s dominant political parties

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This article develops a theory – rooted in the experience of the African National Congress in South Africa – to explain how, and why, a dominant political party is less likely to conduct orderly elections to select its political leadership. First, I demonstrate that canny party leaders – operating in the space between a divided society and a weak state – make an ideological turn to a “congress-like” political party, which is clever (in the short term) because it provides party leaders with an in-built electoral majority. It is, however, also a dangerous manoeuvre because it essentially endogenizes social competition for state resources inside the dominant party. This displacement of social competition away from the public sphere towards the partisan organization increases the likelihood of disorderly competition for party candidacies. Second, I demonstrate how this competition need not necessarily become the basis of violent competition inside the dominant party. The party leadership can use intra-party elections to stabilize competition, but only if the party invests in an organization that applies impartially the rules that govern the election.
LanguageEnglish
JournalDemocratization
Volume25
Issue number6
Early online date1 May 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018

Fingerprint

candidacy
violence
election
leader
organization
ANC
political leadership
leadership
resources
experience

Keywords

  • political parties
  • Africa
  • electoral violence
  • African National Congress
  • party modernization

Cite this

@article{c08ac21fb3b34421a9bf847e8e7e944e,
title = "Battleground: Candidate selection and violence in Africa’s dominant political parties",
abstract = "This article develops a theory – rooted in the experience of the African National Congress in South Africa – to explain how, and why, a dominant political party is less likely to conduct orderly elections to select its political leadership. First, I demonstrate that canny party leaders – operating in the space between a divided society and a weak state – make an ideological turn to a “congress-like” political party, which is clever (in the short term) because it provides party leaders with an in-built electoral majority. It is, however, also a dangerous manoeuvre because it essentially endogenizes social competition for state resources inside the dominant party. This displacement of social competition away from the public sphere towards the partisan organization increases the likelihood of disorderly competition for party candidacies. Second, I demonstrate how this competition need not necessarily become the basis of violent competition inside the dominant party. The party leadership can use intra-party elections to stabilize competition, but only if the party invests in an organization that applies impartially the rules that govern the election.",
keywords = "political parties, Africa, electoral violence, African National Congress, party modernization",
author = "{Mac Giollabhui}, Shane",
year = "2018",
month = "9",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1080/13510347.2018.1451841",
language = "English",
volume = "25",
journal = "Democratization",
issn = "1351-0347",
number = "6",

}

Battleground : Candidate selection and violence in Africa’s dominant political parties. / Mac Giollabhui, Shane.

In: Democratization, Vol. 25, No. 6, 01.09.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Battleground

T2 - Democratization

AU - Mac Giollabhui, Shane

PY - 2018/9/1

Y1 - 2018/9/1

N2 - This article develops a theory – rooted in the experience of the African National Congress in South Africa – to explain how, and why, a dominant political party is less likely to conduct orderly elections to select its political leadership. First, I demonstrate that canny party leaders – operating in the space between a divided society and a weak state – make an ideological turn to a “congress-like” political party, which is clever (in the short term) because it provides party leaders with an in-built electoral majority. It is, however, also a dangerous manoeuvre because it essentially endogenizes social competition for state resources inside the dominant party. This displacement of social competition away from the public sphere towards the partisan organization increases the likelihood of disorderly competition for party candidacies. Second, I demonstrate how this competition need not necessarily become the basis of violent competition inside the dominant party. The party leadership can use intra-party elections to stabilize competition, but only if the party invests in an organization that applies impartially the rules that govern the election.

AB - This article develops a theory – rooted in the experience of the African National Congress in South Africa – to explain how, and why, a dominant political party is less likely to conduct orderly elections to select its political leadership. First, I demonstrate that canny party leaders – operating in the space between a divided society and a weak state – make an ideological turn to a “congress-like” political party, which is clever (in the short term) because it provides party leaders with an in-built electoral majority. It is, however, also a dangerous manoeuvre because it essentially endogenizes social competition for state resources inside the dominant party. This displacement of social competition away from the public sphere towards the partisan organization increases the likelihood of disorderly competition for party candidacies. Second, I demonstrate how this competition need not necessarily become the basis of violent competition inside the dominant party. The party leadership can use intra-party elections to stabilize competition, but only if the party invests in an organization that applies impartially the rules that govern the election.

KW - political parties

KW - Africa

KW - electoral violence

KW - African National Congress

KW - party modernization

U2 - 10.1080/13510347.2018.1451841

DO - 10.1080/13510347.2018.1451841

M3 - Article

VL - 25

JO - Democratization

JF - Democratization

SN - 1351-0347

IS - 6

ER -