Edited by Henrik Oscarsson and Sören Holmberg
Chapter 15: The role of political parties in partisanship
Much of what is known about political attitudes and behaviour in the world derives from theories tested primarily in Western societies. Whilst systematic studies are gaining momentum in Africa, they still remain limited. This chapter analyses the role of political parties on partisanship in Africa. Public opinion evidence reveals that, like elsewhere, partisanship tends to be declining in the African continent but parties still play a significant role. Africans who trust the incumbent party and opposition tend to feel close to a party. The same is evident to those who view that: many parties are needed to make sure that voters have a real choice in who rules them; opposition parties and their supporters are not often silenced by the government; and the incumbent and opposition parties differ on a number of issues. These relationships continue to hold even after tested considering a number of individual and contextual-level factors.
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