Heart & Soul of the Party
Candidate Selection in Ghana & Africa

By Magnus Ohman
November 2004
Uppsala University Press
ISBN: 9155460046
291 pages, 6 " x 9 "
$59.50 Paper Original


This is a Ph.D. dissertation. Although most countries south of the Sahara introduced multiparty systems more than a decade ago, much remains to be understood about the political parties active within these systems. General statements about African parties are common, but tend to lack support from systematic research.

Among the least studied areas is African party organization - including such issues as how parties function and who decides what. One useful way of studying the power dynamics within political parties is to analyze how parliamentary candidates are selected. While a common theme in party research in established democracies, this is the first systematic study of the subject in Africa.

This book analyzes the selection system used in recent elections in 31 parties in 17 African countries, while a closer study of Ghana offers more detailed information. It is found that the selection process in many political parties is significantly more decentralized than general theories about African parties would suggest. In sharp contrast to arguments about the stability of African elites, incumbent Members of Parliament are often very vulnerable to challenges from other aspirants in their parties. It is argued that the logic of clientelism plays an important role in explaining these findings.

African Studies; Politics
Skrifter utgivna av Statsvetenskapliga foreningen I Uppsala, No. 161

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