The Day after: Post-Election Government Formation in Africa

Posted: 23 Mar 2015 Last revised: 27 Aug 2015

See all articles by Leonardo R. Arriola

Leonardo R. Arriola

UC Berkeley

Staffan I. Lindberg

Göteborg University - Varieties of Democracy Institute; Göteborg University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: 2015

Abstract

Elections in Sub-Saharan Africa rarely lead to alternation in executive or legislative power. As a result, while prior studies of elections in the region have shown that the quality of elections varies widely and that greater electoral experience can reinforce the democratization process, few studies have systematically examined patterns of post-election government formation. However, in many African countries, even seemingly non-competitive elections are periods of intra-elite bargaining that can result in the recalibration of ruling coalitions. It remains unknown why some presidents who have comfortably secured reelection choose to appoint opposition members to ministerial positions, while others choose to suppress opposition demands for inclusion in government. In this paper, we investigate incumbent and opposition strategies in the process of post-election government formation. Employing data on over 200 African elections over the past three decades, we examine the conditions in which opposition parties accept election results and whether they opt for legal or extra-institutional strategies in challenging those results. We also examine the composition of incumbents' post-election governments, including the number of parties and opposition members in the cabinet. Finally, we assess the impact of government formation (i.e., opposition inclusion versus exclusion) on subsequent levels of electoral competitiveness and party institutionalization.

Suggested Citation

Arriola, Leonardo R. and Lindberg, Staffan I., The Day after: Post-Election Government Formation in Africa (2015). ASA 2015 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2583111

Leonardo R. Arriola

UC Berkeley ( email )

210 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Staffan I. Lindberg (Contact Author)

Göteborg University - Varieties of Democracy Institute ( email )

Sprängkullsgatan 19
Gothenburg, Gothenburg 405 30
Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://www.pol.gu.se/varianter-pa-demokrati--v-dem-/

Göteborg University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 711
Gothenburg, S-405 30
Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://www.pol.gu.se

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