restricted access African Elections as Vehicles for Change
Abstract

Although government defeats are extremely rare in multiparty Africa, little analysis has taken place of the conditions under which ruling parties lose power. This article documents a remarkable pattern that has so far received little comment: throughout the continent opposition parties are almost four times more likely to win elections when the sitting president does not stand. Using a comparative data-set and examples from Kenya, Ghana, and Sierra Leone, the article explains the three main reasons that open-seat elections are more likely to lead to political change, and considers the relationship between term-limits, turnover, and democratic consolidation.


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