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Zur Renaissance der politischen Parteien und Parteienforschung in Afrika. Einführung ins Themenschwerpunktheft


  • Reiner Tetzlaff


With the democratic movements in Africa since 1989 the research on political parties got a new momentum. Competitive political parties are the "children of democratisation". This introductory article begins with a review of the first foundations of political parties at the time of the independence struggles and explains then why the importance of political parties declined during the era of neo-patrimonial rule. Now it is time to recognize the various functions of competitive political parties for the young democracies in Africa, for example the importance of reliable, stable opposition parties. Political parties develop in a specific social and political context, and often they reflect the typical social cleavages (between town and village, centre and periphery, state and civil society etc.) which characterize the modernisation of society. A typology of political parties is presented for discussion and some examples serve to illustrate some problems with party formation and democratic consolidation. Finally the political experiments with democracy, dictatorship and sharia-oriented no-party-systems in the Sudan - a country with a long history of party formation - show the difficulties which parliamentarians face in multiparty-systems when politicians are not prepared to accept the rules of democratic procedures. Political parties - so the thesis of this introductory article - are indispensable for the consolidation of democracies. What follows is a short introduction into the following articles (by Basedau, Erdmann and Emminghaus) dealing with different aspects of modern party systems in Africa.

Suggested Citation

  • Reiner Tetzlaff, 2002. "Zur Renaissance der politischen Parteien und Parteienforschung in Afrika. Einführung ins Themenschwerpunktheft," Africa Spectrum, Institute of African Affairs, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 37(3), pages 239-257.
  • Handle: RePEc:gig:afjour:v:37:y:2002:i:3:p:239-257

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