Parties play a crucial role in elections for they reflect the configuration of political power in the contestation for state control. Political parties constitute an important medium for citizens’ participation in the political process during and between elections. How have parties fared in the context of the Zimbabwe political situation, in particular during the 2005 elections? Although the 2005 elections were as tightly contested as those of 2000 and 2002, there was a remarkable difference between them. The environment during the campaign of 2005 was peaceful, compared with the political violence and mayhem that accompanied the 2000 and 2002 elections. A new element built into the framework of the election campaign was the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections, a framework with which SADC member states were enjoined to comply. Another significant factor was the Zimbabwe Government’s strategy of restricting the number and variety of observer missions that would be allowed to witness the election. This paper will not attempt to assess the 2005 election process as a whole but will concentrate on the role of political parties in the contest. Significantly, a major difference from previous elections was the reduction in the number of parties that contested the elections.
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Categories: Journal of African Elections