There can be no real democracy without political parties – the lubricant that oils the engine of democracy. However, the dichotomy between political parties and democracy remains uncertain. The same is true of the relationship between democratic theory and party organisations. The concept of intraparty democracy centres on the idea of including party members in intraparty deliberations and decision-making processes. It is true that parties that are not open and transparent are unlikely to become democratic in their policy commitment because democratic institutions produce democratic attitudes and authoritarian institutions produce authoritarian attitudes. Our thesis is that intra-party democracy is a prerequisite for a democratic state. This paper traces the development of intra-party democracy within the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and argues that a new model of intra-party democracy, which is participatory in nature, is emerging within the party, although it is still resisted by some, ostensibly on the grounds that it destabilises the party.
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Categories: Journal of African Elections