There is a firm consensus among both academics and policy analysts that political parties are the linchpin of representative democracy. However, parties require, among other things, internal cohesion, democratic and visionary leadership, intra-party democracy and constructive management of internal conflict as well as mutually beneficial inter-party relations if they are to add value to representative democracy. Without the above qualities political parties on their own, and through the legislature, may not play their role effectively. While floor crossing or political migration, in and of itself, is not necessarily undesirable in a democracy, if not well managed it accentuates the proliferation of parties, a trend that may have adverse effects on already fragmented party systems and fledgling representative democracies such as that prevailing in Lesotho. In the discussion that follows we examine the impact on Lesotho’s representative parliamentary democracy of faction fighting and party schisms, which, in turn, lead to floor crossing.
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Categories: Journal of African Elections