Parties in a Plurality System: Candidate Nomination in Ghana’s Minor Parties

In theory, plurality electoral systems do not favour the development of
minor parties. Scholarly analysis of minor political parties has focused on
their electoral performance in national elections, and very little is known
about their candidate nomination behaviour at grassroots level. Why minor
parties should compete in national elections within a plurality system is a
puzzle explained in this paper by an examination of candidate nomination by
minor parties in Ghana’s plurality system. Ghana’s minor parties compete in
constituencies they know they cannot win. Drawing on poll data, the paper
argues that these minor parties use the candidate nomination process not
to win parliamentary seats but as a strategy to make their party platforms
visible in the political landscape. It reaches three conclusions on candidate
nomination: that it is used by minor parties to make their presence felt in
the country; that it allows the parties to give the appearance of being strong;
and that it is a strategy to boost the campaign of presidential candidates.

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Categories: Journal of African Elections
journal of african elections vol16 number 2 transparent democratic governance in africa