The Survival of Political Parties in Consolidating Democracies: A Qualitative Case Study of Zambian Political Parties 1991-2015
The Third Wave of Democratization brought with it strong ideals of representative democracy. This meant that countries had to create political parties as vehicles of electoral democracy through which people would constantly participate in political processes. Many countries experiencing the current wave of democratization are not yet consolidated which gives challenges to political parties’ functioning. Many consolidating democracies have been experiencing the formation of many political parties that do not last long in the political environment because they usually die in their early stages and those that manage to persist in all environments. There has not been much attention given to explain this variation in the survival of political parties. This thesis is a qualitative case study examining factors affecting the survival of political parties in consolidating democracies using Zambian political parties. The thesis has used an in-depth content analysis since it sought to problematize previous research findings in order to answer the research questions. The thesis specifically examines how successful selection of leaders and intra-party democracy affect the survival of political parties in Zambia with reference to theory of party institutionalization. Empirical results show that all political parties in Zambia suffer from the effects of lack of successful leadership selection and intra-party democracy but some parties do survive while others fail to survive. The thesis learnt that the difference in access to funds needed in party organisation is what explains why some parties survive while others keep dying out in Zambia. The results further showed that the theory of party institutionalisation does not fit to explain variations in parties’ survival in consolidating democracies.
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