Political parties are one of the core institutions of democracy. But in democracies around the world, there is growing evidence of low or declining public confidence in parties. But are they in decline, or are they simply changing their forms and functions?
Since Tanzania’s 2015 elections, rising repression and opposition protest have displaced an older dynamic of comparatively restrained and unchallenged dominance by the ruling party.
With the ruling FSLN’s one-sided triumph in the November 2016 elections, Nicaraguan democracy underwent further erosion. The emerging authoritarian party-state, far from being a leftist revolutionary government, is becoming a neopatrimonial dictatorship in an older Latin American style.
Despite pre-election fears, the victory of the opposition NPP over the ruling NDC in Ghana’s December 2016 elections became the prologue to a peaceful transfer of power. This outcome suggests that the advantage of incumbency in African elections may be on the wane.
Since the 1970s, the U.S. presidential-nomination system has become more democratic, making primary elections crucial, reducing the influence of political parties, and making it easier for outsiders to win.
Three factors help to explain the historically wide split between the electoral and popular vote counts: economic and political fundamentals, polarization among voters over identity issues, and the sharply divergent ways in which the candidates chose to address these issues.
Once Europe’s most painful “problem” area, the Balkans have managed to make strides toward stability, democracy, and integration into the West over the last fifteen or so years. But Moscow is becoming increasingly active in the region, and the durability of these gains should not be taken for granted.
The September 2016 Legislative Council election marked the rise of a new political force that emphasizes the specific interests and identity of Hong Kong. It has especially been championed by many of the young people who swelled 2014’s Umbrella Movement protests.