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Political Parties in Africa as Instruments of Democracy

eradicated and South Africa is a democratic, multi-racial country—one of the few working democracies in Africa. With the end of the wars in countries such as Mozambique, Angola and Namibia in the 1990s and later, new parties emerged and guerrilla groups were transformed into political groupings. An added problem is that when the parties— created after power had been obtained through political movements—lose power, either (exceptionally) through elections or (more commonly) through a coup d’état, internal struggles ensue that cause the party to splinter or simply disappear. These parties only survive on the basis of the political and economic wellbeing they are capable of providing. They have no real foundation that would allow them to remain in opposition once the benefits have run out or the ideological basis on which they came to power has been transformed, with more personal interests prevailing. Wars in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda and continuous coups d’état and violent overthrows of governments all hinder the stability of political parties. Opposition parties suffer continuous pressure and persecution because the established governments view them not as the opposition but as an enemy, which might seize their power and its associated privileges (especially the economic ones). At the same time, in most countries that lack a democratic system that allows rotation of power (the majority), the economic treasury of the state is too closely linked to the economic treasury of the party. The line of separation is so fine as to be at times invisible, giving ruling parties more privileges and opportunities for widening even further the gap between themselves and the opposition parties. All these circumstances and difficulties mean that in certain areas of the African continent, and especially those where a socialist ideology

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European View

prevails, only the parties in power have any chance of developing partisan relations with other parties. There are two clear areas where relations exist between the ruling parties: Frenchspeaking Africa and countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). With rare exceptions, these relations consist largely of mutual support to help keep their members in government. The creation in January last year of the regional organisation of the CDI (Centrist Democrat International), CDI Africa (which now has sixteen member parties), offers new prospects for collaboration between our associates and any future members. This new collaboration, which includes both ruling and opposition parties, will be of great value in developing democracy in Africa. On the one hand, plans have been made to set up a team of delegates to the African parliament from member parties, who will work together, speaking with a single voice and defending positions which would be difficult to maintain in isolation. A committee will be created to support parties in their election campaigns and to monitor electoral processes. Here, the experience gained in recent elections will be of great use. Apart from the regular meetings, which will be useful for exchanging ideas and experiences, we also want to establish collaboration and personal relations between the various parties. One essential area to which the European Union cannot continue to turn a blind eye is the lack of transparency in African elections. Ongoing electoral fraud—manipulation in the preparation of the electoral census (which is where fraud begins) and in voting and votecounting—creates conflict, despite the presence of international observers, whose reports, either through ignorance, convenience or conformism, do not always reflect the real situation. There can be no development in Africa if there is no democracy, and there will be no democracy

European View_Transnational parties and european democracy  

European View_Transnational parties and european democracy

European View_Transnational parties and european democracy  

European View_Transnational parties and european democracy

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