n Journal of African Elections - The youth and party manifestos in Ghanaian politics - the case of the 2012 general elections




In the run-up to Ghana's 2012 general elections 'gutter politics', the kind of politicking that focuses on mudslinging, vituperation, personal attacks and character assassination, which usually characterises the nation's election campaigns, gave way to issue-based politics. The contents of the manifestos of the two main political parties, the National Democratic Congress and the New Patriotic Party, were brought into sharp focus. Indeed, through the activities of civil society organisations such as the Institute of Economic Affairs and state bodies like the National Commission for Civic Education, politicians campaigned vigorously by articulating the key policy prescriptions encapsulated in their manifestos. The contents of the manifestos of the two main political parties were virtually the same apart from their policies on senior high school education. Given that the youth constitute the majority of the nation's voting population they were the main target of the various campaign messages, particularly those concerning education, with a view to capturing their support. Through interviews with some 200 respondents aged between 18 and 35 and drawn from a cross section of young people, this study investigates the relevance of party manifesto contents in shaping the voter behaviour of young Ghanaians.


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