n Journal of African Elections - Founding elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo : a highly fragmented party system




In this paper we analyse the embryonic party system in the Democratic Republic of Congo as a result of the legislative and provincial elections. Although a strong electoral system (with small district magnitudes) was implemented, the party system fragmentation at national as well as at provincial level is very high. As illustrated in this paper, strong electoral systems (small district magnitudes) generate different effects in emerging democracies from more traditional democracies. The main reason for this difference is the absence of structured political party organisations. A democratic system needs some fragmentation to function, but a highly fragmented system runs the risk of not functioning at all. Thus we plead for investment in structuring the party system by developing cross-district party organisations and stimulating collaboration and cooperation between the numerous existing parties and independent politicians.


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