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The strategic choice of multiethnic parties in Zambia's dominant and personalist party system

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In Zambia, ethnopolitical mobilisation is ubiquitous in competitive electoral politics. Mobilisation history, focused on national leadership and guided by the nationalist and power- and status-seeking values of political leaders, has interacted with ethnopolitical group morphology and presidential and plurality institutions to structure political actors' strategic choices to favour broad multiethnic parties. This militates against the emergence and undermines the sustainability of ethnic parties that rely overwhelmingly on one group for support. The political downfall of the one leader who assembled an initially successful minimum winning coalition reinforced these factors in encouraging parties to seek more inclusive multiethnic support.

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Keywords: Strategic choice; institutions; mobilisation history; multiethnic parties; values

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Political Science, University of Colorado at Boulder, USA

Publication date: 2006-07-01

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