Jennifer Widner, “Political parties and civil societies in sub-Saharan Africa” in Marina O’Harvey (ed.) Democracy in Africa: The hard road ahead (1997).

Main Argument:_ Widner explores the linkage between civil society and political parties. This chapter looks at the difficulties of consolidating democracy when the interest groups that form the basis of coalition are small, fragmented, and without substantial legitimacy.

_Method:_ Case studies

== Notes ==

–  The limited ties between emerging  political parties and new interest groups or associations in many African  countries present a striking paradox

–  In the wave of political liberalization that began in 1989, trade associations, law societies, civic organizations, and other nongovernmental groups assumed important roles in brokering the legalization of opposition political parties and forcing the conduct of competitive elections

–  Few politicians build the group demands of civil society into effective constituencies in the sense of liberal party politics

–  Instead, where civil society is weak, politicians are more likely to draw on existing clientelist and kinship networks rather than take the risk of building new coalitions

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