Political parties serve as a link between the state and society. Being so, they have a fundamental role in the consolidation of democratic values. It then becomes important to understand their internal functions and character. The purpose of this thesis is to measure the levels of intra-party democracy within three opposition political parties in Southern Africa. Also, this thesis seeks to show whether authoritarian political culture has an affect on a democratic party's behavior. This thesis will strive to show that as party levels of intra-party democracy decrease, fracturing in the party increases. A qualitative case study was conducted on UNITA in Angola, the ANC in South Africa, and the MDC in Zimbabwe. A content analysis was performed on the parties' respective constitutions and official party documents, as well as other scholarly writings. This was paired with an historical analysis of the case states and parties. The parties were assessed along a determined framework for intra-party democracy: political environment, legal framework of the state and party, the inclusiveness of the party, and party economics. Inclusiveness of the party gauges membership participation, leadership competition, gender parity, and oversight. The ANC exhibited the highest levels of intra-party democracy, and has shown the most stability. The MDC was found to have the lowest levels, and has split multiple times in recent years. All the parties demonstrated a need to open leadership participation and create better oversight mechanisms. Political parties proved to be a critical element in a state's potential democratic development, and though there exists deficiencies, the political parties of this study seem committed in many of their functions to this goal.
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Young, Kurt B.
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Sciences
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences; Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Ryan, Ty, "Looking in the Mirror: Intra-Party Democracy and Party Politics in Southern Africa" (2013). HIM 1990-2015. 1507.