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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Political stability and peace through party engineering: the case of Lesotho
Author:Goeke, Martin
Periodical:Politikon: South African Journal of Political Studies (ISSN 1470-1014)
Geographic term:Lesotho
Subjects:political parties
electoral systems
political stability
Abstract:Comparative scholarship suggests that sustainable democracy and conflict management are dependent on the existence of well-functioning political parties and institutionalized party systems. Surprisingly little attention has been given to how to strengthen parties by institutional means. Drawing on Lesotho, this article will discuss two different approaches of political party engineering: electoral system reform and banning party switching in parliament. Since the reintroduction of multiparty politics, elections in Lesotho were marked by post-election conflict and violence. Following violent clashes after the elections in 1998 Lesotho adopted a Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) electoral system to deal with electoral conflicts. The article argues that the introduction of Africa's first MMP system produced an inclusive parliament that mitigates violent conflict and the simultaneous introduction of a regulation of party switching was useful in preventing party system instability and could set an example for democracy building in other post-conflict societies in Africa. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]