Benin - a pulverized party system in transition
Benin has seen a rapid proliferation of political parties since the country’s democratic transition in 1990. Recent counts suggest that over a hundred political parties are registered in this nation of just over 9 million people. No single party dominates the political landscape. Thus, compared to the one-party-dominant systems elsewhere on the African continent, the Beninese party system configuration shows an interesting contrast. This chapter seeks to answer two interrelated questions: First, how exactly does Benin’s party system compare to other party systems and, more specifically, how should it be classified? Second, what does the Beninese case suggest about the relationship between party system configurations and democratic outcomes?
This chapter is part of a book titled 'Party Systems and Democracy in Africa'. It seeks to answer the quesion; do party systems help or hinder democracy in Africa? Drawing lessons from different types of party systems in six African countries, the volume shows that party systems affect democracy in Africa in ways that are unexpectedly different from the relation between party systems and democracy observed elsewhere.