Local-Level Accountability in a Dominant Party System release_u3lps5v2avaujkm2vfi2gaxgma

by Eva Wegner

Published in Government and Opposition by Cambridge University Press (CUP).

2016   Volume 53, Issue 01, p51-75


This article investigates accountability in South Africa's dominant party system by studying how the African National Congress (ANC) reacts to electoral incentives at the local level. It compares the ANC's degree of responsiveness to voters across municipalities with different levels of political competition. The analysis focuses on whether and under which conditions the ANC is more likely to renominate better quality municipal councillors. It examines the relationship between renomination as ANC municipal councillor and local government performance – as measured by voter signals, service delivery and audit outcomes. The results show that the ANC does indeed adapt its behaviour to electoral incentives. In municipalities where the ANC has larger margins of victory, performance matters little for renomination. In contrast, in municipalities with higher electoral competition, local government performance is strongly correlated with renomination. These results suggest the need to expand dominant party research to topics of voter responsiveness and sub-national behaviour.
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