Courting non-coethnics: campaign strategies in Africa’s highly diverse states
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This project examined how candidates reach across ethnic lines in places where ethnicity is politically salient, but cross-ethnic support is needed to win elections. The question is particularly relevant for Africa’s presidential contests, which are won by majority vote, although countries’ largest ethnic groups often represent less than one-third of the total population. The project relies on archival research and extensive interviews with candidates, party strategists and campaign operatives in Ghana and Kenya, and presents the first extensive dataset of presidential candidates’ campaign appeals in Sub-Saharan Africa since the re-introduction of multi-party government in the 1990s. These data make possible the rigorous testing of a number of assumptions behind extant theories of politics in Africa’s pluralistic societies.