We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Ghana : the ebbing power of incumbency.

Cheeseman, Nic and Lynch, Gabrielle and Willis, Justin (2017) 'Ghana : the ebbing power of incumbency.', Journal of democracy., 28 (2). pp. 92-104.


Despite pre-election fears, the victory of the opposition NPP over the ruling NDC in Ghana’s December 2016 elections became the prologue to a peaceful transfer of power, an outcome which suggests that the advantage of incumbency in African elections may be on the wane. Recent transfers of power in Africa have been driven by deteriorating economic conditions, opposition learning, more effective and dynamic electoral processes, and increasingly assertive voters. When leaders follow the democratic rules of the game, as in Ghana’s and Nigeria’s most recent elections, incumbents are likely to lose their seats. When they do not, as in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, and Zimbabwe, the result is instead greater repression, as presidents seek to insulate themselves from the rising risk of defeat. The factors that account for recent opposition victories thus also help to explain an upsurge in attacks on civil liberties across much of the continent.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Download PDF
Status:Not peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:Copyright © 2017 National Endowment for Democracy and Johns Hopkins University Press. This article first appeared in Journal of Democracy, Volume 28, Issue 2, April 2017, pages 92-104.
Date accepted:01 February 2017
Date deposited:30 August 2017
Date of first online publication:01 April 2017
Date first made open access:No date available

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar