PREVIOUS ARTICLE ALL CONTENTS Next ARTICLE

Activist Origins of Political Ambition: Opposition Candidacy in Africa’s Electoral Authoritarian Regimes, Keith Weghorst

Reviewed by Rachael Mclellan
 

This book is an important contribution to the study of opposition candidacy. Using rich evidence from Tanzania, Weghorst addresses an outstanding puzzle for academics and policymakers alike: why do opposition politicians stand for election in electoral autocracies? Existing explanations come from advanced democracies and focus on simple cost-benefit analyses. Candidates enter a race as opposition if the expected benefits of becoming a legislator exceed the risks of standing. Weghorst explores how this framework fails to account for opposition candidacy in countries like Tanzania, where opposition prospects of winning power are so low and the risks of violence and intimidation are so high. This question is critical because cases where the ruling party is hegemonic and the playing field is uneven, like Tanzania, are the norm, not the exception.

Weghorst argues that the eve of the campaign is not the correct juncture to understand why opposition politicians stand. In the absence of well-institutionalized opposition parties, it is in civil society organizations that future opposition candidates earn their stripes resisting the regime. This sets them on a path toward opposition candidacy while regime politicians take a very distinct path to candidacy through service to the ruling party, often starting in childhood. That means the candidate’s election-time deci

To continue reading, see options above.

About PSQ's Editor

ROBERT Y. SHAPIRO

Full Access

Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.

CONFERENCES & EVENTS

A Purple Agenda For The Next Four Years
June 20, 2024
7:30 p.m.–9:00 p.m. ET
WEBINAR

MORE ABOUT THIS EVENT VIEW ALL EVENTS

Editor’s spotlight

Virtual Issue

Introduction: Black Power and the Civil Rights Agendas of Charles V. Hamilton
Marylena Mantas and Robert Y. Shapiro

MORE ABOUT THIS TOPIC

Search the Archives

Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilson

view additional issues

Most read

Articles | Book reviews

Understanding the Bush Doctrine
Robert Jervis

The Study of Administration
Woodrow Wilson

Notes on Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Speech
Dorothy Borg

view all

New APS Book

China in a World of Great Power Competition   CHINA IN A WORLD OF GREAT POWER COMPETITION

About US

Academy of Political Science

The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Political Science Quarterly

With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.

Stay Connected

newsstand locator
About APS