Opposition in Africa: The Impact of Ethnic Cleavages and Economic Conditions on Electoral Coalitions



Leo Arriola, CDDRL

Date and Time

March 7, 2007 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM



RSVP required by 5PM March 06.


Encina Ground Floor Conference Room

FSI Contact

Ganka Hadjipetrova

Why are opposition party leaders able to form multiparty coalitions to compete against entrenched incumbents in some African countries, but not in others? Leo Arriola challenges the conventional wisdom by showing that opposition coalitions are formed more frequently than is suggested by the region's relatively high reelection rates. Using data on executive elections held in 33 African countries between 1990 and 2005, he demonstrates that opposition coalitions are more likely to be affected by economic conditions than by ethnic divisions or institutional arrangements.

Leo Arriola is a pre-doctoral fellow at CDDRL. He seeks to understand under what conditions opposition parties in Africa can achieve coordination in running against incumbents. He takes Kenya, Ethiopia, Senegal and Cameroon as his main case studies. Leo is advised by Jim Fearon and David Laitin at Stanford, and has returned from fieldwork in Senegal and Cameroon in the Summer of 2006. He has previously spent time conducting research in Ethiopia and Kenya. He has a BA from Claremont, McKenna, and an MPA in International Relations from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton. When he leaves CDDRL next summer, he will become Assistant Professor of Political Science at Berkeley.

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