Local Politics

Ghana’s Political Landscape: Stuck in a Duopoly?

Ghana's Political Landscape: Stuck in a Duopoly?

On February 22, 2023, Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, the Speaker of Parliament, launched a year-long celebration of 30 years of parliamentary democracy in Ghana under the Fourth Republic.

One of his statements that stood out was his concern about how Ghana has transitioned from a multiparty democracy to a duopoly, with only the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) dominating the political landscape. This sentiment has been echoed by others who believe that a third force is needed since the NDC and the NPP are perceived to be the same.

Metro Lens

It is evident from the eight successful presidential elections and four government changeovers between the two major political parties that Ghana is currently stuck with a duopoly. The results of the Afrobarometer survey reflect that an overwhelming majority of Ghanaians who express a political party preference consistently choose the NDC and the NPP.

Furthermore, a significant majority of Ghanaians who intend to vote in presidential elections say they would vote for the duopoly.

Although there was a strong demand for more political parties between 2002 and 2012, the demand has decreased in recent years. It remains uncertain if a third force can emerge as a viable alternative to the duopoly since the NDC and NPP have a strong hold on the political system.

The NDC and the NPP have a distinct political history, ideology, and Ghanaian experiences under their governments over the course of the Fourth Republic.

However, according to the Afrobarometer survey, a quarter of Ghanaians believe that the economic and development policies of the ruling party differ from those of opposition political parties, while a close 22% perceive no difference.

While Ghana is constitutionally designed to be a multiparty democracy, political parties must have a national character. The NDC and NPP have mastered the art of organizing, forming, growing, and sustaining their political parties, making it difficult for a third force to emerge. Whether or not the duopoly can be broken remains to be seen.

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