The nature of ideology in Ghana's 2012 election

Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of African Elections, 2013, 12 (2), pp. 75 - 95
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The nature of ideology in Ghana's 2012 elections has not been studied, but to do so is key to understanding social, economic and political developments in the country. This article tries to fill the gap. Theoretical guidance is taken from Giovanni Arrighi's The Long Twentieth Century (1994). While the analysis is cast in the longue durée, the empirical evidence is mostly extracted from the 2012 elections. Contrary to earlier findings that ideology plays no part in Ghanaian politics, it is argued that it was central, to the campaign at least, but that the position is one of common economic liberalism rather than multiple ideologies. So, while rhetorically the parties asserted their differences, substantially and substantively, aspiration rather than ascription was the common unifying logic of the two major political parties. This assessment has some positive but mostly very disturbing implications for the distribution of wealth.
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