“Return of the Elephant from the Bush”

The NPP, Organizational Strength, and Electoral Success in Ghana’s 2016 Election

Isaac Owusu Nsiah


This article presents a case study of the NPP, exploring what lay behind the party’s effective organization ahead of Ghana’s 2016 elections and how that organization contributed to the party’s victory after two electoral setbacks in 2008 and 2012. This work affirms the electoral significance of party organization and argues that, although several factors contributed to the outcome of Ghana’s 2016 election, effective party organization had a significant impact on the landslide victory of the NPP. This research synthesizes the literature on power dynamics and party change to build a theory of party strengthening and its electoral significance in multiparty electoral democracies. In doing so, the article emphasizes the following features: first, learning from past defeats leads to renewed party building and reform efforts; second, factional consolidation and a conducive power balance enhance party cohesion and organizational efficacy; and third, these dynamics of party strengthening improve party performance in elections. The article demonstrates the validity of this theory by exploring the process of organizational strengthening within the NPP ahead of its victory in 2016.

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