In part 1 of this series, we outlined two ways by which an independent parliamentary candidate can dramatically alter the outcome of constituency level elections. In this piece, we dig deeper into the different competitive profiles of constituencies to see which ones present the best shot for an upstart independent and which ones are impervious to a wild challenge.
The deep dive:
- The first type of electoral profile is one in which a single party is dominant in both the presidential and parliamentary races. In this setup for a stronghold, the only kinds of independent challenges that have an effect are ones in which the challenger breaks away from the dominant party to run on their own.
- In this scenario, if the independent is very well known and liked within the dominant party, then the net effect is that the candidate will split the votes for the dominant party.
- If this vote split is significant enough, you could end up with a situation where the opposition party ends up winning the seat. For example, if this were to happen in a seat that the NPP generally wins 60% of votes cast you can easily imagine a scenario where the NDC manages to flip the seat by winning just 40% of the votes.
- The second type of electoral profile is one in which no party is dominant (a swing region) and the challenger in question is not particularly affiliated with any party but enjoys broad base support. Given the fragmented nature of the support that the parties enjoy in this scenario, an independent candidate who is able to build a broad coalition that draws from all the parties will likely end up winning the seat.
- So, for any future independent challengers out there who might be reading this article, your best bet are in the types of constituencies that fit the second profile. KEEA is one such example but there are a few others dotted all over the country.
- For political parties who may be facing a rogue member mounting a challenge, the kinds of risks posed to the party’s electoral fortunes in a constituency is greatest in areas where the party is dominant.