In part 1 of this series, we explored the share of support that a 3rd party needs to gain in order to be an effective player in how the nation is governed. In this piece, we turn out attention to more tactical approaches for realizing this goal and consider whether or not it makes sense for all 3rd parties to combine into one in order to challenge the NPP-NDC duopoly.
Here’s our take:
- If the 3rd parties will ever have a seat at the table, then they do need to focus on winning parliamentary seats first and the presidency later.
- Indeed, so weakened are the parties that not a single one holds a seat in the current parliament. The closest any of them came to winning in 2016 was when the PPP nearly flipped KEEA in the Central Region.
- Let’s be clear, if all 3rd parties in Ghana today were to combine to form one party, their share of support will amount to a mere 2% of the electorate. That is hardly a speck in the universe of electoral outcomes.
- But one can argue that coalescing around a single party platform could help catalyse gradual shift in support away from the NPP and NDC, provided such a party platform is robust enough in what it offers Ghanaians.
- Assuming our 3rd parties can rally behind a strong policy platform as their competitive advantage, which seats do we see them flipping first?
- KEEA (Central) – our parliamentary forecast rates this seat as ‘COMPETITIVE’ with a 23.4% chance that a 3rd party (most likely the PPP) wins it.
- Bunkpurugu (North East) – another ‘COMPETITIVE’ race with a 12.7% chance of a 3rd party winning (most likely a strong independent candidate)
- Mion (Northern) – also rated ‘COMPETITIVE’ with a 14.4% chance a 3rd party wins.
- Tatale Sanguli (Northern) – our model assigns a 15.5% chance neither the NPP nor NDC will win this seat. In 2016 there was a strong showing from an independent candidate who was able to amass 26.8% of the votes; less than 3 points behind the second place NPP candidate.
- Wulensi (Northern) – another ‘COMPETITIVE’ seat with a 17.7% chance a 3rd party could win. In 2016, the PPP had a decent showing – amassing 13.8% of the votes.
- Salaga South (Savannah) – the only ‘COMPETITIVE’ seat in the region as rated by our model. There is a slim 10.5% chance of a 3rd party win.
- Jomoro (Western Region) – a very ‘COMPETITIVE’ seat not unlike KEEA. In 2008, Samia Nkrumah won 50% of the votes in the region for the CPP. Since then the party has lost some ground but not completely. In 2016, the CPP’s candidate amassed 20.5% of the votes in the constituency, by far the best performance of any CPP candidate in the elections. Our parliamentary model assigns the seat a 23.7% chance of the seat falling to a 3rd party.
- Out of the 275 seats up for grabs, there are only 7 where our model assigns a greater than 10% chance of a 3rd party winning. That goes to show the steep hurdle that a ‘hypothetical’ coalition, let alone a single party, has to climb in order to rub shoulders with the NPP and NDC.
- And all this assumes this ‘hypothetical’ coalition can unify behind a single party platform and electoral strategy. 2020 is not the year that this coalescing happens. However, if recent electoral trends continue, it will increasingly become tenuous at best for any one party to mount a challenge anywhere in Ghana.