Why are there so many presidential candidates in Africa’s elections? — Quartz Africa


Electoral violence, flagrant malpractices, and more recently, fake news: these are some of the issues that have come to define African elections. But for years now, polls across the continent have also added one more defining feature: a plethora of candidates running for president.

A Quartz analysis of African elections in the last three years shows dozens of candidates, mostly male, running for the top job. The latest example of this is Zimbabwe’s historic election, where 23 candidates attempted to succeed president Emmerson Mnangagwa who rose to power after Robert Mugabe was ousted last year. The same is also true of Mali, where in late July, 24 contenders vied to challenge president Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta for the incumbency.

The profusion of candidates is also true of smaller nations with…

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