State Violence, Party Formation, and Electoral Accountability: The Political Legacy of the Marikana Massacre

Daniel De Kadt, A. D.A. Johnson-Kanu, Melissa L. Sands

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Democratic governments sometimes use violence against their people, yet little is known about the electoral consequences of these events. Studying South Africa's Marikana massacre, we document how a new opposition party formed as a direct result of violence, quantify significant electoral losses for the incumbent, and show that those losses were driven by voters switching from the incumbent to the new party. Three lessons emerge. First, incumbents who preside over state violence may be held electorally accountable by voters. Second, such accountability seemingly depends on the existence of credible opposition parties that can serve as a vector for disaffected voters. Where such parties do not exist, violence may create political cleavages that facilitate the formalization of opposition movements. Third, immediate proximity to violence is correlated with holding incumbents accountable.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Political Science Review
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the American Political Science Association.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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