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AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE CHALLENGES OF POLITICAL PARTIES IN FIELDING CANDIDATE FOR AN ELECTED POSITION IN CAMEROON

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AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE CHALLENGES OF POLITICAL PARTIES IN FIELDING  CANDIDATE FOR AN ELECTED POSITION IN CAMEROON

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the study

Political parties are essential in representative democracies since they act as crucial middlemen between people and the government. At the core of their role is the task of selecting candidates for elected posts, which in turn influences the makeup and policies of governing bodies. Nevertheless, this procedure is riddled with difficulties that have a significant influence on the honesty, comprehensiveness, and efficiency of democratic institutions. Political parties have substantial logistical obstacles when it comes to recruiting appropriate candidates for election campaigns. These obstacles include the task of locating persons who possess the necessary abilities, expertise, and dedication to serving the public (Dalton, 2017). In addition, political parties are required to traverse intricate nomination processes and adhere to strict deadlines established by election authorities, typically within limited timeframes (Norris, 2018). Political parties have significant challenges in recruiting candidates due to the substantial financial requirements of election campaigns. The capacity of political parties to recruit and support candidates is influenced by campaign funding restrictions, fundraising activities, and the availability of resources (Magleby et al., 2020). As a result, political parties may have challenges in securing financial support for candidates, especially in highly contested elections or when competing against well-financed adversaries. Candidate selection procedures are greatly influenced by the internal dynamics of political parties. The presence of factionalism, power conflicts, and ideological splits within political parties may hinder the process of identifying candidates who are widely accepted and supported (Katz & Mair, 2018). Internal rivalry within a political party may result in heated primary elections or selection conflicts, which can weaken party unity and diminish electoral chances. Parties' candidate fielding methods are influenced by external variables, including public sentiment, media attention, and election legislation. When choosing candidates, political parties need to take into account shifting voter preferences, media narratives, and legal obligations (Strøm et al., 2018). The media and civil society organisations may exert scrutiny that may impact parties' judgements on the viability and electability of candidates. There is an ongoing issue of unequal treatment based on gender in the process of selecting candidates, where women often encounter systematic obstacles that hinder their political involvement (Krook & O'Brien, 2020). Women's involvement in elected posts is hindered by party structures that are mostly controlled by males, nomination processes that are biassed, and societal expectations that associate leadership jobs with certain gender norms (Hughes & Paxton, 2021). It is essential to overcome these obstacles in order to improve the inclusiveness and diversity of political institutions. Emerging or tiny political parties have certain obstacles when it comes to selecting candidates for elected posts. Their capacity to compete with established parties is restricted by limited resources, lack of name recognition, and institutional hurdles (Scarrow, 2017). To overcome these problems, it is necessary to use inventive tactics and mobilise local communities to garner support in electoral competitions. The candidate selection procedures inside political parties are influenced by legal and ethical factors that differ depending on the jurisdiction. The conduct of party primaries, candidate screening processes, and nomination standards are regulated by electoral laws, party regulations, and ethical norms (Cross & Blais, 2018). It is crucial to maintain democratic norms by guaranteeing openness, justice, and integrity in these procedures.Therefore, the study investigate  the challenges of political parties in fielding  candidate for an elected position in Cameroon.

1.2 Statement of the problem

There are several problems with how political parties choose their candidates for public office, and these problems make it hard for country's to build and maintain a strong democracy. There is ongoing debate over the inclusiveness and efficacy of candidate nomination processes, despite dedication to democratic values and annual election processes (Fokwang, 2017). To begin with, the legislative and regulatory structure that governs candidate nomination in Cameroon is rather limited, which is one of the main obstacles that political parties in the country face. Smaller or newly formed political formations may be unduly disadvantaged by the bureaucratic obstacles, strict eligibility requirements, and procedural restrictions imposed by electoral rules and regulations. Njong (2019) argues that the electoral process may be made less fair and transparent if the legislative framework is ambiguous or inconsistent, which can cause conflicts and uncertainty over candidate eligibility, nomination dates, and registration processes. The country's sociopolitical dynamics are shaped by historical grievances, geographical differences, and ethnic variety. These factors impact party strategy, candidate selection criteria, and voter preferences.  Effective candidate nomination is further complicated by internal party dynamics and organizational issues. Decisions may be murky and biased when political parties are riddled with factionalism, power battles, and a lack of internal democracy(Mbaku, 2019). In addition, there are still gender gaps in the nomination procedures for candidates, and women often encounter structural obstacles to their involvement and representation in political parties. There is a lack of variety and inclusion in candidate pools and in attempts to attain gender parity in governance due to the underrepresentation of women in political leadership positions, which is influenced by cultural norms, stereotypes, and entrenched patriarchal systems. The above problems therefore compel the researcher to investigate the challenges of political parties in fielding  candidate for an elected position in Cameroon.

1.3 Objective of the study

The broad objective of the study is to investigate the challenges of political parties in fielding  candidate for an elected position in Cameroon. The specific objectives is as follows

To identify whether logistical hurdles poses a challenge to political parties when  nominating candidates for elected positions in Cameroon.

To ascertain whether financial constraints poses a challenge to political parties when selecting candidates for electoral campaigns in Cameroon.

To assess whether internal party dynamics poses a challenge to  political parties when  fielding  candidate for an elected position in Cameroon.

To investigate whether legislative and regulatory structure poses as a challenge to political parties when fielding candidate for an elected position in Cameroon.

1.4 Research questions

The following questions have been prepared for the following

Does logistical hurdles poses a challenge to  political parties when  nominating candidates for elected positions in Cameroon?

Does financial constraints poses a challenge to political parties when selecting candidates for electoral campaigns in Cameroon?

Does internal party dynamics poses a challenge to  political parties when  fielding  candidate for an elected position in Cameroon?

Does legislative and regulatory structure poses as a challenge to political parties when fielding candidate for an elected position in Cameroon?

1.5 Significance of the study

The findings of the study will be significant to the following

The research findings can serve as a basis for policy recommendations aimed at reforming electoral laws, party regulations, and institutional frameworks to overcome the identified challenges. By providing evidence-based guidance, the study can support policymakers and stakeholders in implementing targeted reforms to improve the integrity and inclusivity of the electoral process in Cameroon.

In addition, understanding the challenges faced by political parties in nominating candidates is crucial for enhancing the integrity and effectiveness of the democratic process in Cameroon. By shedding light on these challenges, the study can inform political organizations in designing more transparent, inclusive, and fair nomination systems.

Furthermore, the findings of the study will be significant to the academic community as it will contribute to library resources and also serve as a guide to future research on the topic.

1.6 Scope of the study

The study focuses on women contributions to the political system of Cameroon. Empirically, the study will identify whether logistical hurdles poses a challenge to  political parties when  nominating candidates for elected positions in Cameroon,  ascertain whether financial constraints poses a challenge to political parties when selecting candidates for electoral campaigns in Cameroon, assess whether internal party dynamics poses a challenge to  political parties when  fielding  candidate for an elected position in Cameroon and investigate whether legislative and regulatory structure poses as a challenge to political parties when fielding candidate for an elected position in Cameroon.

1.7 Limitation of the study

Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire, and interview), which is why the researcher resorted to a moderate choice of sample size. More so, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.

1.8 Definition of terms

Political Parties: Organizations or groups of individuals with shared political ideologies, goals, and objectives, which seek to influence government policies and attain political power through participation in electoral processes.

Fielding Candidates: The process through which political parties select and nominate individuals to represent them as candidates in elections for various elected positions, such as parliamentary seats, local government offices, or presidential elections.

Challenges: Obstacles, difficulties, or barriers encountered by political parties in the process of selecting, preparing, and promoting candidates for electoral contests. These challenges may include legal restrictions, organizational limitations, socio-political dynamics, or institutional constraints.

Elected Position: A governmental or political office that is filled through a democratic election process, wherein individuals are chosen by eligible voters to hold public office for a specified term. Elected positions may include roles such as members of parliament, senators, mayors, councilors, or presidents.


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