The existence of so many political parties in Guinea-Bissau means that individual citizens have the opportunity to vote for a party that addresses very specific issues they are concerned with. However, there are problems that can be argued to result from so many political parties in the states. (1) When there are many political parties, some tend to focus on a single issue, or represent a single group of people. This happens because if all the parties were representing broad ideologies, the parties would overlap and some would be the same. It would be very difficult to have 35 different political parties. If political parties are focused on very specific issues rather than broad platforms, it may be hard to establish decisions on issues that are not addresses by the party's platforms and ideals. When decisions are made regarding issues that most of the parties in parliament do not have a particular stance on, the decisions are unpredictable. That means voters cannot vote for a party that will represent them on the issue, because the party has no stance and may vote either way in parliament. (2) Guinea-Bissau's proportional system enables many of the parties to gain seats in parliament (In a plurality system, like the United States, it is much more difficult for minority parties to gain seats in the legislature). The diversity of parties with seats in legislature may cause a fragmented parliament. (3)The fragmentation of the legislature and political arena, in combination with the poor living conditions in Guinea-Bissau, makes the state more vulnerable to coups. (4) Finally, with 35 political parties in Guinea-Bissau, it is difficult for voters to know about each party running and what those parties represent. Even after learning about the parties, keeping them straight would be hard. Some parties have very similar names. For example the Democratic Front and the Democratic Social front sound similar. A voter could vote for one with the intention of voting for another if they were unaware that there were 2 parties with that name and not looking out for it while voting. Similarly, the Renewal and Development Party, Progress and Renewal Party, and Social Renewal party could cause confusion for voters who are unaware of the small differences in the names and not watching for them as they vote. Unfortunately, this are not the only examples of parties in Guinea-Bissau that have similar names.
List of Political Parties in Guinea-Bissau
Democratic Alliance (DA), Guinean Socialist Alliance (ASG), Guinean Civil Forum-Social Democracy (FCGSD), Democratic Front (FD), Democratic Social Front (FDS), Front for the Liberation and Independence of Guinea (FLING), Guinean League for Ecological Protection (LIPE), Guinean Democratic Movement (MDG), Movement for Unity and Democracy (MUDE), African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), Democratic Convergence Party (PCD), Democratic Party for Progress (PDP), Democratic Socialist Party (SDS), Manifest Party of the People (PMP), Popular Party (PP), Guinean People's Party (PPG), Renewal and Development Party (PRD), Progress and Renewal Party (PRP), Social Renewal Party (PRS), Social Democratic Party (PSD), Socialist Party of Guinea-Bissau (PS-GB), Solidarity and Labor Party (PST), Labor Party (PT), National Unity Party (PUN), United Social Democratic Party (PUSD), Resistance of Guinea-Bissau-Bafata Movement (RBG-MB), Union for Change (UM), and National Union for Democracy and Progress (UNDP) (African Elections Database 2007)
Works Cited in This Post
African Elections Database. "Guinea-Bissau." 17 April 2007. Accessed 10 September 2008.
Bureau of African Affairs. U.S. State Department. "Guinea-Bissau." July 2008. Accessed 10 September 2008.
IRIN Daily News. "Election Fears as Unity Government Splits." 31 July 2008. Accessed 10 September 2008.
Macau Daily. "Guinea-Bissau Announces November Poll." 28 March 2008. Accessed 10 September 2008.