This research brief is focused on exploring four (4) broad questions: (1) the overall performance of third-party presidential parties and the extent to which they serve as ‘kingmakers’; (2) which regions they are likely to perform better; (3) their success rate, which is measured as seats won per total candidates contesting; and (4) the impact of affiliation to the NPP or NDC on the likelihood of success.
Finally, we finish off our analysis by proposing three fundamental qualitative factors that, combined, are predictive of a presidential run-off or a defeat for an incumbent party – these variables we call the ‘iRIS Keys’.
Outlook and implications
1. The performance of third-party presidential candidates has been on the decline over the past six electoral cycles: trendline analysis indicates third parties have been dropping an average of 31,000 votes per election from a base of about 365,000 votes since 1996.
2. Third parties need to gain a minimum combined vote share of more than 3% to have a chance at influencing presidential elections, sending it into a second round.
3. The likelihood of a presidential election going into a run-off or an incumbent losing depends on the combined impact of whether the incumbent or challenger is a new candidate; the incumbent or challenger is popular or charismatic; and if there is a popular third-party candidate.
4. Both third-party presidential and parliamentary candidates are more likely to perform better in the three Northern Regions than other parts of the country.
5. The number of candidates contesting as independent MPs as a proportion of the total parliamentary candidates has reduced since 2004. Likewise, their success rate has also significantly dropped. Also, there is no successful independent parliamentary candidate who is not connected to any of the two main parties (NPP and NDC).
Find below details of the research: