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Parliamentary floor-crossing and by-elections in Zambia's third republic: the related conflict for democracy and peace.

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The inducement of parliamentary floor-crossing and by-elections in Zambia’s Third Republic has been a source of conflict between the ruling parties and the opposition. To determine its effect on democracy and peace, the study utilised a qualitative research approach employing a semi-structured interview method to collect data from elected Members of Parliament from the ruling and opposition parties in Zambia; leaders of Civil Society Organisations; and the electorate. The study found that the inducement of floor-crossing and by-elections causes intra-party and inter-party conflict that negatively impacts on democracy and peace. It has further led to the erosion of liberal democracy anchored in a system of checks and balances by weakening the opposition and the parliamentary oversight of the executive. Moreover, it has also led to the erosion of peace due to the conflict it sets off within and between political parties, as seen in adversarial and antagonistic relations and electoral violence. The study shows that the inducement of parliamentary floor-crossing and by-elections in Zambia’s Third Republic undermines liberal democracy and peace. The study suggests that peace can be attained by banning the appointment of opposition MPs without consent of their parties; banning MPs that cross the floor from contesting by-elections and from public office appointments; introducing a system of proportional representation in the electoral system; ensuring that independent state institutions manage elections; curtailing Presidential powers; the use of coalition government; the promotion of on-going dialogue between stakeholders; and the building of ideology-based politics.


Doctoral Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.