In a referendum in July 2005 the people of Uganda voted overwhelmingly in support of reintroducing the multiparty system. As a result, one expected an increase in candidates running on party tickets other than the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) in the local elections in March 2006. However, the findings in this article reveal that politicians challenging the incumbent preferred to be non-partisan candidates rather than members of the opposition parties. Based on semi-structured interviews with 198 local leaders, this article connects local perspectives on the reintroduction of the multiparty system with well-known explanations of weak opposition in Africa, and discloses how formal institutions and people's notions of representation limit the prospects of the opposition at the local level.

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