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Political competition is essential to the development and maintenance of a healthy and stable democracy. Current scholarship has largely ignored the role that federalism can play in fostering meaningful political competition in emerging democracies. This Article aims to fill this void by developing a theory of political competition within federal systems based on a formal game theory model created by economist and Nobel Laureate Roger B. Myerson. The Article argues that constructive political competition is especially difficult in emerging democracies because social and economic exigencies create strong incentives for new leadership to quash opposition and because first-time voters do not have a point of comparison by which to judge their first set of democratic leaders. Unitary regimes exacerbate these problems because they create an all-or-nothing political scenario and provide voters with only one point of political comparison. Federal systems, on the other hand, create multiple political arenas. This means that political opposition can be contained without being quashed, and that voters will have multiple points of political comparison. After exploring the necessary parameters of this model, the Article then applies the model to post-apartheid South Africa, which has been controlled by a single political party since the country’s first democratic election in 1994. The Article concludes that South Africa’s federal structure is gradually fostering constructive political competition as the model suggests and that opposition parties in South Africa are well situated to take further advantage of these opportunities in the future.