The Predicament of Elections in War-Torn Societies
2009 (English)In: Democratization, ISSN 1351-0347, E-ISSN 1743-890X, Vol. 16, no 3, 530-557 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Why do elections held in the shadow of civil wars sometimes generate more violence in already war-torn societies, while in other circumstances they do not? This article develops a conceptual framework based on three clusters of factors to analyse the conflict-generating aspects of elections in war-torn societies: the key actors in the electoral processes; the institutions of elections; and the stakes of the elections. Two types of war-related elections are distinguished: elections held during an ongoing civil war, and elections held in the post-war period when peace is to be implemented. While different in many respects, the two contexts share critical characteristics through their association with the legacy of warfare. Several important implications emerge from the analysis. First, relating to militant and violent actors, incentive structures need to be altered by addressing both the opportunities and means of violence. Second, to prevent inducements for violent behaviour, institutional arrangements - including electoral commissions have to be crafted with consideration given to local conflict dynamics and the history of violent conflict. Finally, the stakes of elections in war-shattered societies can be reduced through, for instance, constitutional pact-making and the oversight of external actors in electoral processes.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Frank Cass , 2009. Vol. 16, no 3, 530-557 p.
elections, democracy, democratization, conflict, violence
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject Peace and Conflict Research
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-105631DOI: 10.1080/13510340902884689ISI: 000276724500005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-105631DiVA: diva2:221723