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Democratic Validation

Reilly, B. (2008) Democratic Validation. In: Darby, John and Mac Ginty, Roger, (eds.) Contemporary Peacemaking: Conflict, Peace Processes and Post-War Reconstruction. Palgrave Macmillan, New York, pp. 230-241.


In any transition from conflict to peace, the creation or restoration of some form of legitimate governing authority is paramount. While there are relatively few cases of peace deals themselves being put directly to a national vote for acceptance or rejection, at some time in the process of moving from conflict to peace, the support of the citizenry must be tested and obtained. In some form and at some point during every relatively successful process, and sometimes at more than one, the negotiators must seek public approval.

Post-conflict elections or referendums are a common, but not the only, vehicle for achieving this aim. But they are also fraught with problems which, if not appreciated, can easily undermine the foundations of any peace deal. Understanding the complex relationship between peace negotiations and the broader process of mass elections is thus a key step in crafting a lasting peace.

Publication Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation: Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and International Affairs
School of Management and Governance
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright: The Authors
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