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Post-war elections: Uncertain turning points of transition

Reilly, B. (2008) Post-war elections: Uncertain turning points of transition. In: Jarstad, Anna K. and Sisk, Timothy D., (eds.) From War to Democracy: Dilemmas of Peacebuilding. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K., pp. 157-181.

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Elections held as part of a peace deal following a violent conflict highlight several crucial dilemmas of democratization in post-war societies. Such ‘post-conflict elections’ are now a feature of almost all efforts to democratize war-torn regions, with peace agreements routinely including provisions for elections be held as part of the process of conflict termination, often with the assistance, supervision or sometimes direct control of the international community. But while post-conflict elections have become an integral element of contemporary peace agreements, they can also themselves become the focus of increasing tension and renewed violence. Taking a comparative perspective, this paper focuses on several inherent dilemmas of post- conflict elections, including issues of timing, sequencing, mechanics, political parties, and the role of the international community. In each of these areas, post-conflict elections forces difficult choices to be made between short-term versus long-term priorities, representation versus stability, domestic versus international legitimacy, and a range of other sometimes incompatible objectives.

Publication Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Management and Governance
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Copyright: The Author
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