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Elections in post-conflict societies

Reilly, B. (2004) Elections in post-conflict societies. In: Newman, Edward and Rich, Roland, (eds.) The UN role in promoting democracy: Between ideals and reality. United Nations University Press, New York, pp. 113-134.

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Elections have become an integral element of many UN peacekeeping missions over the past decade. The reason for this is clear: the focus of most UN missions has shifted from one of pure peace-building to one of state rebuilding or, in some cases like East Timor, state creation. In such cases, elections provide an inescapable means for jump-starting a new post-conflict political order; for stimulating the development of democratic politics; for choosing representatives; for forming governments; and for conferring legitimacy upon the new political order. They also provide a clear signal that legitimate domestic authority has been returned – and hence that the role of the international community may be coming to an end. For all of these reasons, elections have become a central part of many UN peacekeeping missions. In addition, electoral assistance outside peacekeeping missions has become something of a growth industry since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the ‘‘third wave’’ of democratization have led to a threefold increase in the number of putatively democratic governments around the globe.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Publisher: United Nations University Press
Copyright: United Nations University
Publishers Website:
United Nations SDGs: Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
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