Elections In Post-Conflict Societies

Tags: Elections Governance Training Material

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 re¬turned - 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

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