Donor support for post-conflict elections

Question

What does recent literature tell us about lessons for donors in supporting elections in post-conflict developing countries when the precedent for a peaceful transition of power is either not well entrenched, or non-existent?

Summary

In post-conflict environments, the international community has an important role to play in supporting the successful planning, delivery and embedding of elections within a wider context of support to political systems and democratisation. This rapid review provides an overview of lessons for donors in the field of electoral assistance in post-conflict societies in recent academic, policy and grey literature. Although well-timed elections can
contribute to conflict resolution and help to
consolidate a peace agreement or power-sharing
deal between elites, they also have the potential to re-ignite hostilities. The evidence indicates that the content and inclusiveness of pre-election dialogue between former combatants; the timing and sequencing of elections; the strength of electoral and security institutions; the choice of electoral system; and the independence and conduct of the electoral administration and observers are key variables. The following sections of this report deal with each in turn, followed by three country case studies illustrating how some of these factors have played out in recent post-conflict elections in Mozambique, Sierra Leone, and Nepal.

Suggested citation

Laws, E. (2017). Donor support for post-conflict elections (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report). Birmingham, UK: GSDRC, University of Birmingham.