On the Prevention of Election Violence

Buhari at a rally. Photo by Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, CC BY-SA 2.0

Electoral violence would seem an easy target for prevention efforts, given that the date of an election, potentially divisive issues, and protagonists are known in advance. Yet 58 percent of African elections between 1990 and 2008 exhibited some level of violence, with 10 percent experiencing large-scale violence. While the state is sometimes unable or unwilling to prevent the use of violence as a political strategy to win elections, civil society and international organizations can take some effective steps: improving the integrity of elections, responding to early warning of impending violence, and punishing perpetrators.

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Security Topics:  Electoral Security