Identify literature on lessons learned for dealing with election-related violence in fragile and conflict-affected states. Where possible, look for literature on running elections in sub-national conflict areas and how armed groups have interacted with an election process – both positively and negatively.
Elections do not necessarily cause violence, but they can exacerbate pre-existing tensions, particularly in conflict-affected contexts. There are a number of causes of election-related violence, which can occur at different stages of the electoral cycle. Dealing with this violence very much depends on understanding these causes and tailoring measures to address them. This report draws on guidance material, evaluation literature and empirical studies to provide a brief overview of measures to prevent and address electoral violence, and outline lessons learned.
Emerging literature on armed groups and elections highlights the relationship between armed groups and political forces, and the access of armed groups to independent resources. These determine whether armed groups are maintained by the government, eliminated, or continue despite opposition. Subnational conflict often relates to perceived injustice, marginalisation, and a sense of threatened identity. Such conflict can be ethnopolitical in nature, where the type of electoral system can have an impact on electoral violence levels.
Rao, S. Dealing with election-related violence in fragile and conflict-affected states (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1126). Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK (2014) 12 pp.