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Title: Post-conflict elections or post-elections conflict in Sierra Leone and Liberia
Author: Harris, David John
Awarding Body: School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London)
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2008
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In the post-Cold War world, a multi-party election is now almost always seen as the crucial culmination of a peace process after a protracted but inconclusive civil war. The inputs and outcomes of post-conflict elections in Africa, however, are far from homogenous. The breadth and relative strengths of candidates and the range of results that have emerged from four national polls in Sierra Leone and Liberia after similar highly destructive civil conflicts are testament to this conclusion. The varying degrees of stability and instability that have ensued are further evidence which has had enormous impacts on the countries concerned. Although in essence a domestic procedure to select a new political dispensation, outside forces also hold considerable influence. While the political capacity of nascent parties, often transformed from former military rebel groups, varies considerably and has huge repercussions on the elections, the shift to a more liberal international discourse has also had its effects, particularly in the criminalisation of former combatants and the arbitrary application of post-conflict 'justice'. Both factors intertwine to shape the candidates, results and outcomes of the polls. The post-conflict election serves to select a new government and leader, but its other important role must be to avoid a return to conflict. There is then an underlying need for political solutions and inclusivity in the peace process. Equally, the election has an important role in reconciliation, whether by starting the process of addressing grievances pent up over decades which played a considerable part in the outbreak of conflict, or conversely by frustrating any potential for positive political change that has emerged from the violence.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available