Chapter

Elections and Exit Strategies: No Exit Without a Strategy, or No Strategy Without an Exit?

Simon Chesterman

in You, The People: The United Nations, Transitional Administration, and State-Building

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9780199263486
Published online April 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191600999 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199263485.003.0008
Elections and Exit Strategies: No Exit Without a Strategy, or No Strategy Without an Exit?

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The transfer of power to a legitimate and sustainable local authority, typically mediated through an election, is the central purpose of any transitional administration. Elections and other ‘exit strategies’ are discussed in this chapter. The preference for democratic forms of governance is sometimes linked to the ‘democratic peace’ thesis, which holds that authentic democracies do not fight each other, or that such conflicts are exceptional. First elections can, however, mark an extremely unstable period in the life of a country emerging from conflict — indeed, quantitative research has produced the embarrassing finding that autocracies in the process of democratization actually become more likely to go to war. In practice, a great deal more attention has been paid to the technical side of elections than to their political purpose and significance. Meaningful state‐building depends on a deeper engagement with local stakeholders before and after voting takes place.

Keywords: constitutions; democratic peace; elections; power‐sharing; transfer of power

Chapter.  13071 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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