Electoral Rules and Post-Civil War Conflict Management: The Limitations of Institutional Design

Shaheen Mozaffar

in Strengthening Peace in Post-Civil War States

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780226351247
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226351261 | DOI:
Electoral Rules and Post-Civil War Conflict Management: The Limitations of Institutional Design

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This chapter examines the role that electoral institutions have played in managing competition among postwar rivals. It begins with a brief review of the central theoretical arguments advanced in support of the choice of proportional representation electoral systems as a key institutional mechanism of conflict management in post-civil war societies, and points to reasons why these arguments do not adequately address the strategic contingencies surrounding the choice of electoral systems in peace agreements and their impact on sustaining peace in postconflict societies. It then elaborates elements of an alternative approach that underscores the importance of electoral systems in conflict management, but in the context of (a) the historical antecedents and the associated structure, dynamics, and outcomes of civil wars; (b) the resulting social configuration, morphology, and patterns of group interaction; and (c) the choice of the overall institutional design of democratic governance enshrined in peace settlements. Illustrative examples from several countries in Africa and elsewhere in support of this approach are provided. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the theoretical and policy implications of the analysis.

Keywords: electoral institutions; post-civil war states; civil wars; proportional representation; electoral systems

Chapter.  10579 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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