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Peaceful Elections

Elections are designed as instruments for building and sustaining democratic institutions as part of good governance. Instead of being instruments for peace, elections in many contexts are now causes of violence. “Democratic institutions are not meant to eliminate conflict; they are designed to manage it and channel it in productive directions” (Conducting a Conflict Assessment, A Framework for Strategy and Program Development). Elections are arenas for political competition to occur, as such, electoral operations programming ensures that elections remain vehicles for participation and constructive conflict management, and that they do not devolve into destructive forms of conflict. The goal of this course is to deepen participants’ understanding of election violence and ways to prevent it, to discuss questions of electoral integrity, and to use elections as a peacebuilding tool. It also aims to provide practical tools to build the capacity for participation in election operations, such as election observation, in order to prevent violence, manage conflict and build peace.

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