South Sudan + 1 more

Designing elections in conflict-prone societies: the case of South Sudan

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In PRIF Report No. 122, Sofie Dreef and Wolfgang Wagner analyze how elections should be designed in conflict-prone societies like South Sudan

Within the peacebuilding process, the democratization of a society is one of the most important goals. Elections can contribute to peacebuilding. Especially in ethnopolitical divided societies, they can assure the representation of formerly excluded groups in parliament and foster moderation and interethnic accommodation. When hurried and poorly designed, however, elections can also threaten the precarious peace in divided countries.

PRIF Report No. 122, "Designing Elections in Conflict-prone Divided Societies: the Case of South Sudan", Sofie Dreef and Wolfgang Wagner focus on the three main features of electoral design that crucially influence the success or failure of elections in conflict-prone divided societies: timing and sequencing, electoral administration, and electoral systems.

Their analysis goes beyond purely scholarly debates and translates the general insights into specific policy recommendations for the parliamentary elections scheduled for 2015 in South Sudan; the first elections since the country torn by ethnopolitical conflict gained independence in 2011.

Sofie Dreef is a project manager at VNG International, where she is involved in project implementation in South Sudan. From September 2012 to July 2013 she worked as a researcher at the VU University Amsterdam.

Dr Wolfgang Wagner is Professor of International Security at the VU University Amsterdam. He was a researcher at PRIF from 2002 to 2007 and a research fellow from 2007 to 2011. His research has focused on the interactions between democratic politics and conflict.

This PRIF Report is available at PRIF for EUR 10,- and can be downloaded for free.