Electoral Violence in Conflict-Ridden Societies: Concepts, Causes, and Consequences

What are the causes of electoral violence? And how does electoral violence influence conflict resolution and democracy? This article argues for a conceptualization of electoral violence as a specific sub-category of political violence, determined mainly by its timing and target. The enabling conditions and triggering factors can be identified in three main areas: 1) the nature of politics in conflict societies, 2) the nature of competitive elections, and 3) the incentives created by the electoral institutions. These clusters of factors are important for understanding electoral violence both between different societies and across elections in a specific country.

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