The Ethnopolitical Dynamics of Elections

Published as ECMI Working Paper No. 17, this paper argues that elections play a crucial role in multiethnic societies both as potential catalysts of conflict and as mechanisms contributing to conflict termination, democratization, and sustainable, peaceful, democratic political processes. With these considerations in mind, this paper examines the factors that contribute to elections in multiethnic societies resulting in stable and inclusive (or widely representative) political institutions. First, I look at different types of context in which elections are conducted – conflict termination, democratization, and full or consolidated democracy. Then I examine different aspects of elections themselves – election systems, camp aigns, conduct and results – before offering some general conclusions about electoral and post-electoral politics in multiethnic societies. To begin with, I explore the concepts of stability and inclusiveness in multiethnic societies as the key objectives for elections to contribute to.