Understanding Elections in Conflict Situations

Benjamin Reilly

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Elections have three main functions in a democracy. First, they are means of choosing the people’s representatives to a legislature, congress, or other representative forum, or to a single office such as the presidency. Second, elections are not just a means of choosing representatives but also of choosing governments. Indeed, in practice, elections are primarily a contest between competing political parties to see who will control the government. Finally, elections are a means of conferring legitimacy on the political system. Especially since the end of the Cold War and the third wave of democracy around the world, elections have become an essential element in constituting a legitimate government. Today, very few states in the world do not conduct elections, although the competitiveness and quality of these vary enormously.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationElections in Dangerous Places: Democracy and the Paradoxes of Peacebuilding
    Editors David Gillies
    Place of PublicationMontreal Canada
    PublisherMcGill-Queen's University Press
    ISBN (Print)9780773539365
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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