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You, The People: The United Nations, Transitional Administration, and State-Building$
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Simon Chesterman

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199263486

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2004

DOI: 10.1093/0199263485.001.0001

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Elections and Exit Strategies: No Exit Without a Strategy, or No Strategy Without an Exit?

Elections and Exit Strategies: No Exit Without a Strategy, or No Strategy Without an Exit?

Chapter:
(p.204) 7 Elections and Exit Strategies: No Exit Without a Strategy, or No Strategy Without an Exit?
Source:
You, The People: The United Nations, Transitional Administration, and State-Building
Author(s):

Simon Chesterman (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199263485.003.0008

The transfer of power to a legitimate and sustainable local authority, typically mediated through an election, is the central purpose of any transitional administration. Elections and other ‘exit strategies’ are discussed in this chapter. The preference for democratic forms of governance is sometimes linked to the ‘democratic peace’ thesis, which holds that authentic democracies do not fight each other, or that such conflicts are exceptional. First elections can, however, mark an extremely unstable period in the life of a country emerging from conflict — indeed, quantitative research has produced the embarrassing finding that autocracies in the process of democratization actually become more likely to go to war. In practice, a great deal more attention has been paid to the technical side of elections than to their political purpose and significance. Meaningful state‐building depends on a deeper engagement with local stakeholders before and after voting takes place.

Keywords:   constitutions, democratic peace, elections, power‐sharing, transfer of power

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