Why do some multi-party elections lead to political violence while others do not? Despite extensive literatures on democratization and civil war, electoral violence has received much less attention. We develop a set of theoretical propositions to explain variation, and we test these against an original dataset on Africa’s grand democratic experiment after the Cold War. Contra existing research, we find most violence takes place before the election and is committed by incumbents. We also demonstrate different causal dynamics of violence before and after election day. Pre-existing social conflict and the quality of founding elections shape pre-vote violence, while the stability of democratic institutions and weaker economic growth shape post-vote violence. When incumbents seek reelection, electoral violence is more likely, and when civil wars occur simultaneously with voting, electoral violence is less likely, before and after elections. We provide region-specific and global interpretations.
Charles Taylor homepage: http://drcharlestaylor.com/about/ John Pevehouse homepage: https://www.polisci.wisc.edu/people/person.aspx?id=1093 Scott Straus homepage: http://users.polisci.wisc.edu/straus/
Taylor, Charles, Jon Pevehouse, and Scott Straus, Perils of Pluralism: Electoral Violence and Competitive Authoritarianism in Sub-Saharan Africa, Simons Papers in Security and Development, No. 23/2013, School for International Studies, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, February 2013.
Simons Papers in Security and Developmen
Perils of Pluralism: Electoral Violence and Competitive Authoritarianism in Sub-Saharan Africa
School for International Studies, Simon Fraser University
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