Bullets for Ballots: Electoral Participation Provisions and Enduring Peace after Civil Conflict
66 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2017 Last revised: 6 Apr 2017
Date Written: 2011
Fighting soon recurs following some peace agreements, but not others. Which settlements are associated with more enduring peace? Almost half of all peace agreements include “electoral participation provisions” that enable former rebel groups to participate alongside the government as political parties in post-conflict elections. These provisions establish coordinating cycles to coincide with electoral processes that pave the way for external engagement, especially as democracy-promotion programs spread, potentially incentivizing compliance by both sides with the deal and increasing stability. Specifically, intergovernmental organizations and foreign donors became able, and available, to easily intervene to detect and sanction ex-combatants’ noncompliance with such settlements. New cross-national data on peace agreements suggest that that conflict after peace settlements recurs less often when electoral participation provisions are included than when they are not. It also suggests that the pacifying relationship holds when combatants’ expect international engagement. In contrast to prominent prior literature, which suggests that post-conflict elections complicate and even destabilize deals, these findings imply that provisions for particular types of electoral contests may help stabilize settlements and produce more enduring peace.
Keywords: Settlements, Peace Agreements, Civil Conflict, Civil War, Post-Conflict Elections, Electoral Participation Provisions, Rebel Participation, Rebel Parties, El Salvador
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation