ELECTORAL VIOLENCE: A CHALLENGE TO SECURITY
Abstract: This paper focuses on electoral violence as a subset of political violence, and analyses this concept by examining the complexity of motives, actors, activities it involves, as well as pointing out contextual characteristics that contribute to the occurrence of violent events. Electoral violence can be observed at all stages of the election process - before the election, on election day and after the election. It can involve state, non-state and international groups, as either perpetrators or targets. Its forms range from various pressures, intimidations to physical and deadly violence against voters, candidates, politicians, government officials, police, military, journalists, or international observers. Electoral violence is usually linked to undemocratic regimes, but even well-established democracies are not immune to it. The prevention of electoral violence functions as an extensive network of programs led by international organizations providing assistance in improving conditions for free and fair elections and changing the attitudes around violence. The results of such prevention remain far from ideal, despite decades of efforts and important funding. Nonetheless, prevention and promotion of election integrity remain indispensable methods in combating electoral violence. Increasingly complete databases (CREV, ECAV, NELDA) allow researchers to gain a better insight into what causes electoral violence, allowing for more effective marking of security risks and prevention activities.
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