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Tackling electoral violence in Asia: UN report

Jul 04, 2011

The report Understanding Electoral Violence in Asia by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) studies the nature of electoral violence in Asian countries. The report suggests measures to increase election credibility and reduce poll violence.


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In “Understanding Electoral Violence in Asia,” the UN Development Programme (UNDP) studies electoral processes in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines and Thailand, drawing lessons and making recommendations to reduce the risk of electoral violence.

“The mere suspicion or allegation of fraud is often enough in democracies where there is a lack of confidence in authorities for people to react violently,” says the study. 

The report points out that the state itself can also contribute to election disorder. “In instances where security forces are seen to be partisan or corrupt, there is a higher chance that they will be purveyors of violence rather than protectors of peace.

Also, the media, when controlled by special interests, can have a “destructive role in promoting narrow interests, inflammatory political rhetoric and retarding democratic processes,” it adds.

The report recommends measures to strengthen election credibility, which it says is the key to preventing electoral violence. These include strong oversight and enforcement powers for election commissions, wide-ranging dispute resolution mechanisms and systems to track party political spending, as well as ensuring perpetrators of electoral violence are brought to justice. 

The design of political systems, the mandate and powers of electoral laws and election monitoring, as well as the role of civic education, media and civil society in informing voters can hence, all help to reduce or prevent the likelihood of election-related violence, it says.

Source : UNDP
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