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15 - Advancing Peaceful Settlement and Democratisation

The Doubtful Usefulness of International Electoral Norms

from Part IV - Representation, Sovereignty and Governance

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 January 2021

Marc Weller
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
Mark Retter
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
Andrea Varga
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
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Summary

Although democratisation can be a vital component of peace settlements, formulaic applications of supposed international norms of democratic governance are potentially counterproductive. Each conflict situation is different; many situations do not admit of prefabricated solutions that one can justly expect all reasonable contestants to accept, either at the outset or as events develop. Procedural standards associated with the ‘democratic entitlement’ obscure the underlying purposes that democratic forms, to be meaningful, need to fulfil. Post-conflict conditions, typically marked by sharp social divisions and a lack of agreement on the political community’s basic premises, are precisely the conditions in which it cannot be taken for granted that standard procedural norms will work to produce democratic social realities. Improvisation is thus essential. Peace and democracy may both be better served if the international lawyers stand aside.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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