n Journal of African Elections - Elections and conflict in Africa : an introduction




Since 1990 contested elections have again become a regular fixture of the political systems of sub-Saharan Africa. But what do they mean? In this issue of the we consider four important sets of African elections and the lessons that can be drawn from them, both for democracy and for best electoral practice. None of these elections was 'typical' for the continent. All were fiercely contested. Those in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone came after extended periods of civil war; Kenya's provoked a major outbreak of violence after the results were announced; while Nigeria's saw opposition wins at the sub-national level and loss of life around the polling itself. Each has something important to say about the meaning of elections in Africa and the challenges that arise in running them well.


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