Prevention and Management of Electoral Conflict Seminar 2006

3-7 July 2006, Luanda

Background

Elections are, by nature, conflict-ridden processes as power is disputed in order to gain control of the state. Taking into account the recent history of Angola, it is obvious that the forthcoming elections will raise tensions that, if not well managed, could result in negative or violent conflict.

The threat of conflict in any electoral process can place at risk the validity and legitimacy of its results, thereby marring the democratic process. Experiences in other SADC countries have showed that insufficient attention to conflict prevention and management before and during the electoral process exacerbates tension and can lead to violence. The challenges for electoral stakeholders are establishing effective conflict management mechanisms that allow for the prevention of potential conflicts, or the management and transformation in a peaceful manner should they arise.

Workshop Objectives

The workshop sought to facilitate a national process that would create capacity at all levels and pave the way towards the establishment of formal or informal conflict management mechanisms that safeguard the integrity of the electoral process.

Through the creation of this technical capacity, it was hoped that the initiative will contribute towards enhanced transparency, since dialogue and consultation at all stages of the electoral process constitutes a fundamental tool for its success.

Workshop goals

  • Training of trainers to familiarise Angolan electoral stakeholders (political parties, civil society, media, the National Electoral Commission (CNE), Inter-ministerial Commission for the Peace Process (CIPE)) with the prevention and management of electoral conflict so that they act jointly in identifying and resolving problems;
  • Sharing experiences from other SADC countries in the prevention and management of electoral conflict, most especially in post-conflict countries;
  • Exploring the best way to adapt the SADC experiences and lessons learned to the Angolan environment in order to establish conditions for a transparent and credible electoral process.

After the seminar, trainers were assisted in training other stakeholders at provincial and local levels to create increased capacity on a national level.

Topics covered

  • Conflict: definition, nature and stakeholders.
  • Electoral conflict.
  • The role of various stakeholders in conflict management.
  • The electoral legislative package.
  • The role of NEC and CIPE in managing electoral conflicts (CIPE and CNE as mediators).
  • Contentious issues and elections.