From bullets to ballots? The role of democratic elections in peace building processes.

Date: 25 November 2014

Venue: City Campus - R.001 - Rodestraat 14 - 2000 Antwerpen

Time: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Organization / co-organization: IOB and USOS

Short description: Debate with Andrew Bradley (Office of International IDEA to the EU) and Stef Vandeginste (lecturer, IOB) Moderator: Nadia Molenaers (lecturer, IOB).

Since the establishment of the Millennium Development Goals, there has been a growing recognition to support the existence of strong linkages between development and peace. There is now a widespread agreement that  focusing on political issues such as peace and governance, as well as economic factors is essential to meet  development objectives. These issues are likely to gain even more prominence in the post 2015 framework. But what is the best model to promote peace? Since the early 1990s, democratization, and consequently the organization of elections, has become an increasingly prominent feature in post-conflict reconstruction and peacebuilding processes. The underlying assumption of this ‘liberal peace’ model is that the combination of democracy and the insertion in the market economy is the most suited model to avoid conflict and to build a peaceful state.  However, empirical evidence suggests that in different countries, elections did not contribute to the consolidation of a democratic state.  In this debate we question whether the liberal peace model is the most appropriate model to consolidate the post-conflict state. Do elections bring peace? Or do they, when organized prematurely, contribute to insecurity and instability?

As from the 1st of February 2012, Andrew Bradley heads the Office of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) to the EU in Brussels, Belgium.  He joined the senior management of the Institute in Stockholm, Sweden during May 2010 as the Director of Global Programmes. He was previously the Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs and Human Development of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States, where he was responsible for the maintenance of ACP-EU relations, bi- and multi-lateral negotiations, migration, human and social development, conflict prevention and resolution, and the promotion of democracy, human rights, governance and the rule of law. Prior to that, he was a diplomat and served in South African Embassies and Missions in Canada, Switzerland and Belgium. In this capacity, he participated in the negotiations for South Africa’s accession to the ACP Group and the Lomé Convention (now Cotonou Agreement), and acted as member of the South African Negotiating Team for the South Africa-EU Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA).  In his service to the ACP Group, he participated in the first phase (all ACP) of negotiations for ACP-EU Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), took part in the successful 2005 revision of the Cotonou Agreement, and was the ACP Group’s coordinator for the 2010 revision of the Agreement. He served on the Results Management Council (RMC) and Consultative Group (GC) of the World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR). His academic qualifications include graduate and post-graduate degrees and diplomas in Political Sciences, Strategic Studies, International Marketing and International Politics.



Stef Vandeginste is a lecturer at the Institute of Development Policy and Management (IOB). He holds a Ph.D. in Law from the Unversity of Antwerp with a doctoral thesis ‘Law as a source and instrument of transitional justice in Burundi’. His research interests include political transitions, peace negotiations, power-sharing, transitional justice and human rights, with a geographical focus on Sub-Sahara Africa and Burundi in particular. He recently published in the International Journal of Human Rights, the Journal of Modern African Studies, Global Governance and Africa Spectrum. He is a co-editor of the Annuaire des Grands Lacs yearbook series.

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