Increasingly aware of the risk of strife presented by elections in countries affected by conflict, governments and civil society need more effective approaches to prevent election-related violence. The U.S. Institute of Peace conducts research, training and fieldwork to develop evidence that will improve knowledge in this field and inform initiatives such as codes of conduct developed by police and elections officials to avert violence. USIP’s Academy also conducts extensive training and education on election violence prevention in Africa. Learn more in USIP’s fact sheet on Preventing Election Violence.
In mid-summer 2022, Nigeria is just seven months away from elections that could strengthen, or set back, its democracy. Good news includes a surge in voter registrations and a wave of civic engagement among young Nigerians who in recent years have often despaired of better governance through elections. Yet dangers loom: risks of electoral violence or disputed election results in a country where political and criminal violence has reached new levels. To help Africa’s most populous nation pivot toward stability — and to indirectly bolster democratization across the continent — the United States and other international partners should provide diplomatic, political and technical support for Nigeria’s electoral authority.
Facing numerous technical difficulties, the National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) delayed parliamentary elections from June 5 to June 21, postponing the vote for the second time. Some major opposition parties are boycotting, and no voting will take place in civil war hit Tigray or in several other areas facing insecurity. Elsewhere, deficiencies in election administration have meant voting has already been postponed in many constituencies, and some of the logistical arrangements to underpin the vote are still to be implemented. Although there are risks of electoral violence, any incidents are unlikely to be especially significant in a context of high levels of ongoing political violence.
Ethiopia is approaching parliamentary elections on June 5. This will be the first vote since the process of reform launched in 2018 by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, and the stakes are extremely high. Elections to the next national parliament, the House of People's Representatives, may determine future decisions about the structure of the country and consolidate the ruling party’s power. While the short-term outlook for the vote is unlikely to change, the election may offer opportunities to support political dialogue which could sustain important reforms and decrease polarization.
The Network of Nigerian Facilitators (NNF) is a group of professional peace mediators trained and advised by USIP to mitigate and resolve local conflicts through nonviolent means in Nigeria. Since 2018, USIP has supported the NNF with the aim of preventing conflicts from escalating beyond the community level by piloting dialogue-based approaches and connecting local peacebuilders with policymakers to inform government responses to conflicts.