Staffan Darnolf has 20 years of experience as a scholar and practitioner in the field of democratization and electoral processes. He specializes in electoral reform and how to effectively combat electoral fraud and malpractices in emerging democracies and post-conflict societies and has published books, articles and chapters in peer-reviewed scholarly journals throughout his career. At USIP he will focus on elections in Afghanistan while continue to act as IFES senior global electoral adviser.

Darnolf has been engaged as an elections expert in over 20 countries. Most recently, he led IFES' office in Zimbabwe, where he served as a senior adviser on electoral issues concerning the drafting of the new constitution, the constitutional referendum and electoral management processes.

Prior to his work in Zimbabwe, Darnolf served as IFES' senior elections expert and country director in Moldova, Pakistan, Cambodia and Nepal (2005-2010). From 2003 to 2005, Darnolf was integrally involved in the transitional elections in Afghanistan where he was appointed an international election commissioner by the United Nations for the 2005 parliamentary elections. Between 1992 and 2003, Darnolf combined his scholarly career with regular assignments for the United Nations, European Union, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, IFES and the Swedish International Development Authority (SIDA) in western, eastern and southern Africa, eastern Europe and southeast Asia.

Darnolf holds a Ph.D. in political science with a focus on elections in emerging democracies from Goteborg University in Sweden and a bachelor's degree in public administration from the same university. He was also a visiting scholar at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in 1998.

Publications By Staffan

Breaking, Not Bending: Afghan Elections Require Institutional Reform

Breaking, Not Bending: Afghan Elections Require Institutional Reform

Friday, August 30, 2019

By: Scott Smith; Staffan Darnolf

Afghanistan’s presidential election is scheduled to take place on September 28. In planning the election, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) must overcome a number of practical challenges to avoid repeating the mistakes of the 2018 parliamentary elections—elections that undermined the legitimacy of the state and reduced Afghans’ confidence in democracy as a means for selecting their leaders. Based on a careful analysis of the IEC’s performance during the 2018 elections, this report offers recommendations for creating more resilient electoral institutions in Afghanistan and other postconflict countries.

Type: Special Report

Democracy & Governance

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