The certification of elections is an emerging tool for the United Nations to draw upon in its involvement in post-conflict elections. While UN electoral certification in Côte d’Ivoire did not prevent parties from contesting the election results, the Ivorian case shows the utility and limits of certification as a tool in the UN electoral toolbox. This CIGI-Africa Initiative Policy Brief, the first in a new series, makes specific recommendations for improving UN electoral certification and ensuring it remains a viable strategy.
Written by Lori-Anne Théroux-Bénoni , a recipient of the 2011 Africa Initiative Research Grant and a researcher at the Network on Peace Operations at the University of Montreal, the paper sets the context for the emergence of certification in Côte d’Ivoire and identifies lessons to be learned from the Ivorian case. It shows that maintaining flexibility in the definition and implementation of election certification mandates – rather than a rigid approach – may be the key to the successful use of this tool in post-conflict situations.
The brief highlights the fact that while members of the Security Council were not yet fully aware of the implications of electoral certification when they approved the certification mandate for Côte d’Ivoire, they now have a better understanding of what the concept entails in terms of opportunities, risks and consequences. Although this brief’s recommendations clearly show that certification still needs to be refined, it remains a potentially useful tool that can help post-conflict countries overcome electoral challenges.
Dr. Théroux-Bénoni is available to discuss the policy implications of this important research. If you wish to reach her, please write airesearch cigionline.org.