It is important that election conflicts be handled promptly and properly to minimise their impact on elections and potential damage to EMBs, the Courts and the Legislature.

A number of factors make conflicts and dispute likely in elections.  They involve winner-take-all contests.  They involve candidates, used to debate, who’s role, if elected, will be to carry arguments in the legislature.  They involve powerful people used to working with laws and getting their own way with government employees.  They can involve important principles.  They are often played out in the public arena through media reporting.  They potentially involve whole nations from the most mild-mannered to the most obdurate and from the most honest to those less than honest

These conflicts can be difficult to resolve and have the capacity, at their worst, to cause significant divisions within nations.

For EMBs it is important that election conflicts be handled properly and resolved as quickly and fairly as possible.  Particularly during election periods when these conflicts are most likely to arise EMBs are focussed on organising elections.  They can find additional responsibilities in relation to law enforcement detract from the quality of the election.

Although there are still some countries where the legislature has a role in dealing with disputes we do not consider that role in this module – apart from their role in producing legislation.  Modern international trends are to use independent courts to deal with significant election disputes

In this module we

  • consider the bodies responsible for managing election conflicts and disputes.
  • consider some of the mechanisms used and their advantages and disadvantages
  • consider accepted standards and principles for dealing with conflicts and disputes
  • practise some of the skills used in best practice in informal conflict management
  • explain a typical court process and its advantages and disadvantages in dispute resolution


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