Three fundamental points underpin the paradigm of electoral conflict resolution. First, resolving a particular electoral conflict does not imply that disputing parties will never resort to conflict. In Africa, political, economic, and social issues are deeply intertwined, a link which generates various forms of tensions and conflicts. The paradigm of conflict resolution, in this context, then, means disputing parties may revert to conflict, but not necessarily over electoral issues. Secondly, inbuilt in the paradigm is the recognition that some conflicts can become intractable or protracted. Such conflicts need to be significantly transformed into forms that can be approached constructively. Thirdly, the rationale for resolving electoral conflicts is not to compel the parties to conform to the same political ideologies, persuasions, or worldviews. Neither is the rationale to compel disputing parties to adopt similar perspectives and approaches to political issues, or articulate similar political viewpoints. The rationale for resolving electoral conflicts is to encourage stakeholders in the electoral process and conflicting parties in a particular polity to co-exist peacefully despite their different worldviews, political biases and ideologies. These three fundamental points lay the theoretical and analytical foundations of this paper.
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Categories: Journal of African Elections