Presidents of electoral commissions in West Africa and international experts are taking part in a regional workshop on the prevention of electoral violence from 18 to 20 June, 2013 in Cotonou, Bénin.
Despite the significant progess made in the organization of peaceful and credible elections in West Africa, elections still remain periods of politiacl and social vulnearbility often associated with serious tensions, and even violence that increasingly affect the stability of the sub-region where more than 10 elections will be organized by 2015.
The electoral commissions play a major role in establishing an atmosphere of trust necessary for the organization of peaceful elections. The objective of this workshop is to support efforts by the electoral commissions to settle electoral disputes in a peaceful manner before, during, and after the vote. In fact, disputes related to the composition of the Electoral Commission, the voters list, or to the acceptance of results by candidates are, among others, some factors that can trigger violence.
Organized by the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC), the workshop will gather presidents and representatives of 15 electoral commissions in the sub-region as well as top level experts from governments, the civil society, and international organizations. For three days, participants will share experience and lessons learned so as to be better equipped to prevent and respond to electoral violence. The objective is to establish national action plans by the end of the workshop in order to contribute to the consolidation of democratic achievements in the sub-region.
The workshop is organized by the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC) in partnership with the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), the Friedrich–Ebert–Stiftung (FES), and the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA).
The ECONEC was established in 2008 and its membership includes presidents and vice-presidents of the electoral commissions of the ECOWAS Members States, as well as top level electoral experts and representatives of international organizations that support democracy.