Bhojraj Pokharel is an internationally recognized expert on organizing elections in conflict and postconflict environments. As head of Nepal’s Election Commission from 2006 to 2009, he was a key architect of the first constituent assembly elections after the peace deal that ended the country’s decade-long conflict. He has twice been appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to serve on high-level panels—for Bangladesh’s 2008 parliamentary elections and for South Sudan’s referenda process in 2010–11. Currently a member of the Kofi Annan Foundation’s Electoral Integrity Initiative steering group, Pokharel was a 2017–18 Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace, where he researched and wrote Preventing Election Violence through Diplomacy.
Focusing on three case studies in Africa, this book analyzes the utility of diplomacy in preventing election violence. After defining and identifying the key dimensions of preventive diplomacy to prevent or reduce election violence, it looks at presidential elections between 2006 and 2017 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, and Nigeria. Drawing on personal experience, the literature, case study reviews, and expert interviews and roundtables with academics and practitioners, the book highlights conditions for the success and the failure of preventive diplomacy, offering recommendations to the international community for maximizing the efficacy of this unique tool.