Article

The Role of the Courts in Mitigating Election Violence in Nigeria

Violence occurs in a slight majority of elections held in sub-Saharan Africa. Several recent studies have examined the effectiveness of various interventions on the prevalence of violent elections; however, the role of the courts has been relatively less studied. Using data on electoral violence during the 2015 and 2019 Nigerian elections, we examine under what conditions courts can moderate election-related violence. We find that successfully challenging an election outcome in the courts is related to a reduction in the lethality of violence in the next election, but only if the courts are generally perceived as trustworthy. These findings indicate that in addition to building judicial capability, improving generalized trust in judicial institutions is key to reducing electoral violence.

Burchard, S. M., & Simati, M. (2019). The Role of the Courts in Mitigating Election Violence in Nigeria. Cadernos de Estudos Africanos, 38, 123–144.  https://doi.org/10.4000/cea.4407

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