Electoral Assistance

For societies emerging from conflict, credible and transparent elections are one of the first, key steps in establishing peace and lasting security.

Peacekeeping supports electoral processes in a variety of ways, such as by ensuring security and providing technical advice and logistical support.

UN peacekeeping operations’ mandate often includes a direct role in this crucial process. When parties to a conflict agree on a ceasefire, the holding of elections is usually included in the peace agreement and represents a major step in the establishment of a legitimate state.

During the past few years, the UN has provided crucial technical and logistical support to historic elections organized in a number of countries, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Afghanistan, Liberia and Sudan.

UN peacekeeping’s role

Over the years, the UN has provided support through:

  • technical support to the national authorities in charge of elections,
  • the monitoring and observation of elections,
  • the organization and supervision of elections.

In general, the UN nowadays plays a supporting role by providing assistance to the country’s national electoral administration.

Technical Assistance

States can request assistance for their national authorities charged with administering elections. UN missions:

  • ensure the security of citizens with uniformed personnel, in particular UN police and military,
  • conduct patrols to ensure that voters can exercise their democratic right without fear of violence,
  • advise on technical aspects of the reform of electoral legislation and the establishment of procedures guaranteeing the right to vote,
  • provide logistical support, for example for the distribution of electoral materials, and
  • inform the public and contribute to educating voters through all communications channels that are available in the field and the radio in particular.