The use of force in UN peacekeeping operations: Micro-level mechanisms of peacekeeping during the 2015 elections in Côte d’Ivoire

Abstract: How does the use of force in UN peacekeeping operations influence political leaders’ perceptions, attitudes and behavioural intentions regarding the use of election violence? While we know that UN peacekeepers help deter election violence across countries, individual-level mechanisms remain empirically under-studied. Using evidence from field research-based interviews during the 2015 electoral period in Côte d’Ivoire, UN documents and news reports, the present study fills this gap. Findings suggest that local political leaders were aware of UN peacekeepers’ efforts and felt more secure as a result. Government and moderate opposition leaders felt encouraged to peacefully engage in elections. However, a perceived lack of preventive measures and perceptions of partiality constrained UN peacekeepers’ ability to positively affect political leaders’ attitudes to violence and intentions to peacefully participate in elections.

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