Patterns of Electoral Violence during Côte d’Ivoire’s Third-Term Crisis


Almost a decade after the 2011 post-electoral crisis, Côte d’Ivoire once again held elections marred by widespread violence. The third-term crisis revolved around President Alassane Ouattara’s controversial third-term bid and left at least 83 people dead and 633 people injured. This briefing draws on a new electoral violence dataset and field research to unpack patterns of violence during the crisis, and disentangles disruptive electoral violence related to the opposition’s campaign to thwart the election from incidental electoral violence related to the overall electoral tension. The findings show that incidental violence was far deadlier than disruptive violence, yet only tenuously related to the national political divide. This incidental violence was often driven by pre-existing local resource conflicts, revenge, rumours and disinformation, and elite manipulation. The briefing contributes new knowledge on the local drivers of electoral violence in Côte d’Ivoire, and cautions that viewing local communities only as victims of elite rivalries can make decision-makers overlook important risk factors.

African Affairs 122(488)
Sebastian van Baalen
Sebastian van Baalen
Assistant Professor of Peace & Conflict Research

My research interests include the dynamics of violence and civil war.