Legitimate Representation: Civil Society Actors in Peace Negotiations Revisited

In: International Negotiation
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  • 1 GIGA Institute of African Affairs, Neuer Jungfernstieg 21, 20354 Hamburg, Germany

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Abstract

Current research suggests that negotiations which are more inclusive are more likely to achieve durable peace since they speak to the entire population. One way to ensure public support is through the inclusion of civil society groups, either directly at the negotiation table or indirectly in supportive roles. It is argued that through their inclusion there is a positive effect on the legitimacy of negotiations which in turn leads to more durable peace. Nonetheless, the reasons why and how involving civil society groups improves the legitimacy of negotiations remains little understood. This article considers the gap in research by using original empirical data to look at the peace negotiations held in Liberia in 2003 and Kenya in early 2008. A theoretical model of legitimate negotiations will be used to show in what ways the involvement of civil society groups can in fact make the conduct of negotiations and the outcome of an agreement more legitimate for the aggrieved population.

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  • 9

    Interview Gbarnga, July 2011. This research – seeking to fill a gap in the literature – is of an exploratory nature. To the knowledge of the author no survey data exists on the perception of subjective representation at the peace talks. Nonetheless the number of interviews and range of both interlocutors and focus group discussants, as well as the varying geographical settings indicates at the very least that the responses are in no way unique and thus indicative of a larger trend.

  • 10

    Interview July 2011.

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    Interview, October 25, 2011. Interviews were conducted in Nairobi as well as Nakuru and Eldoret (both in the Rift Valley Province) between October–December 2011. Unless otherwise stated the data used in this section comes from the interviews.

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    Interview, Nairobi, December 2011.

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    Interview, Nairobi, November 2011.

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    Interview, Monrovia, September 2013.

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