Press release

Deepening Democracy: A Strategy for Improving the Integrity of Elections Worldwide

Posted: 2012-09-14

Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and Security

Deepening Democracy: A Strategy for Improving the Integrity of Elections Worldwide
Deepening Democracy: A Strategy for Improving the Integrity of Elections Worldwide
Vidar Helgesen
Vidar Helgesen, Secretay-General of International IDEA and member of the Global Commission

“Elections can further democracy, security and development or undermine them. What makes the difference is whether national and international leaders have the political courage and ability to tackle threats to the integrity of elections. I am delighted that the Global Commission’s recommendations present a comprehensive strategy for improving the integrity of elections worldwide. Establishing the Commission was a joint initiative by International IDEA and the Kofi Annan Foundation, and International IDEA looks forward to taking up several of the recommendations in our future work.”

Kofi Annan at the launch of the report of the Global Commission, London, 14 September 2012
From the launch of the report, London, 14 September 2012
Photo ©: Andrea Liebman/IDEA
Audience at the launch of the report of the Global Commission, London, 14 September 2012
From the launch of the report, London, 14 September 2012
Photo ©: Andrea Liebman/IDEA

14 September 2012, London – Urgent national and international action is needed to protect and promote the integrity of elections, says report from the high-level Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and Security.

The report, Deepening Democracy, which highlights global threats to democratic progress and identifies major challenges to delivering elections with integrity for countries to overcome, was launched today by the Global Commission – an eminent group of former leaders, Nobel Prize Winners and experts.

Kofi Annan, Chair of the Global Commission, notes, “Elections are the indispensable root of democracy. When elections have been free and fair, they can be a powerful catalyst for better governance, greater security and human development. But in the absence of credible elections, citizens have no recourse to peaceful political change. The risk of conflict increases while corruption, intimidation and fraud go unchecked, rotting the entire political system slowly from within.”

The Commission warns that all countries, including mature democracies, are struggling to show the benefits of elections and democracy to their citizens. The Commission warns that the rise of uncontrolled political finance threatens to hollow out democracy everywhere and rob democracy of its unique strengths.

Ernesto Zedillo, Vice Chair of the Commission, says, “As much as we see vibrant democracies in the world, we also see vulnerabilities in electoral systems–some countries that are trying to be democratic are suffering great failures in electoral processes. Democracy is becoming a universal value but you cannot have a strong democracy if you do not have good rules and institutions, practices and culture to conduct electoral processes.”

The Commission emphasizes that elections conducted with integrity not only promote democratic values and human rights, but also help to improve governance, fight corruption, empower minority groups and deliver services to the poor.

Against this background, the report puts forward a comprehensive series of recommendations to strengthen electoral processes and norms worldwide. Read and download the report at www.global-commission.org

The Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and Security, jointly established in 2010 by International IDEA and the Kofi Annan Foundation, aims to promote and protect the integrity of the electoral process, which is fundamental to achieving a more secure, prosperous and stable world.

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