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Organized Crime and Elections

November 02, 2016

What is the relationship between organized crime and elections? What does this mean for democracy? 

International IDEA invites you to re-live the discussion on the new report, Protecting Politics: Deterring the Influence of Organized Crime on Elections. 

Experts include: 
-  Ivan Briscoe (Senior Research Fellow at the Clingendael Institute of International Relations) 
-  Alexander Kupatadze (St Andrews University) 
-  Irma Méndez de Hoyos (Researcher at FLASCO Mexico) 

Elections are essential elements of democratic systems. Unfortunately, abuse and manipulation (including voter intimidation, vote buying or ballot stuffing) can distort these processes. However, little attention has been paid to an intrinsic part of this threat: the conditions and opportunities for criminal interference in the electoral process. Most worrying, few scholars have examined the underlying conditions that make elections vulnerable to organized criminal involvement. 

This report addresses these gaps in knowledge by analysing the vulnerabilities of electoral processes to illicit interference (above all by organized crime). It suggests how national and international authorities might better protect these crucial and coveted elements of the democratic process. Case studies from Georgia, Mali and Mexico illustrate these challenges and provide insights into potential ways to prevent and mitigate the effects of organized crime on elections.

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