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WHY ELECTIONS CAN CAUSE INSTABILITY

THE ELECTORAL INTEGRITY INITIATIVE (EII)

Elections are the established mechanism for the peaceful arbitration of political rivalry and transfers of power. In practice, however, many elections actually prove deeply destabilizing, sometimes even triggering conflict and violence.

Together with experts and distinguished statesmen and women, the foundation launched the Electoral Integrity Initiative (EII):

A growing number of autocratic governments use elections to wrap themselves in a veneer of democratic legitimacy. The “winner-takes-all” mentality with which many leaders around the world approach elections has led to abuses of power by the winner and encouraged losers to reject democracy as a peaceful means for change.

Looking beyond technical requirements, the EII focuses on creating a conducive environment for legitimate elections, facilitating the orderly and peaceful transfer of power. The initiative is composed of a core group of ten individuals with expertise and experience in improving electoral integrity and of a panel of former statesmen and women.

ORIGINS OF THE ELECTORAL INTEGRITY INITIATIVE (EII)

TOWARDS STABLE AND LEGITIMATE ELECTIONS For elections to be the legitimate instrument at the heart of the democratic process, they need to be carried out with integrity. Elections with integrity are based on the democratic principles of universal suffrage and political equality and are professional, impartial, and transparent in preparation and administration throughout the electoral cycle. Their outcome is not just legally beyond reproach but the process and its outcome are also perceived as legitimate by the electorate.

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Building democracy is a complex process. Elections are only a starting point but if their integrity is compromised, so is the legitimacy of democracy.

Kofi Annan | Chairman of the Board

In 2010, in concert with the Stockholm-based group International IDEA, the Kofi Annan Foundation convened a group of elder statespersons and international policy thinkers to form the Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and Security. The commission, identified several root causes to electionsrelated instability and violence and created a list of recommendations to address these issues. A key recommendation emerging from the commission’s final report, stressed the central role of integrity in the electoral process, leading the Kofi Annan Foundation to form the Electoral Integrity Initiative.

2015/11/11 5:02 PM

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