Practice Advice on Democratic Institutions and Policy Process
Election Processes in Democratic Systems (UNDP)
Summary Advice: Free and fair elections sustain the legitimacy of democratic governments and maintain or establish strong governing institutions. However, the implementation of free and fair elections requires expertise in all aspects of the electoral process, logistics, civic education, training, and legal and financial management.
Main Points: Free and fair elections are at the root of the legitimacy of the state. Their implementation contributes significantly to the maintenance or establishment of strong democratic institutions and systems.
To enhance the efficiency of free and fair elections, they need to be characterised by open registration procedures, secure and secret ballots, universal access to voting sites, the independence of supervisory bodies, and freedom of expression and association. The success and benefits of free and fair elections are dependent on the level of local expertise in all aspects of the electoral process, including logistics, civic education, training, and legal and financial management.
Source: UNDP (1997). Management Development and Governance Division, "UNDP AND GOVERNANCE: Experiences and Lessons Learned" Lessons-Learned Series No. 1 at http://mirror.undp.org/magnet/docs/gov/Lessons1.htm#1.3 (accessed 01 November 2012).
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