Are Elections Giving Democracy a Bad Name?

Kofi Annan
Kofi Annan
Chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation

One of the most striking developments of the last quarter of a century is the spread of elections. The end of the Cold War created a historic opportunity for the expression of popular demands for more political freedom and representation, and people around the world seized it.

The Commonwealth was both a witness and an agent of this remarkable phenomenon. When the Harare Declaration was adopted in 1991, nine Commonwealth members were under military or one-party rule. By 1999, all had become multi-party democracies, as detailed in Richard Nzerem’s book Promoting democracy – the Commonwealth’s contribution. Unfortunately, after an initial period of genuine change, rulers learned that elections did not necessarily have to mean democracy: elections could be gamed to remain in power, sometimes indefinitely...

*Statistics within article correct at original publication date of CHOGM 2015 Report.

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