25 March 2011

Kofi Annan on Elections and Côte d'Ivoire

[T]he crisis in Ivory Coast must also spur global efforts to uphold the integrity of elections wherever they are held. The right to a free and fair vote is key to everything that matters most. Without 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.

National leaders must learn that to provide democratic legitimacy, elections must be free and fair. The international community must understand that every time it turns a blind eye to electoral abuse, it becomes complicit in degrading democracy’s potential. Short-term expediency cannot be allowed to overshadow the longer-term impact on security, development and human rights. We have to raise the costs for those tempted to rig or steal polls.

From a Financial Times piece on Wednesday by the former UN Secretary General.