Kofi Annan on the threat to Africa’s fledgling democracy

By | March 24, 2011

Kofi Annan. Former United Nations Secretary-Ge...

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The piece is mostly about Côte d’Ivoire, as one would expect, but he ends it with this:

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.

The bravery of pro-democracy protesters in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and other countries reminds us of what is at stake. It would be a terrible betrayal if their hopes were to be denied by corrupt or rigged elections later this year. It is time for us all to stand up for the integrity of elections.

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