Elections best practice manual launched amid 'setbacks in democracy'

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The Election Obligations and Standards (EOS) manual was launched recently by the Carter Centre.
The Election Obligations and Standards (EOS) manual was launched recently by the Carter Centre.
Alet Pretorius
  • The Election Obligations and Standards manual outlines 21 obligations for democratic elections in four categories.
  • The US hosts a three-day Democracy Summit a week after China hosted its own version.
  • A Varieties of Democracy Institute report says about 72% of the world is under autocratic rule.

After "many countries around the world experienced setbacks in democracy", The Carter Centre, with the support of the Embassy of Ireland in Zambia, launched the second edition of its Election Obligations and Standards (EOS) manual.

The first edition was launched in 2014.

"The centre's work on Election Obligations and Standards is timelier than ever, given the serious threats facing democracy globally," said director of the democracy programme at The Carter Centre, David Carroll .

The NGO added that there was a need to address new developments and challenges that influence how the world thinks about elections. 

As such, the guide has been updated to include issues such as violence against women in politics, misinformation and disinformation, accessibility for persons with disabilities, and data privacy.

The manual identified 21 obligations for democratic elections in four categories: rule of law, individual rights and freedoms, an overarching obligation regarding genuine elections, and the electoral process.

The manual was launched ahead of the three-day Democracy Summit, which is being co-hosted by Zambia, the United States, the Netherlands, Costa Rica and the Republic of Korea.

The summit is being held a week after China held its own version, dubbed the Second International Forum on "Democracy: The Shared Human Values".

Scholars and some members of opposition parties from African countries, such as Nigeria and Zambia, attended the Chinese summit.

Socialist Party of Zambia president Fred M'membe told the Chinese media that the US was not a global leader in democracy and accused it of being behind many conflicts in Africa.

The Global Times quoted him as saying:

A country that has toppled so many governments in Africa, that has led so many coups in Africa and other parts of the world, a country that has killed so many of our leaders in Africa and other parts of the world… a country that has been built on a brutal force on the enslavement of other human beings, on the humiliation of Africans, the exploitation of Africans, today is coming to teach us about democracy. That's the arrogance, the imperialist arrogance.

Numerous critics argued that there was no need for a democracy summit at the behest of the US and said the world needed a plan to deal with the growth of authoritarianism.

This was further highlighted by a Varieties of Democracy Institute report that claimed about 72% of the world was under autocratic rulers, compared to 46% in 2012.

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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