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International Electoral Observation As A Means Of Evaluating Democracy And Promoting Respect For Civil And Political Rights

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Chapter Summary

International observation of elections has become such a common feature of international political life that it is easy to overlook how recent a phenomenon it is. The modern wave of election observation began in the late 1980s, when the United Nations was requested to observe the implementation of peace agreements, which included provisions for the holding of elections, in a number of Central American countries emerging from civil war. the binary categorization of either 'free and fair' lent itself too much to the misguided practice of putting a country into the 'democratic' or 'not democratic' column the creation, in other words, by a sort of observer fiat, of 'instant democracies'-missing entirely the notion of a process of democratization and electoral processes to which even the most developed of democracies are subject. Election observation was originally intended to confirm or not whether a given process was sufficiently democratic.

Keywords: civil rights; instant democracies; international electoral observation; political rights



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