Kofi Annan, Chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation, welcomes the spread of democratic elections, but warns that repressive regimes can still distort the system, resulting in a lack of trust and laying up trouble for the future.
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.
Chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation