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  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: The April 2010 elections in Sudan were mandated by the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). They were intended to be instrumental in setting the stage for the referendum and corresponding negotiations and were envisioned as a critical part of a broader democratic transformation. In the period between the CPA's signing and the holding of the national elections, political rights and freedoms were circumscribed, placing limits on political parties and civil society and fostering distrust between the ruling parties and the opposition in the North and South that was to prove central in undermining the inclusiveness and credibility of the elections.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Civil War, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: Electoral rights are based on fundamental human rights, namely the civil and political freedoms of opinion, expression, association, and peaceful assembly that are solidly established on a global and regional basis under numerous international conventions. The right to enjoy free and fair elections also derives from the right to participate in governance, both directly and through representatives, which is also established through these instruments. Finally, the treaties also require protection of electoral as well as other human rights through an effective system of appeal.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Civil Society, Democratization, Development, Treaties and Agreements
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: One of the most important democratic experiments of the last 25 years has been the movement in more than 600,000 villages across China toward open, competitive elections, allowing 75 percent of the nation's 1.3 billion people to elect their local leaders. For over a decade, at the invitation of the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs and the National People's Congress, The Carter Center has worked to help standardize the vast array of electoral procedures taking place in this new democratic environment and foster better governance in local communities. Since 1996, The Carter Center has observed numerous village elections, provided training to local government officials on electoral procedures, and helped conduct a nation-wide survey on villager self-governance.
  • Topic: Communism, Democratization, Governance
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: The Dec. 6, 2009, presidential and legislative elections were the first elections held under the new constitution of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. The high rate of citizen participation in the voter registration process and the general elections confirmed that the Bolivian people have a strong commitment to democratic life and that elections are regarded as a legitimate means to settle differences. The Carter Center mission in Bolivia was targeted, focusing on long-term observation of the voter registration process. As such, the mission did not conduct a comprehensive assessment of the entire electoral process. The Carter Center opened a field office in La Paz that operated from Aug. 15 to Dec. 15. During this time, voter registration was assessed through direct observation, as well as technical and legal analysis. The mission also included a limited observation of the Dec. 6 general elections. The mission was conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation. This report covers the findings of The Carter Center mission.
  • Topic: Democratization, Governance
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Bolivia
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: In mid-December 2008, the Second Vice President of the Legislation and Oversight Commission (CLF) – the contact between the legislative body and international contacts and supporters – invited the Carter Center to serve as one of the international observers to monitor the process of selection, evaluation, appeal and appointment for the members of the temporary Council on Citizen Participation and Social Control (CPCCS).
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Governance
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: Upon the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, The Carter Center observed the country's May 15, 2005, elections for the national and regional parliaments. The May elections marked an historic event in the country, as Ethiopia witnessed its first genuinely competitive campaign period with multiple parties fielding strong candidates. Unfortunately, what began with a comparatively open period of campaigning and an orderly voting process on election day was followed by flawed counting and tabulation processes in many areas; repeated incidents of serious postelection violence, including the killing of many dozens of people during electoral protests; a significant delay in finalizing election results; and an ineffective complaints review and investigation processes. In spite of the positive pre-election developments, therefore, The Carter Center concludes that the 2005 electoral process did not fulfill Ethiopia's obligations to ensure the exercise of political rights and freedoms necessary for genuinely democratic elections.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: The April 9, 2009, legislative elections in Indonesia marked the beginning of the third set of national elections since a return to democratic rule following the end of the New Order of former President Soeharto and the first based on an open-list system. This was the world's largest centrally administered, single-day election, with more than 171 million names on the voter register and approximately 519,000 polling stations. Thirty-eight political parties contested nearly 19,000 seats in national, provincial, and district assemblies, while an additional six local parties competed for seats in Aceh province.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Indonesia, Asia
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: The Carter Center led a small electoral observation mission for Ecuador's constitutional referendum on Sept. 28, 2008, to help promote a transparent and fair electoral process and accompany the country as it continues its political-institutional transformation. One of the major milestones in the process was the convening of the national constituent assembly (CA), which held session between November 2007 and July 2008. The CA's efforts culminated in the approval of a draft constitution, which was also approved by 63.93 percent of Ecuador voters during the Sept. 28, 2008, referendum.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Ecuador
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: As described in the Transitional Regime of the Constitution approved by referendum on September 28, 2008, the Constituent Assembly held its final session (the 98th) in order to appoint the members of the Legislation and Oversight Commission, as well as the members of the temporary electoral authorities that together form the Electoral Branch: the National Electoral Council (NEC) and the Litigious Electoral Tribunal (LET). For the first time in Ecuador's modern history, the organization and evaluation of its elections have been left to two autonomous agencies: the NEC will be in charge of organizing and executing electoral processes and the LET will have jurisdictional authority on electoral matters. This report provides an account of the process of selecting and naming the temporary representatives of these two agencies. The Carter Center's principal motivation in writing this report is to make a contribution to informing national and international audiences about the process of institutional transformation taking place in Ecuador. Although they are temporary, the new electoral authorities have an important and specific purpose in organizing and judging the fairness of the next general election scheduled for April of 2009.
  • Topic: Democratization, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: Nepal's constituent assembly (CA) election is an important milestone on the country's path to permanent peace and prosperity. The Nepali people have demonstrated their dedication to ending the decade-long conflict and their interest in a new and inclusive leadership that will tackle the difficult issues involved in drafting a new constitution and restructuring the Nepali state, and will work to address the critical need for poverty alleviation and widespread development in Nepal.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Asia, Nepal
  • Publication Date: 10-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: The increasing use of new electronic voting (e-voting) technologies in elections around the world has been recognized by the international election observation community as one of the paramount challenges facing election observation today. As a whole, international election observation organizations have had relatively little experience observing elections in which e-voting technologies are used. In addition, the inherent lack of transparency of electronic voting technologies discourages easy observation.
  • Topic: Democratization, Human Rights, International Cooperation, International Law
  • Political Geography: Venezuela
  • Publication Date: 10-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: International election observation is conducted by dozens of organizations around the world. As election observation activity has grown and the number of organizations involved has proliferated, several critical challenges have emerged. Foremost is the need for greater coordination and standards of professionalism among election observation organizations. To this end, The Carter Center, the United Nations Electoral Assistance Division (UNEAD), and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), launched a collaborative project to build consensus on best practices in this field.
  • Topic: Democratization, Human Rights, International Cooperation, International Law
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: At China's invitation, The Carter Center sent a seven-person, international team led by Dr. Robert Pastor, a Carter Center Fellow and expert on elections, to observe the village electoral process in Fujian and Hebei provinces. The delegation also held discussions with officials in Beijing on election issues and on future areas of cooperation between The Carter Center and China. The delegation concluded that the village elections are a serious and positive development in empowering China's 900 million villagers, even though many parts of the country might not have fully implemented the election rules yet.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, International Organization
  • Political Geography: China
  • Publication Date: 09-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: The Carter Center conducted a targeted observation mission of Ecuador's September 30, 2007, elections for 130 members of the Constituent Assembly with the goal of demonstrating the Center's interest and support for Ecuador's constitutional reform and political transition process. The Carter Center assessed the political and electoral environment prior to the Constituent Assembly elections and the transparency of the process.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: With USAID funding, The Carter Center conducted a targeted observation for Guyana's Aug. 28, 2006, national elections to demonstrate the Center's interest in and support for Guyana's democratization process. The Center also sought to assess the political and electoral environment in Guyana surrounding the 2006 elections in follow-up to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter's 2004 visit to Guyana. The 2006 elections marked a historic event in the country as Guyana experienced its most peaceful election in recent history.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, International Organization
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America, Guyana
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: Liberians went to the polls in great numbers on October 11 and November 8, 2005, to elect a president, vice president, 30 senators, and 64 representatives. In these first elections since the end of 14 years of civil war, voters across the country demonstrated their commitment to peace and democratic governance. Both elections were widely praised as violence-free, orderly, and well-administered. Throughout the electoral process, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and The Carter Center sought to demonstrate international support for Liberia's democratic process and to provide Liberians and the international community with an impartial and accurate assessment of the electoral process and the political environment surrounding it.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Civil Society, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Africa, Liberia
  • Author: Carlos Ayala Corao, Pedro Nikken Bellshaw-Hógg
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: At the General Assembly of the Organization of American States held in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in June of 2005, the member states enjoined Secretary General José Miguel Insulza to prepare a report on past use of the Inter-American Democratic Charter (IDC) and make suggestions to the Permanent Council concerning possible improvements in its application. The resolution on “Promotion of Regional Cooperation for Implementation of the Inter-American Democratic Charter” also urges the Permanent Council to receive input from civil society concerning the IDC, and conscious of this invitation, The Carter Center and the Andean Commission of Jurists (CAJ) have responded to this invitation.
  • Topic: Democratization, Globalization
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: Automated voting (sometimes referred to as electronic or e-voting) technologies are increasingly used in elections across the world, particularly because they are often seen as symbolic of a country's level of modernization. The possibilities for rapid aggregation and analysis of results, as well as potentially greater accuracy, have all added to the attractiveness of computer-based voting equipment. There is little doubt that the ability to quickly publish results can be of particular advantage in conflict and post-conflict scenarios, where a prolonged period of counting can heighten tensions and reduce confidence in the final results. The potential to remove some traditional elements of unintentional voter error or intentional fraud can also contribute to greater confidence, while at the same time raising new questions.
  • Topic: Democratization, Human Rights, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: At the invitation of the Palestinian Central Election Commission (CEC), the National Democratic Institute (NDI), in partnership with The Carter Center (TCC), organized a 76- member international delegation to monitor the January 2005 Palestinian presidential election. The delegation was led by former United States President Jimmy Carter, former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt and former New Jersey Governor and United States Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christine Todd Whitman, and supported by a grant from the United States Agency for International Development.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: In recent years discussions about the quality of democracy in the Western Hemisphere have focused increasing concern on the financing of political parties and their campaigns. Unlimited spending on campaigns is believed (correctly or not) to have raised the cost of elections to the point where poor candidates stand little chance of competing and the prospect of creating a level playing field for parties and their candidates has become decidedly remote. Undisclosed contributions of licit or illicit origin by wealthy donors have meanwhile intensified the dependence of elected officials on their campaign funders, increasing the likelihood that politicians respond to donor interests and hindering effective representation for the ordinary citizen in the making of public policy. In tandem, these trends are contributing to public cynicism about parties and candidates, and about the possibilities for meaningful citizen participation in politics.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Central America