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Democracy Program - Articles by Carter Center Experts

Oct. 21, 2014
Peaceful Poll Offers Hope for Struggling Mozambique
John Stremlau, published by Business Day.
MOZAMBIQUE's peaceful election last Wednesday was in our view far more competitive, transparent and inclusive than earlier ones we also observed. The poll should offer fresh hope for peace and prosperity in a country still struggling to overcome entrenched poverty, rising inequality, and risks of renewed conflict and authoritarian rule.

Sept. 9, 2014
U.S. Elections: High Public Confidence, Low Voter Turnout (PDF)
Published by Capitol Ideas: The Council of State Governments (pages 38-39).
Over the last 25 years, the Carter Center has observed nearly 100 elections in 38 countries around the world. These experiences have generated a wealth of information about electoral practices across the globe. In addition, they provide an interesting basis to compare how elections are conducted in the U.S. A quick review suggests that while elections in the U.S. are generally of high quality and enjoy broad public confidence, the U.S. compares unfavorably with other democracies in a number of areas and/or fall short of widely recognized international benchmarks.

July 3, 2014
Lessons from the First Two 'Global Nations'
John Stremlau, published by Business Day.
MOST South Africans may never have heard of New Haven, Connecticut, a northeastern US coastal city where several hundred civic, business, local government and education leaders gathered last Saturday for SA Now: Reflecting on 20 Years of Democracy.

May 2, 2014
Oxford Scholars Witness SA's Soft Power
John Stremlau, published by Business Day (South Africa).
DEPARTING Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe went to Oxford University last week to give the keynote address at an international meeting of experts on South Africa. With a huge African National Congress (ANC) win in next week's elections a foregone conclusion, he discussed South Africa's democratic future with remarkable candour, confidence and concern.

Jan. 7, 2014
Madagascar Offers Lessons for Troubled States
John Stremlau,Cassam Uteem, and Dennis Kadima op-ed, published by Business Day Edition.
Madagascar's December 20 elections are a victory for multilateral diplomacy led by the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) backed by political and economic sanctions imposed by democracies, including France, the US, the African Union and the United Nations, with the endorsement of China.

March 1, 2013
The Carter Center and Election Observation: An Obligations-Based Approach for Assessing Elections (PDF)
Published by the Election Law Journal.
Carter Center experts David Carroll and Avery Davis-Roberts provide an overview of the Center's spearheading efforts to re-establish international human rights norms and standards as the basis of assessment for election observation missions. Carroll and Davis-Roberts also detail the practical tools developed by the Center to further the field of election observation, including the Database of Obligations for Democratic Elections, and forthcoming publications such as the Center's methodology handbook.

Nov. 27, 2012
Two-Party Politics a Boon for Sierra Leone
John Stremlau op-ed, published by BDlive.
Successful elections were held in Sierra Leone this month, another African good news story barely noted amid the headlines of the latest conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Middle East. But the 50-year sentence given to former Liberian head of state Charles Taylor earlier this year by an international tribunal for war crimes in Sierra Leone points to the history of horrors in that corner of Africa, which prompted journalist Robert Kaplan to famously forecast a "coming anarchy" - a proliferation of Sierra Leone-like failed states threatening global peace and security.

Nov. 29, 2010
International Obligation for Electoral Dispute Resolution (PDF)
Drafted by Avery Davis-Roberts, senior program associate, Carter Center Democracy Program, for the Experts Meeting on Electoral Dispute Resolution that took place Feb. 24 -25, 2009, in Atlanta, Ga.
The Carter Center has been working for some time with partner organizations and experts in the field of election observation and electoral assistance to identify and articulate criteria for assessing democratic elections based on public international law (PIL). 2 While these efforts have focused on the entire electoral process, electoral dispute resolution was identified as a topic requiring further research and exploration.

May 1, 2010
Using International Law to Assess Elections (PDF)
Published by Democratization.
This paper provides an overview of the framework developed by The Carter Center and other election observation groups to identify existing obligations for democratic elections in Public International Law and link these obligations to criteria for assessing electoral processes. The authors argue that this approach for election observation is more transparent, objective, and acceptable to host countries because it is based on states' acknowledged international legal commitments, and that this approach provides a solid foundation for building broad consensus on what constitutes 'international standards for democratic elections,' an often-used term for which there still is no single commonly accepted definition.

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