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Why elections matter: assessing the quality of governance in emerging democracies

​An astonishing political transformation has taken place around the world over the past three decades. Today, a majority of countries are ‘electoral democracies’. Even the Middle East, a region that long seemed immune to democratisation, is in the midst of momentous change. In country after country, people have risked their lives to call for free elections, and elections have been held in all but 11 countries since 2000. Clearly, there is a lot more to democracy than elections — but elections are among its most visible elements, and they have become almost universal.

Elections hold tremendous promise to deepen the quality of democratic governance but their benefits are by no means assured. This is why elections should command attention and priority. This ODI page brings together key documents, reports, opinion pieces and research that ODI researchers have developed or been involved with around elections, with regular updates on important electoral themes and ongoing electoral processes worldwide.