Our Programmes



Sign up to our newsletter.

Follow ODI

Elections, legitimacy and transitions: lessons from emerging democracies

Time (GMT +00) 13:00 13:00


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 5 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 have also been one of the leading areas through which the international community has sought to support emerging democracies. Elections hold tremendous promise to deepen the quality of democratic governance but they can also be problematic, and their benefits are by no means assured. This is why elections should command attention and priority.

This series of events, which is part of a wider ODI initiative, in partnership with International IDEA and BBC Media Action, on “Why elections matter: Assessing the quality of governance in emerging democracies”, will further on-going debates on elections and their relationship with democratisation and political transitions, pulling together insights and lessons that have emerged about both the opportunities that elections offer and some of the challenges they raise.