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Making elections count

Elections are often a barometer for the state of democracy in a country, and are part of the political process. As such, donors need to be aware that their role is limited, as is their influence on the process or results. Too often, donor support for elections is focused on the months or weeks in the run-up to polling day, and is based on the provision of observers and technical assistance. Donors are, increasingly, recognising the limitations of their current approach, and the Opinion encourages them to shift to longer-term and consistent support to the electoral process. This would direct aid as necessary to a broad range of actors, whose effective participation in elections is essential. This would include non-state actors such as political parties, the media, and national election observers. Above all, donors should avoid 'one size fits all' approaches.