Free and fair : the politicization of election monitoring reports
Pereira, Lucilia DaSilva
Democracy development techniques such as international election monitoring have increasingly become commonplace. Monitors are sent to far off locations to scrutinize the electoral processes and determine whether or not they have met the free and fair standards as established by their mandates. The term free and fair however, has become a catchphrase amongst many of those involved in the election monitoring and democracy development fields. The phrase is often interpreted loosely and is rarely clearly defined. Despite the recognition of the term’s often differing interpretations, it remains a commonly used standard. The 2005 Ethiopian Elections demonstrate that free and fair, when interpreted differently by international electoral observers, can have consequential results. The thesis provides a political analysis of the Carter Center’s and European Union’s international election monitoring final reports of the 2005 Ethiopian elections. Following the 2005 Ethiopian elections the Carter Center’s and the European Union’s electoral observation reports became highly politicized. In the post election period, the two organizations came to different conclusions in regards to the validity of the electoral process. At the core of these differences were the organizations’ differing conceptions of what constitutes free and fair electoral practices. In the post election period the European Union’s and Carter Center’s reports have been pitted against one and other as those concerned with the election results seek to make sense of the reports. This thesis is significant because it asks relevant questions about the consequences of differing understandings of free and fair. The thesis seeks to provide insight into international election monitoring and provide recommendations to improve the process.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
SupervisorSteeves, Jeffrey S.
CommitteeWheeler, Ron; Stock, Robert; Deonandan, Kalowatie
Copyright DateOctober 2006