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FREIDENBERG, Flavia. What Constitutes a Good Election? Employing Reports on Electoral Observation Missions to Evaluate Latin American Electoral Processes (2013-2016). Dados [online]. 2017, vol.60, n.4, pp.1095-1142. ISSN 1678-4588.

Although elections lie at the heart of representative democracy, a lack of consensus remains on what constitutes a good election, as do guarantees that the political practices developed meet quality, legitimacy, and credibility criteria set by internationally-established parameters. Elections in many countries considered to be democratic are also rife with irregularities, cases of malpractice, and problems with electoral governance. The following article suggests defining a “good election” as one which necessarily satisfies three conditions: a) respect for the international standards of electoral integrity (procedure); b) a guaranteeing of the exercise of a series of political rights (content), and c) a satisfying of citizens’ expectations on the way in which elections are organized and their aims achieved (result). By means of an evaluation of Reports on Electoral Observation Missions (2013-2016) carried out by the Organization of American States, we demonstrate that although election quality levels increased in the period for two key facets (technical organization and that regarding political rights), problems remain in terms of the results, as well as in terms of content.

Keywords : elections; international observation missions; electoral integrity; Organization of American States; Latin America.

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