Elections have three main functions in a democracy. First, they are means of choosing the people’s representatives to a legislature, congress, or other representative forum, or to a single office such as the presidency. Second, elections are not just a means of choosing representatives but also of choosing governments. Indeed, in practice, elections are primarily a contest between competing political parties to see who will control the government. Finally, elections are a means of conferring legitimacy on the political system. Especially since the end of the Cold War and the third wave of democracy around the world, elections have become an essential element in constituting a legitimate government. Today, very few states in the world do not conduct elections, although the competitiveness and quality of these vary enormously.
|Title of host publication||Elections in Dangerous Places: Democracy and the Paradoxes of Peacebuilding|
|Place of Publication||Montreal Canada|
|Publisher||McGill-Queen's University Press|
|Publication status||Published - 2011|