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Establishing electoral administration systems in new democracies

  • Kawanaka, Takeshi
  • Asaba, Yuki

The difficulty of holding fair elections continues to be a critical problem in many newly democratized countries. The core of the problem is the electoral administration's lack of political autonomy and capability to regulate fraud. This paper seeks to identify the conditions for establishing an autonomous and capable electoral administration system. An electoral administration system has two main functions: to disclose the nature of elections and to prevent fraud. We argue in this paper that an autonomous and capable electoral administration system exists if the major political players have the incentive to disclose the information on the elections and to secure the ruler's credible commitment to fair elections. We examine this argument through comparative case studies of Korea and the Philippines. Despite similar historical and institutional settings, their election commissions exhibit contrasting features. The difference in the incentive structures of the major political players seems to have caused the divergence in the institutional evolution of the election commissions in the two countries.

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File Function: First version, 2011
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Paper provided by Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO) in its series IDE Discussion Papers with number 305.

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Date of creation: Aug 2011
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Publication status: Published in IDE Discussion Paper. No. 305. 2011.8
Handle: RePEc:jet:dpaper:dpaper305
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  1. James D. Fearon, 2011. "Self-Enforcing Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 1661-1708.
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