It is difficult to avoid electoral rigging, ensure transparency and integrity, and remove defects in vote tabulation. The issue has become a significant cause of concern for practitioners and scholars who research democracy and electoral competitions. There is no focus on the fundamentals of a democratic condition, that is, there are insufficient structures to guarantee the rule of law is maintained in order to protect and encourage human rights in matters of representation and political engagement (Iturralde 321). Availability of justice is needed at all levels from local to international to prevent violation of such rights alongside the conforming restitution and remedies. Political rights are no different from another human rights and therefore, the correlation between electoral integrity and the rule of law is self-evident.
The Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and Security recommends that the efforts of protecting and promoting electoral integrity must remain constant commitments. Legal frameworks must be reviewed continuously to provide level playfield for political contestations to uphold justice and fairness (Sweet and Brunell 68). Effective remedies are highly needed by administrative bodies in charge of elections as well as the courts where political contestants can seek legal redress instead of resorting to violence and ensure citizens are confident about overcoming tussles in their political conflicts. Furthermore, the commission recommends the civil society organizations to monitor and report on how state institutions carry out their functions regarding the issue of elections. Governments are called upon to protect and promote the integrity of an electoral process by strengthening the rule of law. Such actions ensures that citizens and political competitors have a legal redress on which they can exercise their rights regarding to elections.
The world lacks an ideal formula to use in organizing elections, resolve complaints and assure free and fair elections. Institutions put in place to oversee the process are planned based on various needs, context and the degree of institutionalization (Hall and Wang 97). The correlation between the independence of these institutions and their specialized nature in ensuring democratic nature highlights the roles they play in strengthening democratization processes and spearheading redress against abuse of human rights. Electoral justice draws very little attention from the international agenda that is meant to support electoral dispute resolutions. There are very limited contemporary mechanisms of to give priority to electoral justice in outlining the rules of the game and neglected roles and resources necessary to arbitrate the set rules.
Consolidating a rock-solid electoral justice systems fosters the integrity of an electoral process, advance the rule of law and democracy and enhance confidence among the electorates as well as the competitors (“Gender Equality and Justice Programming” 6). Regarding the advancement of democracy, arguments that advocate for the creation of independent electoral institutions emphasize the significance of these bodies in enhancing democratic transparency as well as technical efficiency. Considering the experience in Latin America, the emphasis can extend to the judicial systems that guarantee justice in protecting political rights. For example, the formation of tribunals, special courts, electoral councils, or juries are normally done based on the constitution to solve electoral disputes. The constitution has been the primary element in consolidating and transitioning democracy in Latin America. Institutional alterations which have facilitated the development of democracy to strengthen electoral justice is Mexico is associated with the discourse between the national and foreign instances.
Establishing legal frameworks that uphold independent electoral justice institutions is the prior step in fostering citizen confidence. However, it is important to adopt supporting policies that enhance complete impartiality and independence (Kent 1041). The most significant consideration revolves around functional independence despite institutional forms. Appropriate budgetary procedures and legal frameworks helps in ensuring impartiality, whereas sessions and public hearings strengthen the confidence of the citizens. Timely release of information in the public domain fosters transparency and accountability. Provision of legal frameworks is merely a starting point as complete implementation is the most important.
Building a strong rule of law regarding electoral processes depend on accessibility to justice to address the issues of political rights and participation (Shany 241). Therefore, it is essential for states to take remedies to solve the violation of freedom and other human rights during an election process-including the time before the start electoral campaigns. Effective remedies provide sufficient and timely restitution. They also imply an obligation for relevant authorities of the state to bring an end to abuse of human rights associated with electoral and political participation. The principles discussed below highlights the appropriate remedies necessary there is a violation of the said rights.
Effectiveness and equality in accessing justice; victims of political rights violations need equal access to a judicial remedy which is effective and impartial (Stephanopoulos 813). This principle requires the state disseminate information on all remedies available to sort out the abuse of political human rights (Orozco-Henríquez et al 18). Measures are needed to reduce the inconveniences caused to stakeholders as well as their representatives. Protection against unlawful interference on matters concerning privacy is equally important to safeguard them against intimidations and retaliations. Such protection must be provided before, during or after all proceedings that may have an impact on stakeholders’ interests.
Prompt, adequate, and effective reparation for the damages caused; to encourage impartiality by redressing violations of human rights regarding electoral and political participation. Compensation must be promotional cruelty of the violations the consequential damages caused to the victims (Ganuzas 13). This principle requires two criteria to be satisfied: firstly restitution should restore stakeholders to situation before their human rights were violated. Appropriate restitution includes reinstatement of liberty, gratification of identity, human rights, family life, and reimbursement of employment and restoration of candidacy. Secondly, compensation is based on assessable economic damages as proportionate to the level of the violations and corresponding circumstances.
Accessibility to relevant information regarding violations and the available mechanisms of reparation; States must disseminate information openly and effectively regarding the available legal remedies (Ríos-Figueroa and Pozas-Loyo 298). The information should be accessed in simple and clear language to ensure all stakeholders understand. A society’s ability to solve disputes without violence demands information, debates, interaction of citizens and their essential participation in governance. These are the elements that can help people change their mindset to allow their government make the right decisions. Elections conducted with high levels of integrity are vital in strengthening democracy, thus opening room for healthy discussions on how to address key issues.
Elections are the conventional mechanisms to peacefully transfer power and arbitrate political rivalry. However, many elections around the world have proven to be deeply destabilizing to an extent of triggering conflicts and violence. This policy brief offers advice to countries on ways of strengthening their legitimacy and integrity of their elections to prevent violence related to elections. Legitimate elections that uphold a high level of integrity lays the foundation for, trust, transparency, and accountability in governance.
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