The current challenges to electoral democracy go beyond good election administration

By Leena Rikkilä Tamang
Regional Director, International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA)

The International IDEA Global State of Democracy Indices data supports that procedural democracy (particularly elections) is in good health in India and Australia, consistently outperforming global and regional averages.


There are, however, major challenges posed to electoral processes and public trust in them worldwide by the impact of social media and cyber-hacking. Both the Australian Electoral Commission and the Electoral Commission of India are taking important steps to respond to these risks.

The major challenges facing democracy in India and Australia are in the more diffuse areas of substantive democracy, such as the protection of fundamental rights, which of course unavoidably spill into the electoral process.

The graphic below illustrates how democracy is conceptualised at IDEA, which consequently forms the spine of IDEA’s Global State of Democracy (GSOD) data.

Elections run well are an immensely valuable indicator of a healthily functioning democracy, but alone they are not enough.

As can be seen, election-related indicators fall under broader themes such as ‘Representative Government’ and ‘Participatory Engagement’ and are, of course, intimately related to the other indicators in the GSOD framework.

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Banner image courtesy of Australia Electoral Commission.


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