The Challenge of Closely Fought Elections

Issue Date April 2007
Volume 18
Issue 2
Page Numbers 14-28
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A surprisingly large number of recent democratic elections have been closely fought. Many of these tight races attracted intense voter involvement and involved deeply consequential choices for their respective societies. The defense of democracy and the promotion of democratic values require constant vigilance; the persistent renewal of political participation on the part of the citizenry is a continuing, open-ended process. To keep the show on the road requires multiple and overlapping sources of reinforcement—legal and societal, domestic and external, local and national. But no sources of enforcement can substitute for a collective sense of tolerance, openness, and fair play.

About the Author

Laurence Whitehead is senior research fellow in politics at Nuffield College, Oxford University. His books include Latin America: A New Interpretation (2006).

View all work by Laurence Whitehead