Work Area: Supporting Democracy and Elections with Integrity

Initiative: Electoral Integrity initiative (EII)

As part of its work in support of democracy and elections with integrity, the Foundation’s Electoral Integrity initiative convenes some of the world’s most respected elder statesmen and women, as well as the world’s foremost experts on electoral integrity. With the help of this unique network, the Kofi Annan Foundation works with countries on how to strengthen the integrity and legitimacy of their electoral processes and avoid election-related violence, so that elected officials can govern peaceably in a climate of trust.

A threat to peace:

  • In 2018, seventy-one countries suffered net declines in political rights and civil liberties, with only 35 registering gains, according to Freedom House.1
  • In 2019, over 80 countries face critical elections.
  • Kofi Annan and the Kofi Annan Foundation emphasised that the digital age poses a new set of challenges for elections and democracy, particularly in the Global South.

An African woman using her laptop while sitting against a wall.

What we did in 2018:

  • As part of the strategy to support electoral integrity in Latin America, Kofi Annan travelled to Mexico City in May, ahead of the country’s presidential elections. Joined by the former president of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla and a delegation from the Foundation, Mr Annan met with President Enrique Peña Nieto, members of his cabinet, leadership of Mexico’s Electoral Commission and the Electoral Court and engaged the country’s political parties ahead of the largest democratic exercise in the country’s history.
  • While in Mexico, Mr Annan and President Chinchilla presented the Foundation’s landmark report entitled “Electoral Integrity in Latin America.”
  • In April, Mr Annan travelled to Silicon Valley to meet leaders from the tech industry to discuss the challenges to electoral integrity in the digital age. He paved the way for the formation of a Commission which will identify policies and tools to mitigate the risks while harnessing the opportunities of the digital age.
  • In what was to be his last mission, Mr Annan and a delegation from the Foundation met key actors from political life and civil society in Zimbabwe, working towards free, fair and transparent elections. Mary Robinson and Lakhdar Brahimi of The Elders joined Mr Annan.
  • In November, the Foundation facilitated a coalition agreement between opposition parties in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The deal saw the opposition come together around a single candidate for the first time in Congolese history.
  • In December, the Foundation co-hosted a roundtable discussion in Kuala Lumpur on electoral reform in Malaysia. The conversation sought to unite Malaysia’s main political actors, such as members of parliament, civil society representatives and political parties, behind a common electoral reform agenda. The recommendations were presented to the government in early 2019.


A ballot box at an election.

What we are doing now:

  • In early 2019 we launched the Kofi Annan Commission on Elections and Democracy in the Digital Age – made up of political leaders, technology experts and academics who will examine the perils and prospects for electoral integrity and democracy in the digital era.
  • The Commission will build on the work done by the Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and Security, who presented a roadmap in 2012 for safeguarding electoral integrity worldwide.
  • Simultaneously we are monitoring potentially fraught and violent elections around the world and are ready to deploy high–level delegations to work for peaceful, free and fair elections on the spot.
  • The Foundation will also continue to assess democratic trends on a regional basis and support regional networks of electoral stakeholders through engagements across Southern and Eastern Africa.