The basic pillar of democracy is to have free and fair election in every country.
The principles of democratic elections are included in international treaties, national constitutions and laws. The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights declared the right to vote as a basic human right in 1948. The establishment of general and equal suffrage, direct and secret voting is such a great value for mankind that it has to be considered by every politician, civil servant and the electorate as a direction given to democracy. Elections are a necessary means of checking the state power, ensuring that parliaments and governments in office serve the interest of both the society and the individual.
Generally, during the election process, political parties are competing in order to show social, political and economic alternatives of development. It is a fundamental right of voters to express their support or rejection regarding candidates and parties, by casting their votes. Democracy defines the framework in which all the constitutional organizations may find their places. Political parties defeated in the elections shall have the right to bring up new arguments and to gather new supporters for the next elections.
Education of the electorate, especially that of first-time voters, is the duty of the press and media. Without the freedom of the press, it is meaningless to talk about free elections.
The majority of the countries in the world are committed to regularly organizing presidential, parliamentary and municipal elections.
The fair and transparent conduct of elections, the prevention of fraud and the ensuring of legal remedy processes are highly important duties of the election experts. Political and social values may only be realized if the legitimacy of elections is unquestionable. Accordingly, election experts shall accomplish their work in an impartial manner.
Some countries in the world remain uncommitted towards democratic elections. Election experts do not always act impartially. The challenge we face as election administrators is to make democratic elections a fundamental pillar of democracy in every country.
From 14 to 17 September 2005, election experts from all around the world participated in the Global Election Officials Conference in Hungary. Through this conference they sent an important message about the vital need to strengthen the process of democratic development throughout the world. Because of the importance of this message the participants have launched an initiative to hold an annual ‘Global Elections Day’ on the first Thursday of February every year.
The main goals of this day are:
confirming our belief in the irreversibility of democratic processes;
informing the public of new achievements and challenges related to various types of voting systems;
draw the attention of parliaments, governments, politicians and world leaders on the importance of their leadership role that they play in promoting a culture of democracy and high levels of voter participation;
influencing first-time voters and young voters to commit themselves to democratic values.
Participants of the Conference proposed to initiate an annual Global Elections Day celebration in each country. They also enlisted the support of international organizations like the United Nations. On Global Elections Day the organizers hold seminars, workshops and roundtable discussions on the importance of democratic elections. They will also focus their attention on the history of elections and democratic culture and the challenge of organizing credible and transparent elections. The organizers shall invite important personalities, first- time voters, foreign guests and press representatives to participate in these events.
The first thursday of February is proposed as the date to celebrate the Global Elections Day because most of the international agreements in the field of elections were signed on or around this date.