Quality of elections in Italy: a promising research field. Special issue introduction
- Quality of Elections
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Copyright (c) 2024 Stefano Rombi, Fulvio Venturino
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Elections have become a common practice worldwide. This is partly a consequence of the spread of democracy beyond Western regions, a process that began in the second wave of democratization and has continued since the 1970s, when a third wave commenced. Additionally, it is due to the emergence of political systems that blend electoral procedures with a flawed application of the rule of law. As a result of the increasing importance of these so-called hybrid regimes, labels such as ‘illiberal democracy’ and ‘electoral authoritarianism’ are widely used – albeit somewhat criticized – in the field of comparative politics.
While different types of political systems utilize elections, their function is not the same everywhere. Only in liberal democracies are elections a means of selecting rulers. However, even in those cases where effective competition exists, flaws may affect the electoral procedures. This explains why the quality of elections concept has gained significant relevance in recent research. But what exactly does ‘quality of elections’ mean?