10 things to know about democracy and elections

Available in English and Spanish


Recent events in Egypt remind us that the road from ballot box to stable democracy is never straightforward. This infographic cuts through the complexity, presenting ten key facts.


  1. Most countries today are formal democracies
  2. Over one in three people live in authoritarian systems
  3. Elections have become almost universal
  4. Most leaders in Africa are replaced by ballots, not bullets
  5. But elections are not always peaceful
  6. The quality of many of these democracies remains deeply flawed
  7. Alternations of power remain remarkably limited in sub-Saharan Africa
  8. The wealthiest countries tend to be democracies
  9. The total number of women elected to parliament has almost doubled since 1997
  10. Expensive elections are not necessarily better

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