The questionable Zimbabwe election is fresh proof that in the modern world, elections have less and less to do with democracy. The incumbent leader, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was declared winner on Friday and his party, Zanu-PF, gained a constitutional majority in parliament. The manipulated outcome was the global norm rather than an exception. Zimbabwe was an important test case for democratisation through elections given its post-colonial history. Robert Mugabe, who ruled the country for more than 37 years, had transformed himself from a revered national liberation leader into a dictator determined to hold on to power until he died. He was 93 when Mnangagwa, his on-and-off favorite for succession, deposed him in a military coup last year. Despite Mnangagwa’s history of violence and intrigue (he had served as Mugabe’s chief enforcer, forming the ties within the military that later helped him take power), some Western analysts were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. They hoped ...

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