Voting highs and lows
• Voter participation in competitive elections has declined from an average of 78 per cent in 1945 to 71 per cent in the 1990s.
• Some 86 per cent of voters participated in the first democratic election in East Timor in 2001.
• In February 2001 90 per cent of registered voters in Bahrain turned out to support a referendum to establish a democratically elected chamber in parliament and to set up an independent judiciary.
• Five of the top democracies in voter turnout – Australia, Belgium, Liechtenstein, Nauru and Singapore – enforce compulsory voting laws.
• In Africa 21 out of 53 nations are electoral democracies, though corruption mars many campaigns in the region.
• In Ghana, a president who seized power in a 1981 coup was prevented from continuing a third term by the nation’s constitution. The nation’s first democratic election in 2000 voted in opposition leader John Kufour as president.