Abuse of State Resources

The misuse of state resources can be a major corruptive force in the electoral process, as it introduces or exacerbates power inequalities and gives unfair electoral advantage to incumbents. These abuses can compromise the integrity of an election, and reduce public trust in the legitimacy of the process and its outcomes. The long-term harmful effects of the abuse of state resources on the rule of law are palpable when public employees, courts and security forces go above the law – either intentionally or under duress – to act in the interest of a ruling party rather than the country.

The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) seeks to assist countries in developing strong legal and regulatory frameworks that help prevent the misuse of state resources and address abuses when they are committed. This is done through comparative analysis of relevant laws and regulations, and an examination of the effectiveness of these provisions in deterring or remedying these abuses. Additionally, IFES examines how abuses of political finance rules and the misuse of state resources along with other breaches of election integrity further reinforce corrupt governance through civil society monitoring and as part of political finance country assessments.

Examples of IFES research initiatives in this area include:

  • Identifying examples of state interventions that have achieved some success in preventing and or addressing the abuse of state resources within their respective legal and regulatory frameworks, focusing on addressing specific abuses of institutional and financial resources in IFES’ white paper “Unfair Advantage: The Abuse of State Resources in Elections.” 
  • Identifying various methods of how countries regulate the abuse of state resources, and problems experienced in implementing these regulations in IFES’ white paper on the “Abuse of State Resources.” 
  • Developing a globally comparative evaluation methodology, based on in-depth review of laws and regulations that address the abuse of state resources and the effectiveness of these provisions in deterring or remedying these abuses
  • Holding workshops on effective monitoring and reporting of abuses of state resources during election campaigns