Incumbent national leaders invite foreign election monitors only when it is in their interest to do so. Rarely is significant financial assistance "conditional" on holding elections, although it does improve a regime's image abroad to do so. For governments being observed, the trick is to orchestrate the process enough to win, but not enough to arouse observers' suspicions.

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Copyright © 1998 Middle East Research and Information Project. This article first appeared in Middle East Report 209 28:4 (1998), 17-20, 40.

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