Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Former Irish President Mary Robinson (L) with former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirfleaf—both members of The Elders—at U.N. Headquarters in New York on June 19, 2019. (Photo: Luiz Rampelotto/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Two members of The Elders—Chairperson and former Irish President Mary Robinson (L), and former Liberian President and Nobel Laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (R)—at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City on Human Rights Day on June 11, 2019. (Photo: Luiz Rampelotto/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The Elders, Founded by Nelson Mandela, Warn 'Baseless Accusations' of Voter Fraud by Trump Threaten Democracy Worldwide

Calling on American president to "accept the verdict" of voters, group warns of "far-reaching consequences" beyond U.S. borders.

Brett Wilkins

A group of prominent former world leaders on Thursday expressed "deep concern" over President Donald Trump's refusal to concede defeat to President-elect Joe Biden in the U.S. presidential election, warning that his failure to do so is "putting at risk the functioning of American democracy."

The Elders—a group that includes numerous former heads of state and government, as well as cabinet ministers, diplomats, activists, two former United Nations secretaries-general, and seven Nobel Peace Prize recipients—issued a statement decrying the "continued assertions of electoral fraud" by Trump, leading members of his administration, and the Republican Party.

"Continued baseless accusations of subversion risk further deepening the instability and polarization in American society, and eroding public faith in institutions that is the bedrock of democratic life."
—The Elders

Such allegations lack "any compelling evidence" and "convey a lack of respect for the integrity and independence of the democratic and legal institutions of the United States," the group said.

Warning of "far-reaching consequences beyond the United States' borders," The Elders said "those who stand to benefit from the current impasse are autocratic rulers and malign actors who wish to undermine democracy and the rule of law across the world."

"Notwithstanding any continuing legal challenges, President Trump should follow the example set by his predecessors and declare himself willing to accept the verdict cast by the American people at the ballot box," the group added. "The executive powers available to the president until his successor assumes office... should be used judiciously in the interests of the whole United States, rather than for partisan gain."

"Continued baseless accusations of subversion risk further deepening the instability and polarization in American society, and eroding public faith in institutions that is the bedrock of democratic life," it warned. 

Mary Robinson, chair of The Elders and a former Irish president, added: "It is shocking to have to raise concerns about U.S. democratic processes as The Elders have previously commented on volatile and undemocratic situations in states such as Kenya, Sri Lanka, and Zimbabwe."

"President Trump's refusal thus far to facilitate a smooth transition weakens democratic values," stressed Robinson. "His fellow Republicans must now affirm their faith in the U.S. Constitution, democratic institutions, and the rule of law, so the country can begin a process of reconciliation."

This is the second time The Elders have weighed in on the U.S. presidential election this week. On Monday, the group released a statement congratulating Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on their victory and expressing hope that "the incoming administration, as well as seeking to unite a divided country, will seize the opportunity to renew America's commitment to the multilateral system at a time when U.S. leadership is urgently needed."

"This includes taking a leading role in efforts to keep global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees Celsius by recommitting the U.S. to the Paris climate agreement, supporting global collaboration on tackling Covid-19 by reversing plans to withdraw funding for the World Health Organization, and prioritizing the strengthening of nuclear arms controls," the statement said. 

Created in 2007 by anti-apartheid activist, Nobel Peace Laureate and former South African President Nelson Mandela, The Elders works to promote "a world where people live in peace, conscious of their common humanity and their shared responsibilities for each other, for the planet, and for future generations."

Current members include former U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, and former Liberian President and Nobel Peace Laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Among the group's former members are four Nobel Peace Prize recipients: former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, South African archbishop and anti-apartheid activist Desmond Tutu, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari. 


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Rights Groups Demand Hearings on the 'Fourth Amendment Is Not For Sale Act'

"The longer Congress waits," warned one advocate, "the stronger and more dangerous this industry will become."

Kenny Stancil ·


Democrats Urge Biden to Abandon Dangerous Trump Policies on Nuclear Weapons

With the Nuclear Posture Review, say congressional lawmakers, the president can ensure "future generations can finally be free from the nuclear sword of Damocles that hangs over all our heads."

Andrea Germanos ·


'There Is No Military Solution': Jayapal, Lee Demand Diplomacy on Ukraine

"We call upon our colleagues to allow the administration to find a diplomatic way out of this crisis," said the progressive Democrats.

Jake Johnson ·


Gun-Maker Slammed for 'Children's Assault Rifles' Based on AR-15

"At first glance, this comes across as a grotesque joke," said one gun control advocate. "On second look, it's just grotesque."

Jessica Corbett ·


Biden Urged to Nominate Black Woman to Supreme Court as Breyer Says He'll Retire

"President Biden has an opportunity to secure a seat on the bench for a justice committed to protecting our democracy and the constitutional rights of all Americans, including the freedom to vote."

Brett Wilkins ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo