United States president Donald Trump. (File picture: Evan Vucci/AP
United States president Donald Trump. (File picture: Evan Vucci/AP

'Elders' group founded by Mandela urges Donald Trump to accept election defeat

By Reuters Time of article published Nov 12, 2020

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Geneva - The Elders, a group of prominent former world leaders, voiced concern on Thursday at US President Donald Trump's refusal to concede electoral defeat, saying it showed disrespect for the integrity of American democracy.

The group was founded by late former South African President Nelson Mandela and is now chaired by former Irish President Mary Robinson.

It includes Mandela's widow Graca Machel, former UN Secretary-General Ban ki-moon, Nobel Peace Prize-winning former presidents of Colombia and Liberia, and an array of other former world leaders. Former US President Jimmy Carter is an emeritus member.

Trump's position was "putting at risk the functioning of American democracy", the group said, calling for him to accept the verdict of the ballot box.

The Elders are a group of former world leaders brought together by Nelson Mandela. From L to R: Hina Jilani, human rights defender from Pakistan, Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland, Kofi Annan, former secretary-general of the United Nations, Ernesto Zedillo, former president of Mexico, Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway, Martti Ahtisaari, former president of Finland, Jimmy Carter, former US president, Ela Bhatt, founder of India's SEWA (Self Employed Women's Association), Graca Machel, advocate for women and children's rights, former Education Minister of Mozambique. File picture:Jeff Moore/The Elders/SAPA

Trump has focused on efforts to overturn the Nov. 3 election's results in closely contested states, despite presenting no evidence of irregularities that could affect the outcome, and a skeptical reception from judges.

"The continued assertions of electoral fraud by the President and some senior members of the Administration and of the Republican Party, offered as yet without any compelling evidence, convey a lack of respect for the integrity and independence of the democratic and legal institutions of the United States," the Elders said in a statement.

"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."

Robinson, who served as UN human rights chief, noted that The Elders had previously commented on "volatile and undemocratic situations in states such as Kenya, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe".

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