About Vidar Helgesen
Vidar Helgesen is secretary-general of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA). He formerly served as special advisor to the president of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Geneva (1998-2001), and as deputy minister of foreign affairs of Norway (2001-05)
Articles by Vidar Helgesen
The online discussion about the future of democracy-support, jointly initiated and undertaken by International IDEA and openDemocracy in 2008-09, has been impelled by a particular, even unique, moment in the evolution of this phenomenon and the ideas that underlie it. The time has seemed propitious for harvesting views and perspectives about the future of an ambitious project that both carries the scars of a tormented recent history and continues to raise controversies among its protagonists and intended beneficiaries alike. The second International Day of Democracy - 15 September 2009 - seems an appropriate moment to take stock and look ahead.
Vidar Helgesen is secretary-general of the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA)
Also by Vidar Helgesen in openDemocracy, the opening article in this series:
"Democracy support: where now?" (17 November 2008)
It has indeed been a tumultuous two decades. Democracy-support's highpoint in the mid-1990s was succeeded by a sobering turn of the millennium. What followed soon after, however, was to overshadow almost the entire decade that has followed: the tragedy of 11 September 2001, which had the potential of creating new unity of purpose in the international community but instead resulted in a deeply divisive backlash.
It also became clear in these years that the waves of democratisation that had washed over central-east Europe and Latin America in the late 1980s and after would not simply spill over to the rest of the world; and that the 21st century would not be a straightforward runway from which democracy would serenely launch itself out into the "end of history" and beyond. On the contrary, it became increasingly apparent that deep global fractures - between the north and south, the west and the Muslim/Arab worlds, and (not least) at the multilateral level, between the development and the democracy-building agendas - required urgent attention.
Amid these unfolding processes, two political earthquakes centred on the United States shook the world, each of which continues to have a major impact on the subject-matter of this debate: the implosion of the Wall Street financial system and the election as president of Barack Obama. It is evident that a new political and financial landscape is being shaped that will necessarily influence the debate on the future of democracy-support.Also in the debate on democracy support co-hosted by the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) and openDemocracy:
Vidar Helgesen, "Democracy support: where now?" (17 November 2008)
Rein Müllerson, "Democracy: history, not destiny" (25 November 2008)
Monika Ericson & Mélida Jiménez, "Taking stock of democracy" (17 December 2008)
Kristen Sample, "No hay mujeres: Latin America women and gender equality" (4 February 2009)
Ingrid Wetterqvist, Raul Cordenillo, Halfdan L Ottosen, Susanne Lindahl & Therese Arnewing, "The European Union and democracy-building" (10 February 2009)
Daniel Archibugi, "Democracy for export: principles, practices, lessons" (5 March 2009)
Asef Bayat, "Democracy and the Muslim world: the post-Islamist turn" (6 March 2009)
openDemocracy, "American democracy promotion: an open letter to Barack Obama" (11 March 2009) - a document hosted by the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy(CSID) and the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED)
Rodrigo de Almeida, "The inspectors of democracy" (16 March 2009)
Tarek Osman, "Democracy-support and the Arab world: after the fall" (17 March 2009)
Christopher Hobson & Milja Kurki, "Democracy and democracy-support: a new era" (20 March 2009)
Shadi Hamid, "Democracy's time: a reply to Tarek Osman" (6 April 2009)
Rumbidzai Kandawasvika-Nhundu, "The gender of democracy matters" (7 April 2009)
Vessela Tcherneva, "Moldova: time to choose" (9 April 2009)
Krzysztof Bobinski, "The partnership principle: Europe, democracy, and the east" (22 April 2009)
Winluck Wahiu & Paulos Tesfagiorgis, "Africa: constitution-building vs coup-making" (28 April 2009)
Achin Vanaik, "Capitalism and democracy" (29 April 2009)
Anna Lekvall, "Democracy and aid: the missing links" (13 May 2009)
Tarek Osman, "The Islamic world, the United States, democracy: response to Shadi Hamid" (15 May 2009)
Keith Brown, "Democracy on the ground: apathy, community and civil society" (25 May 2009)
Mariano Aguirre, "Democracy-promotion: doctrine vs dialogue" (14 July 2009)
Nicholas Benequista & John Gaventa, "Democracy-support: from recession to innovation" (5 August 2009)
Moreover - and as many of the excellent articles published in our debate have clearly shown - this emerging landscape provides a compelling incentive to broaden the debate beyond the standardised mental frameworks, templates and agendas of democracy-assistance; and in particular, the unhealthy division between "donors" and "beneficiaries".
There can be no meaningful debate about democracy-support without two things:
* A continuous questioning of the concept of democracy itself
* A keen awareness of changes in citizens' perception of democracy.
These are essential if ideas and arguments are to keep pace with democracy‘s evolution and the expression of fresh and critical perspectives on the phenomenon. Some of their elements have been induced - and others merely highlighted - by the financial meltdown and the shifting balance of interdependence and power in global politics.
The next sections of this article look at the possible impacts on democracy of financial turmoil and geopolitical reorientation, before drawing some conclusions about the overall future of democracy-support.
The financial crisis and democracy
The financial crisis first became unmistakeably apparent on "debtonation day", 9 August 2008, but was most spectacularly heralded by the collapse of Lehman Brothers on 14 September. Indeed, the very coincidence of the onset of the crisis and the first International Democracy Day is a potent indicator of the need to consider these phenomena within a single frame (see "Democracy beyond the crisis", International IDEA, 14 September 2009). A year on, some attempt can be made to discern the mixture of threats and opportunities this new period of economic turmoil may carry - both for the democracy-building agenda and for democracy itself in different countries and regions.
The field of observation is vast, not least as the current financial crisis appears to be both global and systemic: even emerging economies that at first seemed immune from the turmoil will be affected, though with many variations between countries and regions.
The absence of specific studies on the implications of the recession for democratic politics is striking. The economic and social implications of the crisis are being extensively analysed, but its impact on democracy - and the capacity of democratic governments to cope with its fallout - have been much less thoroughly investigated.
It is clear that the social costs of the downturn will affect democratic and authoritarian regimes alike. The former may find it more difficult to maintain high democratic standards while coping with social tensions induced by the crisis; the latter may find their capacity to provide prosperity as a substitute for democracy starting to wither.
The potential for rising levels of unemployment to feed political polarisation, extremism and violent xenophobia has already been demonstrated even in some "established" European democracies. In addition, the governments involved have not always found the political courage to condemn unequivocally these potent reminders of the darker corners of Europe's past.
Democratic governments in poorer countries face much harsher challenges. A combination of circumstances - falling revenues from exports of commodities, shrinking remittances, meagre or non-existent social safety-nets to shelter the new unemployed and migrant workers returning from the north - increases the likelihood that these countries will face greater levels of discontent. The same conditions make it very difficult for these governments to manage internal conflict peacefully, and within a democratic framework.
A number of projections highlight significant regional differences in the capacity of countries to cope with the global recession. Many Africans, for example, face abrupt and unsettling difficulties as a result of the crisis; the almost inevitable result is increased protest and political pressure on governments from citizens and voters. By contrast, there is little expectation of threats to democracy in Latin America, even if the financial crisis offers regimes with populist inclinations (such as those in Venezuela and Ecuador) an opportunity further to entrench their rhetoric. Meanwhile the unconstitutional takeover of power in Honduras is worrying on its own account, though it is difficult reasonably to link this to the financial turmoil.
China, with its fifth of the world's population, presents more questions than easy answers. The Communist Party has built considerable political capital on the back of its vigorous promotion of competitive yet authoritarian capitalism; economic growth-rates have somewhat contracted, yet the Chinese economy shows signs of an earlier bounce-back than those of major western countries. Will China's expanding role in the global economy and financial system render its political model more attractive to the rest of the world? Will it undermine western-supported democracy-building programmes in, for example, Africa?
These questions assume that the Chinese model is static: an assumption that may seem justified if the authorities' stubborn refusal to acknowledge what happened on Tiananmen Square in June 1989 is a guide. But if the country's millions of new unemployed, bubbling social discontent and estimated 50,000 local demonstrations a year are taken into account, a more sobering vision of the future takes shape in which such phenomena could at some stage acquire real political significance.
In any event, forecasting developments in the field of democracy is always a risky endeavour; for several less quantifiable factors - among them democratic culture, traditions, and levels of acceptance of diversity - also play important roles.
In this respect, the financial turmoil may do serious harm to the already sluggish progress being made towards greater gender equity and women's participation - a key dimension of democracy. Women already constitute the majority of the poor, and in an economic downturn they tend to lose their jobs before men. The crisis may make women's active engagement in politics an even less affordable luxury. Thus, the gender dimension of economic dislocation should be part of any dialogue about policy measures; and this is true both at national level (stimulus-packages, social-infrastructure spending, gender-responsive budgeting) and at the international level (for example, in the reform of the international financial institutions).
Beyond this, there are many uncertainties. All crises occur in a particular political and institutional vacuum; every one is in certain ways unique, part of its own historical and geopolitical context. To try to read the future from the effects of past financial crises may be useful, but nonetheless has its limits.
The financial crisis of the early 1990s, for example, unfolded against the backdrop of the recent fall of the Berlin wall. An almost unlimited faith in democracy was matched by an equally unlimited belief in the free market, privatisation and entrepreneurship. It could appear that these were partners destined for an enduring and happy marriage. At the time, good government began to be viewed as synonymous with small and non-intrusive government; and regulation as negative, or at best a necessary evil. These trends no longer apply. The recession of 2008-09 is widely perceived as connected to - perhaps even stemming from - the unrestrained and speculative behaviour of financial dealers in ultra-liberalised capital markets.
Indeed, the pendulum appears to be swinging back. The state is increasingly being again called upon to assume broader responsibilities; taxpayers/citizens want to hold the state accountable for what happens to their jobs, their savings and their pension-funds. Yet the political forces demanding increased accountability from the state are not necessarily the same today as two decades ago. It is notable that centre-right governments (or contenders for government) are among those arguing in favour of a strengthened role for the state - and in many European countries, centre-right parties are in the wake of the crisis doing well in elections. These shifts of emphasis may in turn be ushering in a different understanding of the basic relationship between citizens, the state and the private sector. The nature of this relationship is certainly becoming a core issue in current democratic debate.
The geopolitical shift and democracy
The impact of the second earthquake, the political one that brought the first African-American to the presidency of the global superpower, is a vital complement to the first. Barack Obama definitely speaks a different language from his predecessor. He is not persuaded of any "clash-of-civilisations' theory; and having candidly admitted his country's own share of responsibility for the current global predicament, he is moving to address some deep-rooted sources of conflict.
Obama's words are starting to influence seemingly intractable realities in the middle east and beyond. It is a matter of speculation as to how far his policy pronouncements have boosted the pro-democracy movement in Iran or influenced the elections in Lebanon, but this is certain: the new administration wants to change the US's image in the world, and is doing its best to make its approach here appear credible.
Europe, for its part, is not faced with the challenge of making an equivalently big leap. It already enjoys a better image; it is rather freer of the heavy legacy of the Iraq war; and it is less widely suspected of harbouring other, less admissible agendas behind the rhetoric of democracy-support. These findings are clearly reflected in the results of recent IDEA-led consultations, carried out with regional actors from all continents; they are among the resources for a review of European Union democracy-support policies during Sweden's presidency of the EU (July-December 2009).
Yet the international consultations also show that European support for democracy is not altogether convincing. Europe's regional partners from the global south are almost unanimous in stating that Europe has important and extensive experience of democracy-building to share; but it also lacks consistency in its policies, and its voice is weak. The main demands addressed to Europe in this arena are: consistency, long-term engagement, real partnership and "walking the talk".
The future for democracy-building
What do these global changes in the financial and the political landscape entail for democracy-support in the longer term; and, more generally, for understanding of the fundamentals of democracy?
A key analytical assumption underlying International IDEA's work in recent years has been that democracy is alive and strong as an ideal, but endangered by the low performance and declining credibility of some of the key institutional actors supposed to translate the values of democracy into reality: political parties, legislators, elected office-holders.
This assumption has only been reinforced by the demonstrable impact of the financial crisis. The recession has sounded an alarm by shedding light on democratic deficits, both institutional and functional; these have allowed financial markets to bypass transparent procedures, and powerful lobbies to extract disproportionate privileges from the system. The bill for kick-starting the system's recovery, however, will be paid by citizens at large.
The developed democracies are finding ways to alleviate the impact of the crisis on their citizens through exceptional social-protection measures and appropriate corrections of these systemic deficits; but developing and less consolidated democracies lack either the financial reserves or trusted and effective institutional mechanisms to do the same.
The leading developed democracies have an obligation to help developing democracies sail safely through this storm, as the winds are indeed blowing from the north. At the same time, there is a need for changes in the ways in which democracy-support and consolidation policies are negotiated, agreed, designed and implemented.
These processes need to free themselves from the mental straitjacket of donor-recipient relationships. They themselves need to become more effective and democratic, in a triple sense:
* They need to evolve towards real partnerships in which each side has something to share and to learn
* They must move beyond the narrow field of democracy-assistance as such and begin to account for the developmental and democracy-building impact of other policies in the fields of (for example) security, trade, energy, natural resources, and agriculture.
* They must engage with (rather than bypass) the democratic institutions - such as parliaments and political parties - of partner countries, and avoid remaining a subject discussed behind closed doors between officers of the executive branch.
A recent World Bank study says that there is no difference in the probability that countries either with or without competitive elections will experience financial crises. "However...politicians exposed to elections are more likely to address them in a way that serves public interest in their crisis response" (see Lessons from World Bank Research on Financial Crises [Development Research Group, November 2008]). These findings are equally encouraging for those engaged in pro-democracy advocacy in their countries and for international actors wanting to support them. They also point to the need to pay utmost attention to the defence and preservation of democratic achievements and institutions in periods of crisis, when they are at their most vulnerable.
The global economic difficulties are indeed feeding a broader debate on democracy. Making democracy more sustainable and more resilient in the face of such crises also means bringing it closer to citizens, and reducing the gap between institutions and delivery, between formal mechanisms and practice. In that sense the crisis can indeed be an immense opportunity for democracy-building practitioners and institutions - an opportunity for action to revitalise democratic institutions and bring the values and the reality of democracy closer to each other.
There will always be a gap between ideals and reality. This gap is what fuels political engagement and maintains the vitality of people's commitment to democracy. But when the gap becomes a precipice, when concept and reality lose any connection with each other, the disenchantment is no longer with the government in place but with the institutions it occupies and the very architecture of the system. Eventually, the values of the system are no longer judged against what the system claims to be, but against what it is perceived to deliver.
An analogy may be useful here, with all the usual caveats. In the Soviet Union in the late 1980s, Mikhail Gorbachev attempted to bridge the division between the stated objectives of the system and the reality in which people lived. It became increasingly apparent that glasnost and perestroïka were a case of "too little, too late". A centralised command economy and a fossilised top-down political system were unable to deliver equality or choice - even less, prosperity. The gap had grown into a precipice and there was no longer any faith in the system. It simply imploded.
Democracy, as a system of governance, is far from that fate - not least because it exists in a myriad of models; because it functions with highly varying degrees of effectiveness and delivery; and above all, because it does not claim to be perfect. We will always need more of it.
In June 2009, the women and men marching en masse in Tehran provided a vivid reminder of democracy's mobilising force. But for democracy-support, the major challenge is perhaps not how to support people marching against a non-democratic regime. They will topple it themselves, sooner or later. The major challenge starts when new or reformed institutions need to prove that they can deliver and be accountable. Political parties need to be credible as interpreters of citizens' interests; parliaments need to prove themselves capable of (and empowered to) overseeing budget expenditure and denouncing corruption; and election-management bodies need to be seen to function genuinely independently, above the realm of party politics.
International IDEA will continue to contribute its share to the strengthening of democratic institutions through its work on effective electoral and political-party assistance; through participatory and inclusive constitution-building efforts; through the pursuit of gender equity in all its programmes; and through the empowerment of national stakeholders to assess their own democracy - its deficits and its opportunities alike.
"Will freedom be able to sing the way the oppressed used to sing about it?" runs a verse in a poem by the late Belgrade poet Branko Miljković Indeed, the democracy-support community should always seek to help democracy not only to function - but to sing.
Even international civil servants not given to the expression of overtly political sentiments can find themselves moved by a display of public and democratic affirmation. Such was the case around midnight on 4 November 2008, when I found myself in a gathering crowd outside the White House - a crowd that was wildly celebrating the imminent election of Barack Obama as the next president of the United States.
Vidar Helgesen is Secretary-General of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA)
This is the opening contribution of an international debate on democracy support co-hosted by International IDEA and openDemocracy
There was something both familiar and extraordinary about the experience. For here in Washington, DC - where I had taken part in a US election programme organised by the non-aligned International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) - I was observing scenes that I would expect to see after first-time elections in new democracies, not in one of the oldest of them.
At the same time, I could not help reflecting that these celebrations were in support of a president-elect with strong bonds to two countries - Kenya and Indonesia - whose recent democratisation experiences also included exuberant popular mobilisation on the streets. The distance between Jakarta, Nairobi and Washington seemed to fall away in a moment. The first African-American was being elected as United States president - and the first truly global citizen.
Indeed, the connections between the remarkable election in the US and events in the rest of the world go further. For the US electoral process as it has unfolded over the last two years holds promise of renewal in a long-standing democracy - and of a kind that addresses the same challenges that face democracies across the globe. Among them are:
* how to manage diversity
* how to ensure inclusion of all groups in society and in the political process
* how to encourage and mobilise participationby citizens
* how to promote political choices and outcomes that are both responsible in themselves and responsive to citizens' key needs and demands.
The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) is an intergovernmental organisation that supports sustainable democracy worldwide. Its objective is to strengthen democractic objectives and processes. International IDEA - based in Stockholm, with offices in Latin America, Africa and Asia - acts as a catalyst for democracy building by sharing comparative knowledge, developing policy, and responding to national requests for assistance in democratic reform. democracy issues. It works together with policy-makers, donor governments, UN organisations and agencies, regional organisations and others engaged in the field of democracy building.
International IDEA's notable areas of expertise are: electoral processes, political parties, democracy and gender, and democracy assessment.
Read more about InternationalIDEA
There was in addition a particular factor in the US election, one uppermost in the minds of many voters: the need to repair their country's image abroad following years of excesses committed in the name of democracy promotion.
A United States election with a global resonance and impact, which raises issues shared by democratic countrie severywhere, and which took place in the context of unprecedented questioning ofhow democracy has been and should be supported - I can think of no more acutely relevant backdrop to the debate that the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) and openDemocracy are launching.
A global challenge
International support for democracy has had its ups and downs in recent history. After the end of the cold war it was consecrated as a lofty and legitimate goal of the international community, and for a decade and more it surfed on the high tide of what appeared to be an emerging global pro-democracy consensus. Today, however, the picture is a good deal more complex. In a number of important respects the nascent pro-democracy consensus is overshadowed by doubts - doubts that themselves mirror the challenges faced by current democratisation processes.
This makes the current moment a propitious one for all those involved in democracy support - international organisations,development cooperation agencies, donor governments, NGOs, scholars, pro-democracy activists, and engaged citizens - to assess its condition. It is even more timely in view of the fact that 2009 will be a year of anniversaries: thirty years since the beginning of the "third wave" of democratisations in Latin America, twenty years since the fall of the Berlin wall, fifteen since the end of apartheid in South Africa, ten since the start of the Reformasi (democratic reform) in Indonesia.
The commemoration of these great events, in a context where there are many causes for concern in the contemporary democracy landscape, is a unique moment for a broad dialogue that can take stock of the successes and failures of democracy support, and gauge the many challenges ahead.
From the perspective of International IDEA, the dialogue's main objective should be to identify options that can be both shared and applied in responding to the needs of all those who continue to pursue democracy out of a conviction that it constitutes an essential goal for their societies and countries. In doing this, however, the aim is not to seek universally applicable recipes - since there is already ample evidence that such recipes simply do not exist.
Indeed, the current global developments with regard to democracy's advance - or retreat - seem uncertain, and to elude the clear identification of trends. Yet it can be said that democracy continues to be equated with freedom and equality, and as such to be sought by people around the world. It remains a strong driving force of political change on all continents.
In Latin America today all countries (with one exception) are ruled by a democratically-elected government. A number of elections were held in 2007-08, most of them (Mexico apart) without significant hitches,and another series of important polls will take place in 2009-11. In Asia, democracy has made a critical breakthrough in Nepal and the Maldives, and has taken root in Indonesia. In Africa, it has been making headway in several countries such as Sierra Leone, Burundi and Liberia; and on the continent as a whole - following the adoption of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance in January 2007 - democracy is also on the way to becoming a key component of the regional-cooperation framework.
At the same time, in these and other parts of the world, democracy is experiencing a series of significant, yet highly diverse, challenges. In some countries such as Myanmar (Burma) and Zimbabwe democratic aspirations are engaged in a grim struggle with authoritarian rulers who appear bent on resisting determined, and hitherto peaceful, popular demands for change. In some countries democracy is faltering under the pressure of populism, and in others it appears to be yielding to the siren calls of nationalist sentiment and nostalgia.
There is too a proliferation of troubled democracies (or as some scholars name them, "hybrid regimes" or"democracies with adjectives" - "managed", "non-inclusive", "sovereign","oligarchic" and the like). China's rising star is of global significance here too, suggesting as it does the possibility of achieving prosperity without the messy entanglements of democracy. It should not be forgotten in this regard that 2009 marks another potent anniversary: twenty years since the Tiananmen "incident" in Beijing.
A broader impact
These varying experiences, considered in the context of a longer timespan, suggest the unavoidable lesson that democracy is imperfect, vulnerable and ultimately reversible everywhere. In some countries of the global north where democracy is considered to be well-established, it has not to date been able significantly to reduce gender inequality, or to eradicate racism, xenophobia and similar undemocratic social behaviours. And in both the north and the global south, a major discrepancy persists between the high value attributed to the idea of democracy and palpable popular distrust in democratic institutions such as political parties and parliaments; all too often these institutions areseen as alienated from the people, lacking inclusiveness and representativeness (most conspicuously with regard to gender), and as ineffective and unresponsive.
Where democratic transitions are underway, there are constant reminders of how complex and often turbulent and potentially violent are these eminently political processes. This is especially the case when they occur in deeply divided societies and when they are intertwined with nation-building or state-building projects. In the global south, democratisation alone has not - and obviously could not - bring about the elimination of poverty, exclusion and disease.
International democracy assistance is also facing its own particular challenges. The post-9/11 fallout is still present, often implying difficult trade-offs between security and democracy concerns. Democracy-assistance initiatives continue to be regarded by many as being compromised by double standards - a view reinforced not least by international responses to the Palestinian Authority elections in January 2006.
The tensions surrounding these intiatives are reflected in polarisation in many international forums, notably the United Nations, where development and democracy-building continue to be viewed as competing, if not opposed, agendas. Nevertheless, there are also important consensus-building achievements to note. Among these stands a reconfirmed commitment to implementation of the Paris agenda on aid-effectiveness, which among other things proposes an enhanced role for parliaments in the oversight of development aid.
Democratisation processes, which by definition involve ever broader segments of society, and are in fact the outcome of political competition and struggle, are affected by every major social issue or threat. The impact of major global phenomena such as HIV/Aids, mass-migration movements and climate change on democracy is still to be assessed. The same can be said about the impact of the evolving multipolar geopolitical landscape and the reviving discourse of "zones of influence" that attends this process. China's emerging role in the global landscape is a vital trend here, and certainly merits a separate discussion.
A space to learn
More recently, the global financial crisis and impending economic recession call for fresh assessments of the roles and responsibilities of the state, and a reopening of the debate on the appropriate balance between "public" and "private". What is clear is that current seismic shifts in the world economy will need to be factored in by national and international democracy-building actors when assessing their future strategies.
In an environment characterised by high levels of uncertainty and volatility, distrust, polarisation and the meltdown of global frameworks of economic governance, democracy-building efforts cannot and should not remain static and conditioned by old assumptions. Rather, they are increasingly in need of fresh questioning and testing.
We have learned many lessons so far. We know a lot, for example, about the importance of domestically-driven and nationally-owned democratisation processes. We know that assistance to democratic reform needs to be holistic, long-term and carefully contextualised. But we still have a lot to learn about how to make democracy support more effective in responding to the needs of everyday citizens - those, in other words, who are the driving force and ultimate beneficiaries of change in each and every region and country.
I am confident that the debate around these and other issues of democracy-building will find a fertile ground in the International IDEA-openDemocracy debate, and that its results will be to the benefit of all those who pursue democracy as a vital necessity for their societies and their countries.
This week's editor
Heather McRobie is a regular contributor to 50.50
Heather McRobie is a regular contributor to 50.50