These days we see all over the civilised world a similar problem of politicians trying to please the majority of their populace. Trying to gain votes several politicians do not take it so properly with he protection of human rights. They should know that a democracy which does not respect human rights is not a democracy. Several persons who claim to come up for the rights of people are more trying to limit the rights of several people, like parents. (see about how Darya Safai wants to limit them in the choice of religion and their freedom of clothing.)
Certain criminals or Mafioso do not mind using the political parties for themselves to strengthen their power, like Berlusconi in Italy. Their greed to power and such politicians no interest for the safety of the people and their environment weakens the credibility of politicians and undermines the democracy its survival.
Democracies’ weaknesses in the face of corruption and criminal activities have to be addressed. More and more become disgusted by those corrupt politicians who only think of making their wallet better filled with more money, wherever it may come from. Much of the deregulation associated with the supposedly liberal economy is deliberately encouraged for the benefit of certain groups, sometimes criminal organisations, such as terrorist groups that have taken advantage of the VAT fraud system. People are looking at the EU institutions and wonder why they have not done more or why thy do not take more serious measures against all forms of corruption which we continually see growing like nothing is in its way. Lots of people do find that our governments and the EU have not responded adequately. Populists therefore build on citizens’ justified mistrust towards government.
All interested in the indemnification of democracy should be aware we may not stay silent any-more at the sideline, seeing how certain industries show no respect to the environment and do all what they can to earn as much money as they can, without any respect for nature. The ones eager to have all power and control over everything are the enemies of democracy. We have seen them standing up in China, Russia, Turkey and the United States of America. The dictators have come in power there already and we can not tell if they are aware of their dangerous games or do they just do it out of stupidity … history will tell. But in the meantime Europe may be caught up in a trade war with the United States of America. We can only hope the politicians shall be strong enough to resist it and shall not give in to allow genetically manipulated and hormone manipulated food to enter in our food-chain. We should not allow democracy’s enemies to exploit the weaknesses of our governments to interfere with public perceptions and capture people’s support. While it is not easy to find a solution, according to Ana Gomes we cannot remain idle. It takes courage to address the faults of our political systems, but it has to be done.
Public attitudes about the political system broadly and the national government specifically vary considerably around the world, though many are critical. Opinions are closely related to the status of the economy and domestic politics. Publics who have experienced high economic growth and are happy with their country’s economy are more confident in their national government. Similarly, people who support the governing party or parties in their country tend to give more positive evaluations of their democracy than those who support either the opposition or no political party at all.
With a Pew Research across 36 countries asked the question of the way democracy is working, a global median of 46% say they are very or somewhat satisfied with the way their democracy is working, compared with 52% who are not too or not at all satisfied.
In North America, 70% of Canadians say they think their political system is working well, but Americans are divided. Just under half in the U.S. (46%) are happy with their democracy and 51% are unhappy. In the U.S., 68% of people who identify with the Republican Party say they are satisfied with their democracy, while just 40% of Americans who do not identify with the Republican Party say the same.
People who are satisfied with how democracy works in their country also tend to say they trust the national government to do what is right for the country. Given that, the global distribution of trust in national governments is very similar to attitudes about the political system more broadly.But we can see a development more people coming to distrust politics. In Belgium, having coming to vote this year for the local authorities people share less interest for going to the ballot box. And next year they shall have to go again to the ballot box, but than for Europe. Last month the European Parliament voted to decrease the number of MEPs from 751 to 705, after the United Kingdom withdraws from the European Union on the currently planned schedule. 2019 will see the debut of new centrist parties from Spain (Ciudadanos), Poland (Nowoczesna) which ALDE hopes will boost their performance.
In Germany, 65% of those who have a positive view of the Alternative for Germany party (AfD) say they trust the national government not much or not at all, compared with just 24% of those who have a negative view of the party. Their country is taking the lead to bring the undemocratic right-wing parties back in the running again. Holland and France being the two other strong Right-wing supporters. Marine Le Pen hoping to change the name of the Front National in the Rassemblement national in the hope to gain more votes.
From the Pew Survey we may believe that more than half of respondents in each of the nations polled consider representative democracy a ‘very’ or ‘somewhat good’ way to govern their country. In all countries, pro-democracy attitudes coexist however, to varying degrees, with openness to non-democratic forms of governance, including rule by experts, a strong leader or the military. The idea of democracy may vary a lot as well. Many fascists are seriously convinced they offer the best democracy for Europe, where there is no place for other religious groups than Christians and best all white Europeans.
Europeans overwhelmingly support representative democracy as a government model. A majority of Europeans reject rule by experts. Europeans also overwhelmingly reject rule by a strong ruler. A striking outcome of the survey is the people’s desire to be more directly involved in political decisions. Some 70 % of Europeans want major issues to be put to a popular vote in their countries. Populist party supporters are even more supportive of direct democracy – likely one of the reasons some people prefer these parties. Though it is just in such groups that many do not see how a limitation of freedom of expression, freedom of religion and freedom of clothing is just bringing democracy in danger.
Once more we should recognise the signs that democracy is not a guaranty or something untouchable for Europe. We see more countries who do not want to keep the EU agreements but think solely for their own. Nobody wants to take in some refugees or want to come to help the Greece and Italian islands which get overloaded with immigrants.
Regrettably, in too many cases electoral results are not respected or institutions and rules are manipulated to keep leaders in power indefinitely. This prevents citizens from accessing the basic elements of freedom and equality that democracy champions.
Populist and extremist political parties and leaders are successfully exploiting their electorates’ insecurities. Exclusionary rhetoric occupies more space in public discourse than before and can influence the outcome of elections. If the recent rise of populism with
authoritarian tendencies is unopposed, it could undermine democracy from within, using democratic tools. We should be fully aware of that.
Skilfully the right wing politicians use fear-mongering to get the people on their hand. With many lies they blind people and get them to believe what is over and over pushed in their throat by the social media.
Most people are not any more interested in an ideal that seeks to guarantee equality and basic freedoms, or to empower ordinary people, resolve disagreements through peaceful dialogue, respect differences, and to bring about political and social renewal without economic and social disruption. For most people it is the “only one self”, the “I” that should be in the most important place. It is all about how can I protect myself and get the best out of it all.
For many there is no place for Muslims or other religious people, who they consider a threat for their own culture.
For most people only those who are born and breath here in Europe should receive a place in Europe. For the majority it seems that civil and political rights, social and economic rights, democratic governance and rule of law, belongs to the European citizen and not to those who come to invade Europe from Africa and Asia.
Today, not many in West Europe seem to be interested to give non-Europeans the same rights as they have. Not many are willing to be open for other cultures, different traditions of democratic thought associated with the concepts of electoral democracy, liberal democracy, social democracy and participatory democracy. We should acknowledge that there is the concept of democracy which reflects a core value enshrined in article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that the ‘will of the people’ is the basis for the legitimacy and authority of sovereign states. But what now when the majority seems to be willing to restrict the freedom of so many? Normally one would expect a democratic system to reflect a common and universal desire for peace, security and justice. But those populist politicians present to their voters a false democracy which does not reflect the fundamental ethical principles of human equality and the dignity of persons.
Therefore not taking democracy for granted we should alert people of the dangerous road some politicians are trying to take these days.
The main challenges include backsliding and shrinking democratic space (more specifically constitutional amendments; concentration of power in the executive; undermined judicial independence; media restrictions; restrictions on opposition parties and civil society); rising populism and nationalism; spreading of fake news and disinformation; decreasing trust in political parties and elites; state capture and corruption, such as unchecked inflows of money into politics; spill-overs from regional conflicts, such as migration and refugee flows, that fuel populism in Europe.
We must not be chicken-livered, by institutionalising and having too many European politicians gone too far away from their people, many living far away in an other world, making that democracy came to undergo a crisis of political representation, which has to be addressed.
On 7 March 2018, the EPRS Members’ Research Service organised a roundtable on the global state of democracy as seen by citizens. Etienne Bassot, Director of the Members’ Research Service, highlighted the importance of the topic, particularly with the approaching elections for the European Parliament.
Ana Gomes (S&D, Portugal), said we must learn the lessons of history and address these failures with courage. For example, the failure of our governments to uphold their legal and moral obligations towards those who need protection, such as refugees, has fuelled extremism and radicalisation.
IDEA makes a series of recommendations in this respect. Political parties have to remain responsive to the electorate’s needs during the entire electorate cycle, to address policy challenges without compromising ideology, to communicate political vision, and to outline innovative programmes. They have to be democratic, transparent, based on fair processes, open to pluralism, inclusive – particularly of young people and women, ready to engage with citizens, open to alternative forms of membership, able to restore trust (through anti-corruption measures and internal democracy), and open to alternative means of communication (ICT).
Dissatisfaction with the way democracy works in practice does not necessarily represent a rejection of democratic principles as such. The popularity of direct democracy, as shown in the Pew Survey, clearly illustrates this distinction. This should give us hope.
Even if democratic progress is not linear, democracies are particularly fit to overcome crises, as they are flexible and able to adapt and reinvent themselves. The survey also provides some interesting insights for EU democracy support – a subject on which the EPRS has recently published a briefing.
The EU is at the forefront of efforts to support democracy in third countries in the world. As the Pew Survey shows, people expect democratic systems to deliver, and the state of the economy and the effectiveness of the government are strong drivers of citizens’ trust in democracy. These findings legitimate the approach taken by the EU with regard to democracy support since the Lisbon Treaty, according to which consistency and coherence with other external policy must be assured and strengthened. Economic success and good governance (and EU aid can play an important supportive role) is important for the strength and resilience of democracies. In this respect, EU development aid, as well as the human rights and democracy conditionality enshrined in many of its bilateral relations, can ensure that democratic and economic progress go hand in hand.
But first of all politicians should be more open and come again closer to the public, to their voters. They should come back with their feet on the ground and should play more open card, not staying in their ivory tower.
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