An informal virtual interactive panel debate for International Day of Democracy, in partnership with the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory at Arizona State University, on the International Day of Democracy.
During the pandemic, democratic processes have been under assault in some countries. Elections have been postponed, courts have only dealt with urgent cases, individual freedoms have been curtailed and autocrats have used the pandemic to make power grabs that have sometimes sidelined parliaments. During lockdowns, some parliaments have faced security, technology and procedure challenges and have only been able to operate in a limited way.
Even before the pandemic, democracy was losing popularity. Across the globe, more and more citizens are dissatisfied with their democracies – from 47.9 per cent in the mid-1990s to 57.5 per cent in 2019.
However, democracy is still in relatively good shape and is by far the preferred form of government on all continents according to some studies.
Can parliaments learn from the past six months to become stronger and more effective institutions that impose checks and balances on executive powers to better serve the people?
The panel: Gabriela Cuevas Barron, IPU President; Xiye Batista, climate activitist and co-founder of the Re-Earth Initiative; Craig Calhoun, University Professor of Social Sciences at Arizona State University; Andreas Norlén, Speaker of the Swedish Riksdag; and Ghassan Salamé, Professor of International Relations Emeritus atSciencesPo Paris and Board Member of the Kofi Annan Foundation. With Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Moderated by Ravi Agrawal, Managing Editor of Foreign Policy.