As cracks appear in political establishments the world over, Iceland is forging its own path towards an open and inclusive society.
The last world survey on the strength of democracy went totally ignored, except for the New York Times, which did publish a special report. And yet the World Values Survey, a respected research association with the United Nations, conducted the survey and the data of the 2015 survey are extremely worrying.
I had an epiphany while listening to Pierre Moscovici, European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, speaking to Richard Quest on CNN last night. Mr. Moscovici, clearly exasperated by the never-ending Greece-Eurozone negotiations…
By Jasmina Dimitrieva
Are elections and democracy one and the same thing? Not only voters, but also elected officials sometimes confuse democracy with elections. Such mental attitude sees the internationally guaranteed right to public participation in decision-making reduced to elections. The inherent risk is that public participation in the formulation and implementation of public polices for common good, as enunciated in the constitutions of Europe, remains a philosophical concept, with the elections as a sole manifestation of democracy on the physical plan. While looking at the other side of the coin, it seems beyond imagination nowadays to have in place a democratic system of governance without first holding elections, and without a meaningful parliamentary opposition.
During the past few months most politicians and commentators have praised the democratic progress in the Union. The fact that political parties announced their candidates for the Commission Presidency in advance of the elections for the European Parliament; the visits these “Spitzenkandidaten” paid to many cities in the Union; the lively exchanges that took place in the European Parliament during the confirmation hearings of the commissioners-designate, have been interpreted as major steps towards addressing the so-called democratic deficit in the European Union´s institutions. Some have said that the current Commission leadership benefits from a “very strong democratic legitimacy”.