Pro-democracy protesters in Yemen with an umbrella full of money. (Source: Al Jazeera English) “Our revolution was hijacked,” Mahmoud, a young protestor from Yemen, told me in one of our discussions. “We stand no chance against the established powers in any elections,” said Marwa, another young protestor from Egypt. Mahmoud […]
Keeping a watchful eye (Credit: UNDP) The Report of the Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and Security identified building professional, competent electoral management bodies (EMBs) as one of the five major challenges that must be overcome to conduct elections with integrity. There is more to it, though. East Timor, for […]
Political pundits in Britain often frame competition in elections as a fight for ‘middle England’. Each election, they invent names such as ‘Essex man’ or ‘Worcester woman’ to describe archetypal voters representative of marginal constituencies necessary to win a parliamentary majority. Bettws ward in Gwent, Wales, may not be the […]
Did you hear about the Silk Commission last week…? No? Let me explain: the Commission produced a report which threw its weight behind a key democratic idea which a country – any country – can adopt to deepen democracy. As the Global Commission on Elections, Democracy & Security noted, developing […]
Washington’s Bête Noire I think it’s fair to say that democracy in the United States is already pretty “deep”. As a US citizen, I feel incredibly lucky to live in a society whose history is rooted in democratic ideals—a society that continues to benefit from the types of “elections with […]
Deepening Democracy in India: Fine-tuning rules and procedures to strengthen parliamentary oversight on the government
The Deepening Democracy report by the Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and Securitydiscusses the importance of improving the integrity of elections. While fairness, funding and conduct of elections undoubtedly is a concern that citizens espouse worldwide, that in itself may not be a panacea to fulfil the function of representative […]
We must remember that democracies are not self-executing systems; they stand on complex political institutions that reflect the political power of the citizenry. For many countries, then, the challenge is keeping the population constructively engaged in the democratic process following successful free and fair elections. Elections are often not the […]
A report on deepening democracy released by the Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and Security recognised that the enfranchisement of displaced populations, including refugees, ‘is critical for ensuring the integrity of elections and the establishment of democracy’. But this statement belies a deeper interaction, and even conflict, between the international refugee regime and democracy.
What would ‘deepening democracy’ mean for the refugee regime? I suggest that strengthening democratic institutions could deepen divides between refugees and host communities. To ensure that the international refugee regime and democracy can successfully co-exist, we must think not just of deepening democracy, but of also balancing it with the rights of refugees.