Let this be the year democracy shines its beacon as it should
This will be a year of elections. The United States will choose a new president or decide, which is my guess, to stick with Barack Obama rather than twist with a Republican. The two most significant powers of the European Union go to the polls soon: France this year, Germany next year. Russia and China will also stage votes, though in these cases that will scarcely be the full democratic experience. The 18th Congress of the Chinese Communist party will begin the transfer of power from President Hu to his almost certain successor, Xi Jinping. Vladimir Putin will likely win a third term at the Kremlin in March, but in a fashion that will foment dissent. There will be elections in Egypt, Kenya, Mexico, Pakistan and Venezuela, to name but five of the other countries going to the polls. Even Burma may get a taste. In Britain, our electoral excitements will be more limited. Barring a sudden collapse of the coalition, which for all its stresses and strains still seems unlikely, we can look forward only to the more parochial affair of Boris Johnson versus Ken Livingstone for the London mayoralty. This may not be as significant as the battle for the White House, but the cage fight for City Hall will be at least as entertaining.
This coming year of the ballot could have the potential to lift the spirits a little after the year that we rang out last night. 2011 was a very mixed advertisement for democracy. Across the Arab world, a region too often wrongly regarded as a hopeless cause for freedom, people risked everything, up to and including their lives, to liberate themselves from the grasp of tyranny. The uprisings against calcified and brutal dictatorships in the Middle East and north Africa was testimony to the universal yearning to have the right to choose your government.
The west generally applauded and encouraged. Yet in its mature polities, democracy came dangerously close to looking like a failure. Elected politicians too often proved
You can read the rest of this article at:: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jan/01/andrew-rawnsley-celebrate-democracy?newsfeed=true
Short URL: http://thepresidency.us/?p=7752