A lesson in pandemic democracy?


What if the coronavirus pandemic delayed an election and no one cared? Bloomberg’s David Fickling asks. That’s pretty much what’s happening in New Zealand, where Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appears to be cruising toward victory in an election this Saturday after rival politicians sought postponement from the original Sept. 19 date, he writes for The Post:

In common with most other English-speaking democracies, the official overseers of the ballot process in New Zealand are not elected local government officials but an appointed national commission. That lack of direct democratic accountability is, paradoxically, a good thing. Unlike party-aligned elected administrators, the senior bureaucrats on the Electoral Commission’s board have no particular stake in which side is advantaged at the ballot box and owe their greatest loyalty to their professional reputations.

But covid-19 isn’t the only threat to democratic governance.

A bipartisan group of former leaders have joined forces to protect democracy. More than 40 former congressional leaders, former Cabinet secretaries, retired military officials, and leaders of civic organizations have formed the bipartisan National Council on Election Integrity, former NED chairman Dick Gephardt and Tom Ridge write for The Boston Globe.

The coronavirus is killing democracy. A new report by Freedom House shows that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the global trend. Not letting a serious crisis go to waste, leaders on every continent are grasping their power more tightly, Shay Khatiri writes for The Bulwark:

Around the world, from Sri Lanka to Turkey and from Hungary to Bolivia, rulers have been taking advantage of the pandemic to erode political rights and postpone elections. This is not only objectionable on its own merits. According to the report, these measures are also diminishing confidence in governments, which makes containing the pandemic even more difficult.

IWM Rector Shalini Randeria and Ivan Krastev discuss the paradoxes and power dynamics emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email