How to confront growing authoritarian threats to democracy



The themes and leaders that would engage young people in politics are absent, the Forum 2000 Prague conference heard on Monday:

Mainly in democratic countries, young people are not interested in participating in politics. They often feel frustrated by decisions on their lives being made by far older people. Moreover, they have no experience with living in an undemocratic system,….Zuzana Vuova, 25, the first Czech youth delegate to the U.N., said her peers consider democracy a natural thing, also because events such as the Berlin Wall fall and the Czechoslovak Velvet Revolution, which shaped the older generation’s stances, seem remote to the 20- and 30-year olds.

She said for many young people, democracy is a kind of a toy. “If you have it, you show no interest in it, but if they take it away from you, you want it,” Vuova said.

Corruption, organized crime, rising populism and social networks’ transformation of political discourse are central problems of democracy, said participants.

Former Spanish prime minister Felipe Gonzalez (right) warned that functioning democratic political systems had only been maintained in Europe, America, Australia and New Zealand – roughly 27 percent of the whole world.

The conference addressed the issue of growing authoritarian threats to democracy through a panel chaired by the National Endowment for Democracy’s Christopher Walker (above).

Print Friendly, PDF & Email