COVID-19 and democracy: Can parliaments come to the rescue?


Can parliaments learn from the past six months to become stronger and more effective institutions that impose checks and balances on executive powers to better serve the people? analysts ask (above):

Parliamentary scrutiny over the government has never been so critical to ensure that emergency measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus are proportionate, temporary, and that they don’t infringe on fundamental human rights. Through their legislative and budgetary powers, parliaments also play a key role in strengthening public health systems, building back better and greener economies and addressing the looming climate emergency.

As the world confronts COVID-19, democracy is crucial in ensuring the free flow of information, participation in decision-making and accountability for the response to the pandemic, said UN Secretary-General António Guterres (below) in a message for the International Day of Democracy. “Yet, since the beginning of the crisis, we have seen the emergency used in a range of countries to restrict democratic processes and civic space,” he added, echoing the demands of the Defend Democracy initiative. “This is especially dangerous in places where democracy’s roots are shallow and institutional checks and balances are weak.”

How has COVID-19 changed life as we know it? What are the ramifications of income inequality for democracy? these are some of the questions to be addressed by a Stanford seminar to mark International Democracy Day. 

Panelists for September 15:
–Mariano-Florentino Cuellar (law). American Constitutional Democracy in a Changing World
–Larry Diamond (Hoover, FSI, CDDRL, National Endowment for Democracy – NED). Depolarizing American Politics
–Margaret Levi (CASBS and Political Science). A More Equitable Union
–Condoleezza Rice (Hoover, GSB, political science). Challenges facing the U.S. (in a pre-recorded conversation with Ran Abramitzky)

For the general public: Access the livestream of the event here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email