The rule of law ‘in more trouble than democracy’


Almost no one thought that an underdog political reformer could defeat Guatemala’s corrupt political machine, but Bernardo Arévalo did just that, say analysts Will Freeman and Lucas Perelló. Now comes the hard part – they write for the Journal of Democracy.

Restoring rule of law will not come easily, judging by today’s news that Guatemalan prosecutors have arrested the former representative of a U.N.-backed anti-corruption commission that was expelled from the country, AP reports:

The arrest of Claudia González is the latest chapter in the government’s systematic pursuit of those who worked with the U.N. anti-corruption mission, best known by its Spanish initials CICIG.

A founding cry of modernity — liberté, égalité, fraternité — made no mention of sécurité or l’ordre, without which nothing else is possible. This intellectual blind spot for the rule of law is excusable. ..But the west was law-governed before it was democratic, The FT’s Janen Ganesh writes:

And if the rule of law was earlier to arrive, it is also shaping up to be the first to go. It is hard to imagine a western nation ceasing outright to be democratic any time soon, if we understand this to mean that it would no longer have fair elections whose results are enforced. Chaos, though? Entropy? Those are easier destinies to picture, at times by just looking around.

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