On September 15, the United Nations celebrates the International Day of Democracy. To mark this day, we asked Parliamentarians from both Europe and Africa the following question:
“What do you think the politician’s role is in strengthening the voice of the people in Africa, to establish and maintain a healthy democracy?”
“The most important thing for successful democratic processes is to build a relationship of trust- the civil society must be able to trust the members of Parliament and their government. And this can only be achieved through communicated transparency, credibility, accountability, independence, incorruptibility, impartiality, objectivity and separation of powers. For instance, transparency of incomes and financial support of MPs, ministers: People have a right to know by whom and to what amount MPs are financed, in order to judge how independent they are. Transparency concerning independence and impartiality: you only trust somebody if you are sure he or she is not “bought”. Communication is achieved by information; showing updates of governmental activities, accounts of expenditure and so on, as well as monitoring and evaluation of everything. The next most important task to enhance healthy democracy is to encourage participation by consulting the people. This includes asking them about their wishes and ideas, organising structures (forums, committees, workshops, platforms) for debate with stakeholders, for information exchange, and listening to what they have to say. This is capacity building on a basic democratic level – learning to listen to different positions and opinions, learning to accept compromise or defeat in a vote, and to assess decisions and policies separately from the people who make them, to keep things objective, for fruitful cooperation.”
Member of Swiss Parliament
Vice president of AWEPA, member of Executive Committee
President of AWEPA Swiss Section
To read more about our International Day of Democracy special, please click here.