International Consensus: Essential Elements of Democracy

Nov. 14, 2011, 3:11 p.m.

Democracy Reporting International recently published a report exploring some international standards for democracy as a guideline for reform following the Arab Spring. The report outlines seven such standards drawn from a 2004 UN resolution and explores what they mean in the context of Arab states. The full report can be found here.

Democracy is not an anything goes form of government. Various internationally agreed documents include an outline of the core components of what democracy means. A range of them are ‘hard’ legally binding international law. Others may be considered soft law. While these documents do not give an exhaustive definition of democracy, they include basic key elements, each of which is a necessary condition for a democratic form of governance...This report explores the implications of these elements in the hope of offering support to the debate in Egypt, Tunisia and other countries in the region, about what, exactly, a democratic state should look like.

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