Book: Democratic Deficit

International IDEA Handbook on Democracy Assessment by David Beetham, Sarah Bracking, Ian Kearton and Stuart Weir Published by Kluwer Law International, 2002, 144 pages

The World Today Published 1 October 2002 Updated 23 October 2020 2 minute READ

The last few years have seen increased worldwide interest in democracy and human rights. The first free elections, open to all political groups, have been held in regions as far apart as Eastern Europe, Russia, Africa and Asia.

Nevertheless, the removal of dictatorships has often brought its own problems. Even in the west – supposedly a democratic role model – there has been a growing perception of a ‘democratic deficit’.

All this gives a special topicality to this book, which offers a distinctive approach. The authors reject the view that countries that have overthrown tyrannies are necessarily in transition to democracy. At the same time they insist that democracy is a principle valid for all societies, whilst also arguing that it is not an all or nothing affair and that there is room for improvement everywhere.

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