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Sudden silence from other parties

Sudden silence from other parties

Chronicle Democracy is not just about holding free and fair elections

As a Democrat, you should be happy that 2024 is a super election year where a record number of people around the world get the chance to go to the polls and vote. For the Swedish and European part, the European Parliament elections await us, and in other parts of the world elections will be held in the United States, India, Mexico, Austria, Belgium and South Africa, among other countries.

But the joy prevails in the fact that many of the elections that have been held and will be held are far from democratic. Putin may have just declared victory in the Russian presidential election, but anyone with any basis in reality knows that the Russian election is a parlor game.

Proposals to demolish mosques and remove all symbols that can be linked to Islam are considered anti-democratic

But not only in countries like Russia where elections are held even though they are not democratic. In fact, the majority of the 70 countries in which elections will be held this year are not considered full democracies. In many cases, these regimes are dictatorial, or as they are often called in research: authoritarian regimes. In cases where countries are not large-scale autocracies, democracy has such significant defects that these countries cannot be considered large-scale liberal democracies.

Unfortunately, there are many indicators that indicate that democracy is in global decline. according to Freedom House Civil and political freedoms and rights that are fundamental to democracy have been weakened in 52 countries in the past year, and according to their research, this is the 18th consecutive year that democracy has been weakened. A similar pattern was found by the research institute V-Dem, which recently presented its latest research a report.

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According to them, there are just over 40 countries that are going through an authoritarian process, that is, a process far from what can be considered widespread democracy.

This shows that democracy is not limited to elections only. Democracy is not even limited to holding free and fair elections.

Ultimately, democracy is about a political system based on the principle of equal value for all people. For this reason, citizenship is of absolute central importance in democracy: it is citizenship that determines who belongs to the people, and it defines the framework within which political equality must prevail and who is entitled to enjoy basic democratic freedoms and rights. This includes, in addition to universal and equal voting rights, freedom of expression, freedom of information, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom to demonstrate, freedom of association and freedom of religion.

In addition, there is a need for legal certainty, including that everyone is equal before the law and that laws are applied by free and independent courts, as well as academic freedom and that there is protection for minorities.

This is important to realize, because today's autocrats rarely seize power by force, and are rarely honest about their intentions to undermine democracy. Therefore, one cannot judge whether political leaders or political parties are democratic by whether they claim to be so: after all, North Korea's official name is the “Democratic People's Republic of Korea.”

No, what reveals anti-democracy activists is not that they claim to be against democracy. What reveals them is that their rhetoric and policies question or attack, for example, political equality, one or more democratic freedoms and rights, the equality of all before the law, the freedom and independence of the courts, or the protection of minorities. . They may also try to undermine confidence in democracy in various ways, not least by spreading false and misleading information. This can happen, for example, by claiming without basis that the election was not fair.

They nominated Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize

Therefore, it is up to those who protect democracy to be prepared and not be fooled. Let's just take some examples.

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Proposals to demolish all mosques and remove all symbols that can be linked to Islam are anti-democratic: they are against religious freedom.

Proposals to facilitate the revocation of citizenship are anti-democratic: they contradict the fact that every person with citizenship should be treated equally and enjoy the same freedoms and rights.

Proposals to give the government more power to deport people are also anti-democratic: they conflict with the law applied by free and independent courts.

All of these proposals – and others like them – came from the Sweden Democrats. Not surprisingly, the Sweden Democrats are an anti-democratic party. It is no coincidence that they have long highlighted Hungary (no longer considered a democracy) as an example, that Akesson did not want to choose between Putin and Biden a week before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and that they nominated Trump for the Nobel Prize. Peace Prize. Same as Trump He lied more than 30 thousand times During his presidency, he has tried to control the 2020 elections, describes political opponents as “vermin,” and who predicts a “bloodbath” if he does not win the next election.

But what is surprising is the silence of other political parties, and that the Sweden Democrats are one of the largest parties in Parliament. But perhaps it is related: as long as other parties are silent and do not criticize the Sweden Democrats specifically because their proposals are anti-democratic, it is easy for citizens to look the other way. If we want to protect democracy, it is necessary to better understand what democracy means, that anti-democratic proposals are specifically called anti-democratic, and to explain why they are incompatible with democracy.

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Jesper Strömbäck, Ho