Does democracy lead to development and the protection of human rights? Or in reality is it “development first, democracy later”?
To consider this question in light of the Arab Spring, A4ID is delighted to welcome Alina Rocha Menocal (ODI) and Holly Ruthrauff (ERIS) to speak on making the transition to democracy at our Governance group’s first meeting of 2012.
The last year has been marked by public calls for democracy from across the Middle East. This has demonstrated the power of the people to bring about effectual change but has also highlighted the fragility of democratic processes.
Overthrowing autocratic rule is usually violent and can result in a power vacuum that leaves the state in a vulnerable position as rival groups vie for power.
Therefore, the first step on the path to democracy is the need for security, followed by the building of the democratic institutions which underpin the electoral process, protect the citizen’s voice and ensure political accountability.
In practice this process is even more complex; constitutional reform, drafting electoral legislation, and educating the electorate and political candidates of their rights and responsibilities under the new political regime are just some of the issues that need to be considered.
At our event Alina Rocha Menocal will examine the linkages between democracy and development and consider the particular challenges that post-conflict and fragile states face in consolidating democracy.
Holly Ruthrauff will then focus on Tunisia and consider the institutional and legal framework that must be put in place for the electoral agenda to remain on track, including the external assistance that can support the democratic transition.