Livni: Democracy Means More Than Just Elections
|Monday, June 8,2009 08:49|
In an opinion piece for the New York Times, the head of Kadima, the Israeli opposition party, Tzipi Livni applauds Barack Obama’s assertion that “Elections do not make true democracy” in his speech in Cairo yesterday.
Hybrid militant political parties like Hamas and Hezbollah pose a problem, however, Livni argues. These parties may engage in the electoral process “not to forsake their violent agenda but to advance it. For them, electoral participation [is] merely a way to gain legitimacy–not an opportunity to change.”
For Livni, “democracy is about values before it is about voting.” She recommends that the international community adopt a global code for participation in democratic elections, requiring every candidate to renounce violence and commit to pursue their goals by peaceful means. Essentially, in order “to promote democracy it [is] not enough to focus on the technical conduct of elections, it [is] necessary to insist that those who [seek] the benefits of the democratic process [accept] its underlying principles as well.”