Council of Europe, Strasbourg – President of the Venice Commission Gianni Buquicchio chaired panel C of the Forum entitled “One size fits all? Democracy and globalisation"
The model of democracy founded on freely elected representation of the people, forged through the centuries, is increasingly confronted with new realities that dispute its foundations – and even legitimacy in some cases. The higher and higher rates of abstention in elections, the emergence of dissenting – and sometimes extremist – political forces bear witness to growing discredit of the traditional forms of democratic representation.
At the same time participation in the common destiny is avidly sought with citizen enlistment in all kinds of associations and interest groups, and with an explosion of communication through the social networks. Will Twitter supplant the ballot paper?
Longing for participation in civic life is a positive factor to be encouraged and sustained. However, gathering together the individual interests expressed in civil society cannot supplant representation of the public interest, a responsibility of the public institutions which must transcend personal interests.
Mr Ashraf Ghani (Afghanistan), Chairman of the Institute for State Effectiveness
Mr Andreas Gross (Switzerland), Member of Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Chair of the Socialist Group
Mr Willie Kwansing (Fiji), Secretary General, Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Mr Janez Lenarcic (Slovenia), Director of the OSCE Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights
Ms Jozefina Çoba Topalli (Albania), Speaker of the Parliament
Mr Keith Whitmore (United Kingdom), President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe