The Global State of Democracy 2019. Addressing the Ills, Reviving the Promise




Not too long ago the world was euphoric about the advancement of democracy.
The fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, the end of the Cold War in 1991 and the end of
apartheid in South Africa in 1994 are some of the defining moments that gave reason
to be optimistic about the future of democracy. Only three decades after the fall of the Berlin
wall, the euphoria about democracy´s forward march has been replaced by doom and
gloom narratives that allude to the death of democracy. We certainly cannot and should not
ignore the contemporary threats to democracy such as the blatant disrespect for
the norms of multilateralism, extreme inequality resulting in the capture of politics by elites,
persistent corruption that continues to rob ordinary citizens of opportunities of service
provision and better quality of life; conflictual identity politics, intolerance and societal
polarisation aggravated by social media and spurred by populistic politics that promise
quick and simple solutions to complex socio-economic problems and more. Added
to these pressures, are global development threats, such as climate change and its perils;
fears of a looming global economic slow-down exacerbated by a trade war between
US and China, and global insecurity—not least exacerbated by terrorism from external and
internal forces.

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