Danilo Türk, former President of the Republic of Slovenia and current President of Club de Madrid, gave a speech on behalf of the organisation at the 143rd Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly, which took part in Madrid last 27 November. This year, the Assembly focused on democracies’ contemporary challenges, especially ending division and building community.
In his speech, President Türk underlined the paramount need for solid platforms that strive for global solutions. “Democracy is a platform of fundamental importance for all states to communicate constructively and creatively to seek and find global solutions”, Türk, said. Democracy is also a value in itself and a mechanism for societies to thrive and strike balance between stability and freedom, according to the former President of Slovenia. He also identified what Club de Madrid sees as the main challenges democratic systems are currently facing: the rise of authoritarianism in many countries; the rapid growth of the new information ecosystem, which still lacks a concrete working normative framework; the ever-widening inequality gap, one of the culprits of polarising tendencies; and the rising of polarisation itself, fuelled by uncontrolled practices like fake news.
The Global Commission on Democracy and Emergencies established by Club de Madrid Members, President Türk said, is one of the platforms through which the organisation is proposing recommendations to address the abovementioned problems. The platform, which counts IPU Secretary General Mr Martin Chungong amongst its members, set three pillars to be specifically monitored during times of emergency, such as the COVID19 pandemic: the mechanisms of democracy and fundamental rights; social inclusion, sensitivity to social development and problems that exist; and effective leadership and democratic culture. To deliver concrete actions in these three fronts, Türk underlined, it is essential to have a robust institutional framework, remove the seeds of authoritarianism from democratic systems, erase polarisation by paying special attention to its roots, and ensure human rights protection is seen as one of the main pillars of any democracy.
President Türk finished his intervention by pointing to the eight different recommendations the Commission wanted to draw attention to. Embedding digitalisation in political systems and ensuring new information systems with appropriate rules that limit monopolistic practices on social media companies appeared as some of the main concerns and action points.