xer-files
Saturday, January 14, 2006
  Minimum standards of democratic rule?
:: Arrivederci democracy ::
By Graham Allison, director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, was assistant secretary of Defense from 1993 to 1994.

This week, Russia assumed the presidency of the most prestigious club of the world's leading industrial democracies. But many are questioning not only Russia's fitness to serve as chair but even its qualification for membership in the Group of 8. China, for example, has not been invited to join this group, despite the fact that it has the second-largest economy in the world in purchasing-power parity (third at dollar exchange rates), because it fails the test of democracy.

• Can a state ruled by the nation's wealthiest individual, whose scores of private enterprises depend centrally on state favors, be a member of the G-8? [..]

• Can a state whose leader personally controls all the national television channels legitimately qualify for membership in a club of democracies?

• Should a state whose leader rewrites laws to save himself and his friends from prosecution on corruption charges pass the test on democracy and the rule of law?
• Can a state whose leader forces through changes to the constitution to benefit his party before upcoming elections properly sit at the table alongside Britain, France and the U.S.?

-- Which State is meant here? --
link to the article in the Los Angeles Times
 
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