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Archive for the ‘Quotes’ Category

Of course, much of what I am raising reflects a hopeful analysis of the potential of ICTs for the work of Parliaments. We are still at a relatively early stage in their adoption, and a number of challenges must be overcome for ICTs to fully flourish as a tool for strengthening democracy. Investment in public ICT infrastructure, broadband Internet coverage, and skills training are essential if these new methods of political engagement are to support a more accessible Parliament for all citizens. In addition to overcoming the digital divide, we must also address the socio-economic barriers to democratic engagement, remembering that ICTs are not a panacea for the deeper issues of disenfranchisement and apathy that threaten the quality of democracy today.

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Whereas more people than ever live in democracies, more people than ever are deeply disappointed by the problem-solving ability of democracy and politics. The gap between voters and their representatives is much smaller these days than a few decades ago, which is due to the media in particular. Yet, many of our citizens are turning away from politics and the democratic decision-making process because they consider government and parliament the domain of an elite they themselves do not belong to or do not want to belong to.  The third paradox is the reaction…of people who call for larger and stronger authorities every time something goes wrong in society…

We need new answers to such questions as what the role of government should be in times of global crisis, what citizens may expect from their governments and how citizens can influence government policy in our democracies…”Business as usual” is the worst possible reponse.  National and international thinking about economic growth will have to change.. We should focus on quality of growth rather quantity…At parliamentary level we require a different attitude with respect to accountability and responsiveness towards our citizens and parliament’s oversight duty.

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Democratic accountability should be an antidote for the world crisis, for it promotes the construction of a more liberated society, where the human being is the epicenter of our attention and where all of us are called upon to reverse the crisis of values before the superiority of the economic and financial power.

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The structure of the world economy has changed considerably since the Bretton Woods Conference [in 1944]. Today, the developing countries and economies in transition account for half of the world’s output. Yet these changes are not reflected in the decision-making structure of the financial institutions. The governance and legitimacy of their decisions have become questionable.

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Today, the resources available to take poorer countries out of misery are more abundant than ever before. However, history shows that these resources have been more for the benefit of developed countries that managed to take advantage of the social and economic liberalization process.  Timor-Leste is striving to put an end to this logic. We wish to lead a movement to promote measures which allow countries such as ours to escape from the vicious spiral of international aid and to become truly productive.

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The time for paying lip service to the need for global democratic accountability is past.  Parliaments can no longer be mere chambers of debate and time worn speeches without bringing about change. We can not call for this change from the sidelines, but must take up the challenge and become activists for change within our parliaments. We do this not for ourselves, but for the people we serve and to whom we, as their freely elected representatives, owe a world where human dignity and human security are paramount.

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In Latin America, authoritative polls show that only 48%  of citizens believe that democracy is the best form of government.  This phenomenon… is now reaching critical levels which political leaders need to confront.  We need to ensure the legimitacy and representativity of parliaments, which are today called into question by restricted electoral systems and low public participation in electoral processes. It is essential to work towards the adoption of legal norms which put in place electoral systems that are truly competitive and inclusive and, as a result, representative of all political, ethnic, geographic and social sensitivities of our countries. 

We should work with a view to making citizens feel genuinely associated to the legislative process.  We should not only listen to demands from civil society, but give them legal meaning, through clear legislation in response to concrete concerns of the population…We should confront questions of transparency, ethics and public morals, beyond institutional measures, such as the creation of parliamentariy ethics committees.  We should aspire, collectively and individually, to make parliamentary work fully accountable and transparent.

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