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Archive for the ‘Americas’ 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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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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Interviewed in Spanish on 19 July 2010

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Good legislation could end up not producing any changes if its effective implementation does not comprise the sensitization and training of competent human resources, the provision of adequate funds and the establishment of transparent and effective procedures that involve a variety of actors, and in particular women as individual persons to whom rights apply.

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