Livni: Set criteria for what parties can run in ME

Referring to Muslim Brotherhood without mentioning it, she says standard should prevent movements not committed to democracy from running.

February 24, 2011 20:18
1 minute read.
Livni hand

Livni doing a hand thing 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

The world must set a universal standard for participation in democratic elections, opposition leader Tzipi Livni wrote in an opinion piece published in Thursday’s Washington Post.

Referring to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt without mentioning it by name, she said the standard should prevent armed radical movements that are not committed to democratic principles from running in the Middle East.

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“The free world has long recognized that democracy is about values before it is about voting,” she wrote. “In the 1930s, Europe showed that a democratic process divorced of values can have devastating results. Since then, democratic nations have enshrined the idea that democracy is more than elections and that those seeking to be elected must commit to key democratic principles.

“In Israel, for example, parties are ineligible to participate in elections if their platform embraces racist or anti-democratic doctrines.”

She noted that in the case of Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, the international community limited its conception of democracy to the technical process of voting, and the result was to give a measure of democratic legitimacy and power to movements that maintain independent militias and that pose a danger to their societies and neighbors.

“Current events in the Middle East highlight the urgency of adopting at the global level what true democracies apply at the national level – a universal code for participation in democratic elections,” she wrote.

“This would include requiring every party running for office to embrace, in word and deed, a set of core democratic principles: the renunciation of violence and the acceptance of state monopoly over the use of force, the pursuit of aims by peaceful means, commitment to the rule of law and to equality before the law, and adherence to international agreements to which their country is bound.

“Such a code could guide election monitors and individual nations in deciding whether to grant parties democratic legitimacy. It would put all societies on notice that electing an undemocratic party would have negative international consequences,” Livni wrote.

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