The rules of the democratic game define the forms and limits of citizen participation in the electoral process. The constitution guarantees us a system of rotation and party plurality, but it also obligates us to respect its conditions.
We live with the advantages of a system of government that allows us to change course with our vote, and establishes the democratic procedures stipulated in the constitution. Democracy is not only about universal suffrage, but it is also a fundamental principle of political leadership and a method for running state institutions.
In addition to establishing the norms of democracy, the constitution creates a system of inclusive participation in order to settle the civilian leadership of a nation through suffrage. Voting is a great tool to channel the power tensions that coexist in a political community. However, far from being an ideal system, democracy requires the participation and respect of both the majority that confers legitimacy and the minorities that express opposition.
Until the two liberal revolutions of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in which social conflicts were managed by an equal government, through the birth of the liberal state: republican and democracy.
In 1776 and 1787 (Independence and Constitution), the United States united the concepts of republic and democracy to create a new nation based on three powers (executive, legislative, and judicial), and the establishment of a presidential system of administration of power, subject to the United States’ suffrage. Of course, the popular vote was a progressive phenomenon, and it was not really universal until the participation of women and all ethnic minorities, until the twentieth century.
History shows that democratic processes are possible in a few convulsions. The global pandemic and the second wave that we are experiencing represent a huge challenge to the Argentine electoral process, no doubt about it, but it is also a great opportunity to test the capacity and quality of political leadership in extraordinary times.
The democratic system relies heavily on the ability to handle emergencies without collapsing. From headaches to natural disasters, our democratic institutions must be preserved in the face of any adversity. Argentine democracy has gone through hyperinflation, massive devaluations, social explosions and military uprisings without interruption. It is clear that organizing elections across the country in such a difficult social and health context will be a defining event for our young democracy.
The latest news about An agreement between the government and the opposition to postpone the general elections and the commission for a monthHighlights the importance of generating basic consensus in times of extreme difficulty.
The 2021 election process represents an unprecedented challenge, not only with the legitimacy of our form of government at stake, but also the ability of the democratic system to overcome adversity.
Nothing is more important than preserving legitimacy in the exercise of political power. At a critical moment, it is imperative to reinforce civic commitment: Defending the electoral process is important to everyone: the administrators and those who are administered.
On December 10, 1983, the President who was delivering his inaugural address in the National Congress made a historic phrase inscribed today in the collective memory of Argentines:As we have said many times from the political stage, we Argentines have learned, in light of the tragic experiences of recent years, that democracy is a higher value than just a form of legitimacy of power, because with democracy we can not only be voting, but you also eat, learn and treat(Ral Alphonsen)
Leonardo J. Attorney and Professor of Human Rights from an International Perspective, School of Legal and Political Sciences, San Isidro Campus, Tigre Olica Extension, University of Business and Social Sciences (UCES).