Theme II: Pre-empting Civic Strife and a Return to Autocracy

From the Street to the Political Arena

Moderator: Michelle Bachelet, Former President of Chile, Executive Director of UN Women



The Transition of Popular Movements to Political Parties

Uprisings in the region have been characterized by largely horizontal forms of organization relying on innovative mechanisms. While they have succeeded in rallying a large number of groups and individuals around the same cause, they face major challenges in competing with well-established and better organized political parties. How can their transition into more organized forms of political mobilization be facilitated? How can their impact in the decision-making process be maximized? What are the institutional and political mechanisms that can facilitate their engagement in the political sphere?

Pavol Demes, German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMFUS), former foreign Policy Advisor to the President and former Foreign Minister of the Slovak Republic




Containing Counter-revolutionary Forces

Protestors in many countries of the region are rebelling against systems of one-family/party authoritarian rule. How can the remnants of former regimes with vested interests be prevented from derailing progress toward democracy? What are the options for containing counter-revolutionary forces and preventing them from hijacking new civic entities, undermining the independence of the judiciary, and derailing reform?

Ely Ould Mohamed Vall, Former President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania



Political Participation and Electoral Reform

How should elections be conducted in countries in transition? How can countries move from one-party to multi-party political systems? What processes must be put in place to guarantee fair elections, equitable representation and social inclusion? Can States benefit from organizations that seek to promote democracy, such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)?

Vidar Helgesen, Secretary-General, International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA)



Michelle Bachelet, Former President, Chile