Saturday, November 26, 2011

Democracy and Venezuela Podcast

In November 2011, Stephen Garvey FDA founder and executive director interviewed Mr. Leonardo Tovar on the current and future states of Venezuelan democracy. Mr. Tovar is a Venezuelan expatriate, who is completing a masters degree in public policy, and who was in Venezuela during the 2002 attempted coup d'état on Chavez's government. Among other things, Mr. Tovar discusses from a relatively neutral standpoint the polarization of Venezuelan society. This podcast is in contrast to the Dr. Victor interview on Venezuela on October 6, 2011, and the podcast is a supplement to the 2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Report on Venezuela. Overall, Mr. Tovar provides a pragmatic outlook on the current and future states of Venezuela.

FDA podcast interview of Mr. Tovar on democracy and Venezuela

2011 FDA Global Electoral Fairness Report on Venezuela

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Religion and Democracy Podcast

In the Religion and Democracy podcast, FDA members and invited guests discuss whether or not religious based political parties should allowed to participate in elections as electable political parties.

Invited guests include Mr. Randy Tyson from the Center for Inquiry, Mr. Artur Pawlowski, member of the Christian Heritage Party of Canada and Christian pastor at the Street Church Ministries based out of Calgary, and Mr. Jim Blake, member of the Christian Heritage Party of Canada and Chairman of Concerned Christians of Canada.

Religion and Democracy (Part 2) will be taking place on December 6th, and it will explore the threshold for banning secular and religious based political parties.

Religion and Democracy (Part 1)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Jordan Receives 0 percent Score for Electoral Fairness

Executive Summary:

Jordan received an overall score of 0 percent for electoral fairness. The score means that Jordan's electoral system is completely unfair. FDA auditors could find no overall, free standing element of fairness in Jordan's electoral system. In the FDA's opinion, three key things define Jordan's electoral system: the Jordanian king is above Jordanian law; the kingdom restricts freedom of expression; and there is no public transparency of electoral finances. These elements, and others, cancel out all elements of electoral fairness in the Jordanian electoral system such as the guaranteed parliamentary seats for women, religions, and tribal minority, and caps on individual donations to political parties. Consequently, the Jordanian electoral system is undemocratic and part of the authoritarian control of Jordan by the king and his royal family. Progressive reform of the Jordanian electoral system must start with constitutional reform in which the king ceases to be above Jordanian law, the Jordanian Senate seats are determined by election rather than appointment by the king, and the king ceases to have the constitutional right to dissolve the Senate and Council of Deputies, postpone elections, and appoint cabinet ministers.

2011 FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Report on Jordan

Thursday, November 17, 2011

FDA Podcast on Religion and Democracy

Last night FDA members and invited guests met for the monthly FDA podcast. The topic of the podcast was whether or not religious based political parties should be allowed to participate in elections as electable parties.

The podcast will posted on itunes under the Foundation for Democratic Advancement shortly.

Here is an opinion piece on what transpired during the podcast:

Atheist perspectives on the FDA podcast

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Jordan's democracy on par with Bahrain, Syria, and Egypt under Mubarak.

On November 9th, the FDA audited Jordan's parliamentary electoral system, in which Jordan received a 0 percent score overall and 0 percent scores in all four sections of electoral fairness. The overall score means that FDA auditors could find no overall, free standing element of fairness in Jordan's parliamentary electoral system.

With no public transparency of electoral finances, restrictions on freedom of expression, and the Jordanian king above law, any element of fairness in Jordan's electoral system is canceled out.

The FDA electoral fairness report on Jordan will be produced shortly.