President Prokopis Pavlopoulos spoke on Wednesday about the enemies of representative democracy and the need for its continuous defense during a speech at the start of the 4th annual “Αthens Democracy Forum,” on “Religion, Migration, Power and Money,” at the Presidential Mansion.
Pavlopoulos focused on today’s challenges facing Democracy, saying that anything that undermines it, eventually undermines European and Western culture in general and noted that representative democracy is a “precious yet fragile good.”
“The foregoing evince that representative democracy is an invaluable and yet fragile good. Therefore we are under obligation to protect it continually against its ‘enemies.’ Failure to do so risks Democracy itself and by extension, European and Western culture in general,” he said.
Pavlopoulos said nobody doubts that representative democracy is in jeopardy today, not just in underdeveloped countries, but also in very developed ones. Describing the dangers, Pavlopoulos named “government despotism,” that is, the arbitrary or abusive imposition of the executive power over the other two, the major obstacles encountered by a person when attempting to defend his rights through the judiciary, the no-barriers intervention of the markets and the ratings agencies in the sovereignty of states and the decadent path of the welfare state.
He also stated that representative democracy prevails over direct democracy, mainly because opposition and respect for the right of the minority are ultimately unthinkable in the context of the latter. “There is little doubt that representative democracy may be beneficially enhanced with direct democracy institutions such as the legislative referendum and the referendum on crucial political, social and economic issues,” he noted.