Re: [OPE] The Basics of Democracy.

From: <>
Date: Mon Dec 01 2008 - 07:35:15 EST

 Dear Alejandro,
I admire you passionate engegament for democracy. All these criteria are formal criteria.
We know all from our experience that formal criteria are important. But if they are not accompanied by material criteria they turn out to be blind for real democracy and your statement on Cuba is suffering from such a blindness. I am sorry to say that. But it is really lucking of any seriousness. So for example what about workers and peasants participation in the planing of production and consumtion. What about factories, firms and so on.


-----Original Message-----
From: Alejandro Agafonow <>
To: OPE List <>
Sent: Mon, 1 Dec 2008 12:50
Subject: [OPE] The Basics of Democracy.

For those that need the basics of democratic theory, you can find below some of the criteria to judge democratic representative institutions. Even some long standing democracies do not pass an exhaustive analysis, but Cuba is far from a minimum.


These criteria are not incompatible with participatory mechanisms, and even more, participatory mechanisms are not credible unless they are within an institutional framework that guarantees free electoral competition to gain public offices.


Nobody in his right mind can reasonably sustain that in a one-party system, with partisan audit and prosecutorial agencies, and in absence of press freedom, participatory mechanisms can be trusted.


If you want that we have a serious discussion20about this issue, start to read the report DEMOCRACY IN LATIN AMERICA by UNDP


I encourage you to read the ‘Conceptual Debate on Democracy’. Unfortunately it is only in Spanish, but there are other interesting materials in English.



A. Agafonow



criteria to judge democratic representative institutions


1) Right to vote.

2) Clean elections.

3) Free elections.

4) Elected public offices.

5) Regular elections.

6) Legal requirements.

7) Proportion of enfranchised citizens.

8) Personal qualifications to run for office.

9) Party control of the candidate selection process.

10) Party registration procedures.

11) Access to direct public resources.

12) Access to private sources.

13) Access to TV time.

14) Independence of the electoral management bodies.

15) Nomination of presidential candidates: 15.1) legal requirements, 15.2) use of primaries.

16) Nomination of parliamentary candidates: 16.1) method of candidate selection and election, 16.2) quotas for female parliamentary candidates.

17) Presidential election rules.

18) Lower house or single chamber of parliament election rules.

19) Upper house of parliament election rules.

20) Number of parties and share of seats in parliament.

21) Division of power.

22) Terms of executive office occupancy.

23) Terms of legislative office occupancy.

24) Presidential legislative20power

25) Presidential partisan powers

26) Overall presidential powers.

27) Powers of the judiciary.

28) Supreme audit agencies.

29) Prosecutorial agencies.

30) Ombudsman offices.

31) Bottom-up mechanisms: 31.1) popular legislative initiatives, 31.2) referendums, 31.3) recall.

32) Top-down mechanisms: 32.1) Plebiscite.

33) Press freedom.

34) Violence against journalists.

35) Right of access to public information.
36) Habeas Data.


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Received on Mon Dec 1 07:37:12 2008

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