Liberal democracy is facing a difficult time. Citizen disaffection with democratic institutions and elites has increased in both Europe and Latin America. In some countries, democracy has been subverted by rampant corruption and the illicit enrichment of politicians. Often the socially disadvantaged of globalization and economic transformations have lost faith that the democratic election of governments might improve their fate. Long-established democratic parties have lost their appeal, and populist politicians have won elections (including in the United States). The political debate has become tarnished by fake news and personal recriminations. In some countries, liberal democracy is threatened by authoritarian politicians who openly favor an illiberal version of democracy and are challenging the independence of the judiciary and restricting the freedom of the press. Moreover, these politicians have started to openly promote their authoritarian version of democracy and to form alliances with like-minded governments. At the same time, the effectiveness of the mechanisms for democracy protection and promotion has decreased (for example, in Latin America). Moreover, as a result of the impeachment process in Brazil and the recurrent debates about presidential reelections, the specific challenges of presidential democracy in Latin America are being discussed again.
The hope at the beginning of the third wave of democracy that democratic advances would continue and democratic breakdowns would be a phenomenon of the past has vanished. Now it is the question of how to sustain democracy over time and how to anticipate and prevent its degradation that has become more important. What are the reasons for democratic decay and what are the remedies? Redgob is a suitable forum in which to discuss these questions.
The Red Euro-Latinoamericana de Gobernabilidad para el Desarrollo is a network of renowned European and Latin American research institutions which aims to generate a space for the exchange of knowledge on the subjects of governability, public policy, institutional reform and development. Furthermore, it aims to build a bridge between academics, experts and policymaking officials from Europe and Latin America. The network promotes research, debate and the accumulation of knowledge on the above-mentioned topics, as well as further reflection from a European perspective. In order to accomplish these tasks, RedGob organizes annual conferences and seeks to publish the material from these conferences.
The 2017 conference will be organized for November 30 and December 1 by the Instituto de Relações Internacionais of PUC-Rio in cooperation with the GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies (Hamburg) and IDEA (Santiago de Chile), with the support of the EU-LAC Foundation (tbc).