Democracy for all: beyond a crisis of imagination findings and conclusions from a year-long initiative

About this report
This report sets out the conclusions of a year-long research project led by CIVICUS, the global civil society alliance. Their consultations heard the voices of people from around 80 countries. Civil society leaders, activists and stakeholders shared 54 written contributions and provided 97 interviews, while 26 democracy dialogues – informal citizen-led discussions on challenges with and hopes for democracy – were convened in countries around the world. All contributions have been published on the ‘reimagining democracy’ homepage.

From the report: Democratic regression and democratic aspirations
In country after country, democracy is under attack. In many countries, we see democratic regression and the withdrawal of democratic freedoms. We see the rise of polarising politics and the cult of the strong-arm leader. We see right-wing populism on the march. At the same time, profound global problems such as climate change, inequality and conflict are left largely unaddressed. Everywhere around the world, people are unhappy with the limited forms of democracy they experience.

Our consultations tell us that people want more democracy, not less. In the many countries that do not have functioning institutions of representative democracy, people want them, but in countries where these exist, people want more, and demand more participatory, deliberative and direct democracy. In our consultations, people overwhelmingly expressed the view that democracy is the best form of governance, even though it presently falls far short of its potential. People want democracy both because it enables better decisions to be taken and decision-makers held more accountable, and because there is a fundamental human need to have a voice and influence over the circumstances of our lives.

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