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November 12, 2016 / Congau

Unsuited for Democracy

Democracy is not suitable for all countries, but that is not mainly because their political culture and tradition is somehow less developed. There are plenty of examples of both countries that have gone directly from dictatorships to working democracies and countries that have unsuccessfully struggled with democratic experiments for years.

The deciding factor is the readiness to accept majority rule and that depends on the homogeneity of the country. Small minorities can be left out forever without the entire structure being endangered, but when a minority makes up a sizable part of the population, democracy will probably be impossible.

Iraq is a case in point. The Sunni minority can never win a majority through elections and if Iraq is to be a democracy it will always be ruled by the Shiites. An outside power has tried to lecture the Iraqis about the art of compromise and demanded that a broad coalition be established. But such a government would no longer be the rule of the majority and therefore it would not be democratic. What was the point of having an election, the Iraqis may rightfully ask, if the seats of government were to be distributed according to other principles than the election result.

Sure, it would be nice to have a coalition government in Iraq, but it would have to be held together by forces that are not democratic. Democracy is not suitable for Iraq, and that is also the case for other countries that are fundamentally divided.

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