The Global Democracy is stressing out under the Pandemic cords

Cristina Tutu posted 2 years ago, 0 Responses
The unusual and forced slowdown we have received unexpectedly has influenced the societies around the globe not only at psychological or sociological level, but from a political point of view, as well.

During the last few months, many groups have protested in some major cities in the world against the mandatory measures and actions that help to prevent the Covid-19 spread. In Romania, the protesters promised to raise again their voices „until they will be heard”  and gathered also signatures for a petition claiming the exemption from wearing the masks for their children in schools, which they want to submit to the Minister of Education.

Many are against the anti-Covid vaccines and wearing the masks claiming these measures to have a negative impact on their children and to be nonetheless violations against their freedom.

Unfortunately, the pandemic period has risen the voices of the sceptics around the world. In Bucharest, London, Paris, Berlin, Zurich, Quebec etc, groups are targeting the mandatory safety measures imposed by the governments against Covid virus spreading. But are these procedures always necessary? Or is something else hiding behind this crisis measurements? Some critics blame politicians to use in their political advantage the failure of the government to manage the crisis situation and urge a change in the context of the campaign elections happening this year in many countries. 
On the other hand, for others the postponed elections mean leaders are using the pandemic as a reason to avoid the electorate and secure positions. Therefore, the question is can we foresee other political advantages resulting from the pandemic situation?

Studying the press, my opinion is that the political landscape during Covid-19 is still in a continuous change and in some cases it may appear violent, in others it may have caused some distress and controversy only.  

So, how far can coronavirus measures go before they infringe on democracy? (1) 

Who is using the pandemic in order to secure their leadership position and impunity? 
What are the political consequences in the pandemic context? 
Even if is difficult to believe that some governments may use the state of pandemic for political purposes, there is an example of at least one state that had imposed no state of emergency but restrictions and unclear, illegitimated arrests: Fiji. In this state, critics believe that leaders use coronavirus as a cover for authoritarianism (2).

The situation between Beijing and Hong Kong -an autonomous city over its own affair, where the first is pushing the second to pass some laws that would consolidate the central government power  is another example.

Another surprising update is coming from South Korea which is likely to emerge stronger for democracy, as it had already succeeded to organise elections under strict guidelines, of course.(3 ) The state had a record figure whereas the Coronavirus patients voted by mail and more than a quarter of the country\'s 44 million voters cast their ballots before election day. Another state is Poland which held its wide-scale postal voting for the first time.(4)

On the contrary, Hungary is a negative example, as Orban has exploited the pandemic into his benefit, through an emergency decree, acquiring extraordinary powers for an indefinite period of time and restricting human rights and freedoms. In addition, other countries, as well, are finding an opportunity to curb protests and dissent. Chile, „ where mass protests were rampant, has army patrolling the streets due to “emergency”.(5)
In Romania and Iran, under the pretext of requesting information for tracing the contacts of Covid patients, the governments are collecting private data such as names, dates of birth, telephone numbers, breaching privacy. 
In Israel the Prim-minister blocks the Courts so that he can avoid 3 criminal cases he has to face.
Will these measures be used to dent democracy? (6) With elections o without it, the people generally fear the virus and are not accepting another lock-down episode; therefore, many ignore any sign of government manipulation or rights breach. The virus is not giving any fading sign and the specialists are saying that at least for the next 2 years we would be still at risks. The question that stays is for how long will the people stay obedient? The privacy rights are not seen as fundamental anymore as new surveillance technologies, drones, able to detect one’s health state, a caught or body temperature are highly to be adopted. Will these be the next big brother watch?

Extraordinary times, extraordinary measures, the pandemic is a double-edge sword.