The upcoming parliamentary elections in Kazakhstan on March 19 provide an opportunity to reflect on the importance of supporting and building a democracy. As an official independent election observer, together with OSCE observers, it is crucial to understand that building a democracy is a long-term process that requires patience, persistence, and a commitment to small steps.
What is essential to understand is that building a democracy takes time, at least three generations. It is not the case that Norwegian democracy was built overnight either, and it took time. Nor did everyone in Norway have the right to vote in the beginning. It is often easy to forget the path that large parts of Western democracy have taken to become a democracy. Therefore, it is essential to look at all the small steps that are going in the right direction, which will also contribute to Kazakhstan becoming a democracy on the same lines as, for example, Norway.
Therefore, I look forward to visiting Kazakhstan as an official election observer and witnessing the upcoming parliamentary elections. In this article, I discuss the importance of supporting and building democracy and the role of small steps in achieving this goal.
The Importance of Supporting and Building a Democracy
Democracy is a fundamental human right that allows citizens to participate in decision-making processes and hold their leaders accountable. It fosters transparency, accountability, and inclusiveness, essential for sustainable development and social cohesion. However, building a democracy is not an easy task, as it requires the establishment of solid solutions, respect for the rule of law, and the protection of fundamental human rights.
Supporting and building a democracy requires the participation of all stakeholders, including the government, civil society, the private sector, and international partners. The government must create an enabling environment for democratic processes to thrive by respecting human rights, promoting the rule of law, and ensuring a level playing field for all political actors. Civil society must actively promote accountability and citizen participation by monitoring government actions, advocating for policy reforms, and engaging citizens in political processes. The private sector can contribute to the developing economy that supports democratic governance by promoting good governance practices and creating job opportunities.
International partners also have a critical role in supporting and building democracy. They can provide technical assistance, funding, and expertise to help strengthen democratic institutions, promote human rights, and foster economic development. International organizations such as the United Nations, the European Union, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) can also support and guide countries transitioning to democracy.
The Role of Small Steps in Building Democracy
Building a democracy is a gradual process that requires patience, persistence, and a long-term vision. It cannot be achieved overnight but rather through small steps that add up over time. For example, holding free and fair elections, ensuring a free press, protecting human rights, and promoting citizen participation in decision-making are all critical steps to building a democracy.
Small steps can also help build trust between citizens and their leaders, which is essential for the sustainability of democratic governance. For instance, creating avenues for citizen feedback and engagement, promoting dialogue between political actors, and ensuring the protection of minority rights can all contribute to building trust and social cohesion.
Building a democracy is a complex and time-consuming process that requires the participation of all stakeholders. It is essential to understand that building a democracy takes at least three generations and requires a commitment to small steps that add up over time. The upcoming parliamentary elections in Kazakhstan provide an opportunity to reflect on the importance of supporting and building democracy and the role of small steps in achieving this goal. As an official independent election observer and OSCE observer, it is essential to recognise the importance of all the small proper efforts taking place and which will, in turn, contribute to building democracy in the long term. It’s about making stone on stone.
I also look forward to meeting both top political leaders and business leaders and, last but not least, people in culture and academia to discuss the importance of focusing on small steps daily that contribute to building democracy in Kazakhstan.
The author is Dr Glenn Hole (Norway), the Consulting Director and Associate Professor in Digital Business Transformation. Не will serve as an observer for the national election to be held on March 19, 2023