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The Threat To Democracy In Europe

The threat to democracy in Europe

From the Canopy of Prayer (edition 88)

Worldwide, parliamentary democracy has been increasingly at risk for around 10 years. 

What is democracy? 

In a long process spanning centuries, the form of state of “parliamentary democracy” developed politically in the countries of Europe. Its essence is the so-called “separation of powers”. Contrary to the form of government where all power comes from one place (monarch, dictator), democracy determines that power in the state must always be divided into three: between a freely elected parliament that writes the laws, the government that implements the laws and the Supreme Court, which oversees the work of both, thereby guaranteeing civil rights. The government, or its chief, is elected by parliament with a majority of more than 50%. In order to win the majority, it is often necessary to connect two or more parties (“coalitions”). They agree on a programme that they want to implement. Of course, each party tries to bring as much as possible of their ideas, which they have also promised the voters, into the “government programme”. This however requires one thing: compromise. Without compromise i.e. the reconciliation of interests, no democracy can live. That makes many voters angry. The alternative is to suppress other opinions, persecution, or dictatorship. Many voters today have forgotten or never experienced things like the Nazi regime or Communist dictatorship so they go to the protest parties that always agree with them. Protest against “those up there” is the core message of all populists. 

However, the more the protest parties grow stronger, it becomes increasingly difficult to win a majority of over 50% for government formation. However, the more parties are required for a coalition, the more frustrated voters there will be and the faster the protest parties will grow. 

Where are we standing? 

At the moment we are in a democracy-critical slope in Europe which is highly dangerous because once the populists are in power i.e. in government with more than 50% in parliament, they immediately start to undermine democracy, for example the independence of the judiciary (Poland, Hungary, Italy under Berlusconi and Salvini, Trump in the USA). 

Unfortunately, these examples show that democracy abolishes itself through its own rules. Hitler was elected democratically. The battle currently in Europe is no longer about parties “left” or “right”, but about the preservation of democracy or the “abolition of the system”. 

What do we learn from this? 

  1. Don’t join a demo and don’t join any party with a fundamental No to a clear balance of powers! 
  2. Find out whether in a party conceivable solutions to problems are proposed or if fears are stirred up and anger against “the system” is emotionally fuelled. 
  3. Check in spirit / prayer the charisma of the leaders and the results of their work: Vanity? Hypocrisy? Dominance? Confusion and chaos? Hate? Impurity? Lies (“fake news”)? Fears? Or humility, transparency, team spirit, clarity, respect for other opinions, sexual purity, checkable facts, reliable security. Please take the time to read Galatians 5:16-26 and draw your political conclusions. 

Prayer 

  • Give thanks for democracy as a form of government 
  • Give thanks and pray for our government
  • Blessings especially on individual politicians

Ortwin Schweitzer

European Union of Prayer

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