Jain (Deemed-to-be University) hosted 3 days meeting of the Global Barometers Survey from 18 to 20 January 2019. A major public event as part of the meeting was a Panel Discussion on Global Discourse on Democracy: Emerging Trends which was held on 20 January 2019. The six panelists, each representing one of the regional barometers participated in the discussion. They made brief introductory comments on Democracy in their region and also started a conversation on the comparative trends. This was followed by a question and answer session with the audience.
Introducing the theme, Dr. Sandeep Shastri, the Pro Vice-Chancellor of Jain (Deemed-to-be University) and representing the South Asia Barometer on the Panel, focused on the recent report published by the group which highlighted the fact that the support for democracy is linked to three critical factors: the citizen perception of the working of democracy, the economic performance of governments and whether the citizens perceive democracy as delivering tangible results. On South Asia, he highlighted the trend towards the democratic regimes being reduced to 'election only democracies' and the gap between the hope of a democratic 'dividend' and the reality of a democratic 'deficit'.
Dr. Marta Lagos, the Co-Chair of the Global Barometer Surveys and the Director of Afrobarometer, traced the rise of democracies in South America in the 1990s and their replace into authoritarian trends in recent times. She focused on the need for researchers to anticipate trends and highlight likely scenarios.The Director of the Eurasia Barometer, Dr. Christian Haerpfer spoke of the three types of regimes emerging in post-Soviet Union nations. Some of them were Formal Democracies, a few more were Democratic Autocracies and others were Full Autocracies. The differences lay in the 'context' of the journey towards democratization.
Dr. Boniface Dulani who represented the Afrobarometer highlighted the journey of the African continent towards greater democratization. He opined that one needs to budget into the analysis the question of 'demand' for and 'supply' of democracy. Many democracies given the long years of dictatorship and military rule had minimalist expectations.
Reflecting on developments in the Arab world, Dr. Michael Robbins from the Arab Barometer, highlighted the link between economic prosperity and the process of democratization and the impact of the demand for regime changes in the region.
Dr. Min Hua Huang from the East Asia Barometer dwelt at length on the paradox in East Asia between prioritizing economic development and the advancement of democratic norms. The panelists responded to a range of questions raised by both fellow panelists and the audience. It was 100 minutes of active engagement and intense dialogue.