Global Barometer Survey Meetings & Panel Discussion- ‘Democracy in South Asia: Emerging Trends’

JU News Desk
Published: May 2019

Jain (Deemed-to-be University) hosted a Global Barometer Survey Meetings and panel discussion from January 18 to 20, 2019. A seminar on ‘Democracy in South Asia: Emerging Trends’ was also held on January 19, 2019 as part of the event.

Representatives of the six regional barometers and South Asia country coordinators – Marta Lagos (representing the Latinobarometer from Chile), Christian Haerpfer (representing the Eurasia Barometer from Austria), Boniface Dulani (representing the Afrobarometer from Malawi), Michael Robbins (representing the Arab Barometer from USA), Min Hua Huang, Kai Ping, Kuan Chen Lee and Jason Kuo (representing the East Asia Barometer from Taiwan), Krishna Hachhethu (Country Coordinator for Nepal), Pradeep Peiris (Country Coordinator for Sri Lanka), Sk Tawfique Haque, (Country Coordinator for Bangladesh) and Sanjay Kumar (representing South Asia Barometer) attended the meeting.

The Global Barometer Surveys group was joined by several academicians, retired government officials and political leaders at the Seminar. The presentations on each of the countries of South Asia were followed by a discussion.

Dr. Sandeep Shastri, Pro Vice – Chancellor of JAIN, 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 3 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 them being replaced by authoritarian 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 3 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 democratisation.

Dr. Boniface Dulani, who represented the Afrobarometer highlighted the journey of the African continent towards greater democratisation. 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 minimalistic expectations.

Reflecting on the developments in the Arab world, Dr. Michael Robbins from the Arab Barometer highlighted the link between the economic prosperity and the process of democratisation 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 panellists responded to a range of questions raised by both fellow panellists and the audience.