Past events Beyond voting: How meaningful are elections today?

Beyond voting: How meaningful are elections today?


Wednesday, 19 September at 11.30
Press Club Brussels Europe
Rue Froissart 95, 1040 Bruxelles

The global trend of autocratisation threatens the protection of democratic rights and freedoms. In this challenging situation, a close look at recent findings from research on democracy can provide fruitful insights into current developments on a global level. Multiparty elections as most visible feature of democracy continue to spread, however, they are at risk of losing their meaning. Elections are only meaningful if they take place in a free and fair political context – including a pluralistic media, vigorous civil society and clean electoral process. In this second event of our series “Democracy put to test” Anna Lührmann, Deputy Director of the V-Dem Institute, will present the world’s largest dataset on democracy and discuss the following questions: Where and how are these institutional prerequisites under attack today? How can European actors contribute to protecting and rejuvenating democracy in the short- and long term?


The rises of populism and nationalism in Europe and beyond, the increasing popularity of auto-cratic rulers, and the damage to the legal foundations of democratic systems are clear warnings that defending democracy is an ongoing task for all our societies. Brexit, the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris agreement and international trade negotiations, as well as the return to protectionist politics are clear indications to which extent the faulting of globalisation can put Western values and its democratic order at risk.

Against this background, the Brussels office of the Heinrich Böll Foundation organises a series of debates between analysts, civil society representatives, and policy-makers to reflect on current developments, the state of democracy, and the challenges ahead.
The Heinrich Böll Foundation is a member of the European Network of Political Foundations (ENoP).


Speaker: Anna Lührmann, Deputy Director of V-Dem Institute, Gothenburg

Commentator: Richard Youngs, Senior Fellow, Democracy, Conflict, and Governance Program, Carnegie Europe

Moderation: Cornelia Hoffmann, Head of Democracy & EU Programmes, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung European Union


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