Seven “mediating values” from the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA):
• Participation. Without citizen participation, and the rights, the freedoms and the means to participate, the principle of popular control over government cannot begin to be realized.
• Authorization. The starting point of participation is to authorize public representatives or officials through free and fair electoral choice, and in a manner which produces a legislature that is representative of the different tendencies of public opinion.
• Representation. If different groups of citizens are treated on an equal footing, according to their numbers, then the main public institutions will be socially representative of the citizen body as a whole.
• Accountability. The accountability of all officials, both to the public directly and through the mediating institutions of parliament, the courts, the ombudsman and other watchdog agencies, is crucial if officials are to act as agents or servants of the people rather than as their masters.
• Transparency. Without openness or transparency in government, no effective accountability is possible.
• Responsiveness. Responsiveness to public needs, through a variety of institutions through which those needs can be articulated, is a key indication of the level of controlling influence which people have over government.
• Solidarity. While equality runs as a principle through all the mediating values, it finds particular expression in the solidarity which citizens of democracies show to those who differ from themselves at home, and towards popular struggles for democracy abroad.
Could have some implications for the global protest movement. How does the U.S. rank? What do you guys think?
For more on democracy assessment see http://www.idea.int/. They have an extensive framework, but one of the key features is that “Only citizens and others who live in the country being assessed should carry out a democracy assessment, since only they can know from experience how their country’s history and culture shape its approach to democratic principles” (IDEA). So I am interested in hearing y’alls feedback.