Objectives

We are no longer at a time when Western countries were convinced that they embodied the democratic model and exported their own political systems to new nations looking for help, as they believed they were doing the right thing. Today, France cannot serve as a model in this regard anymore. Our fellow citizens are the first to complain about the deficiencies of their political system. We must therefore dissociate the democratic model, which is an ideal, from the so-called democratic regimes engaged at present in the process of reforming their practices in order to become more efficient.

Without denying the usefulness of empirical texts of positive law or historically dated documents – like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Institut pour la démocratie (Paris) bases its analyses on principles of political philosophy of universal scope, namely the unwritten law of democracy. The vague, if age-old, expression of “republican values”, as the French like to put it, has now acquired a very precise meaning since the concept of democracy was defined rationally some thirty years ago, thanks to the work of the French academician Jean Baechler in particular. Above all, we now have a yardstick by which to measure the democratic character of a given state.

With this debate on the definition of democracy almost over, the debate on the choice of the institutions that are most conform to the model should be over pretty soon too. It is no longer a surprise that these institutions give better results than the others. But this is not all. Given that all countries face the same problems, the right solutions in terms of political rules of the game are also universal. We now have strong arguments to denounce for instance the perverse effects of the presidential system, where power is rooted in one man, or the so-called “proportional” voting system, as the purpose of elections has never been to reveal political dissent, neither to perpetuate it, but to produce a majority apt to govern, and a united opposition ready to take over.

Taking into account the latest advances in knowledge in this field can only favour the emergence in the long run of a peaceful planetary order, based on the recognition of fundamental principles of universal scope.