At international seminar, Secretary-General of IDEA addresses the need for electoral reforms around the world

Yves Leterme

On Tuesday (21), in the opening speech of the second day of the International Seminar on Electoral Systems, Yves Leterme, Secretary-General of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), said that free and fair elections are the foundation of democratic governance and crucial for the distribution of power in a transparent way.

For him, the need for reforms in electoral systems is clear, not only in Brazil, but in many other countries, for different reasons. "Brazil is a vibrant society that has made tremendous progress in recent decades, and the world is watching Brazil with great expectations," he said.

Yves Leterme said that from 1995 to 2000, 173 countries around the world held elections, and today that number has increased to 186 countries. For him, this is a sign that democracy has been expanding. However, according to him, if one considers voter participation, which fell from 70% to 67%, with a more important decline in Europe, the need for reform becomes evident.

The Secretary-General of the IDEA highlighted some aspects that he considers essential in the process of political reform: to have a clear and transparent objective for civil society; to define the leadership of the process; to involve citizens through civil society organizations; to have a global view of the process, assessing the impacts of each change to be made; and that there is visible ownership of the process, so people can believe in it.

Regarding the number of political parties in Brazil, Yves Leterme considered that "it is no longer sustainable". For him, there must be a stop in the multiplication of parties, which makes it very difficult to forge strong alliances. "The citizen no longer even recognizes the identity of each political party," he said.

Finally, Leterme said that in order to make choices about the electoral systems, there must be a balance between representativeness and governability.