This story is from Democracy Digest, the National Endowment for Democracy’s daily blog:
Covid-19 is creating opportunities for autocrats and would-be autocrats to tighten their grip, the Economist notes. They must assume extraordinary powers, they insist, to protect public health. No fewer than 84 countries have declared a state of emergency since the pandemic began, says the Centre for Civil and Political Rights, a watchdog in Geneva. Some will surrender these powers when the emergency is over. Others plan to hang on to them. The danger is greatest not in mature democracies with strong checks and balances, such as America, but in places where such safeguards are weak, such as Hungary, the paper observes.
But in the midst of autocratic assertion there is democratic dereliction, analysts suggest.
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically highlighted the absence of global democratic leadership as people on the European side of the Atlantic look at the richest and most powerful nation in the world with disbelief, the New York Times reports:
The country that defeated fascism in Europe 75 years ago next month, and defended democracy on the continent in the decades that followed, is doing a worse job of protecting its own citizens than many autocracies and democracies. There is a special irony: Germany and South Korea, both products of enlightened postwar American leadership, have become potent examples of best practices in the coronavirus crisis.
Read the full perspective here.