COVID-19, a threat to democracy

Public Virtue deeply concerns that the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic represents a potential threat to democracy and the freedoms of those most vulnerable in society. There is evidence globally that the pandemic is disrupting democracy and governance worldwide, whilst adding fuel to the populist debate of the benefits of authoritarianism over democracy.

The pandemic has witnessed the rapid expansion of executive powers in the form of the centralization of power, the abridgment of basic rights, increased surveillance and banning of protests as well as the disruption of elections and the balance of civil-military roles.

Yet the limits of the government’s capacity to address the pandemic in a country like Indonesia may also open up new opportunities for civil society action in the form of front-line mobilization which may in turn reinforce democratic vitality at the local level.

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