The House Democracy Partnership Convenes Leaders to Discuss, “Strong Legislatures as a Bulwark Against Autocracy”
Washington, DC - Congressman Peter Roskam (R-IL) and Congressman David Price (D-NC), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Democracy Partnership (HDP), convened senior foreign policy leaders to discuss how to alter the recent trend among some emerging democratic countries toward autocracy. The bipartisan and elite group of foreign policy experts were unanimous that elected legislatures, when they are stable and transparent, are one of the most powerful means to stem that tide. Participants noted:
· Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State stated; “Building democracy is never easy and never fully accomplished; it is something to be worked toward, step by step, country by country, day by day. The HDP, as a genuinely bipartisan entity, has been setting the right example for years, so I am proud to be able to lend my support to its efforts, and to be able to express my thanks to all of you for your commitment to defend democracy at home and abroad.”
· Congressman Peter Roskam noted; “The bipartisan House Democracy Partnership is working closely with our partner countries to help create stronger, more stable legislative bodies. I am proud of the contribution we are making to help build, restore, or consolidate democracy, often in some of the more autocratic regions of the world.”
· Congressman David Price said, "A strong legislature has the capacity to preserve a nation, to promote the interests of the citizens and defend them from both domestic and foreign threats. In many of our partner countries around the world, responsive legislative institutions are essential for limiting executive power and preventing the slide toward autocracy."
· Wade Warren, Acting Administrator of USAID stated; Strong, effective, and independent legislatures are essential to the health of nations. It’s that simple. They’re the voice of the people and help keep executive power in check. The founders knew that when they created this important body.”
· John Negroponte, former Director of National Intelligence said; ““Throughout history, you can find many examples where legislatures are truly a counter to autocracy. Legislatures around the world should provide checks and balances to counter executive overreach and ensure that democratic ideals remain at the forefront of government practices. HDP is a valuable asset in ensuring that partner legislatures have the tools and resources necessary to be a true voice of the people and maintain a force for democracy.”
· Prasad Kariyawasam, Ambassador for Sri Lanka to the U.S., noted; "Sri Lanka’s age-old democratic traditions and the workings of the Sri Lankan legislature have been further strengthened by the collaboration the Sri Lankan Parliament enjoys with the House Democracy Partnership.”
The House Democracy Partnership, founded in 2005, is a bipartisan commission of the House of Representatives that works to promote responsive, effective government and strengthen democratic institutions by assisting legislatures in emerging democracies. The Partnership is assisted by the U.S. Agency for International Development, the International Republican Institute, and the National Democratic Institute.