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  • Documents on Democracy

The Philippines

In May elections, incumbent Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was reelected as president of the Philippines. (For more information on the elections, see the article by Steven Rogers on pp. 111-25 of this issue.) An excerpt from her June 30 inaugural speech appears below:

To win and realize our dream, we must all unite. We must come together by tearing down the barriers of social division and building up economic opportunity for the poor and establishing justice for all. This is the foundation of genuine unity.

Our unity as a people will be defined by a strong vision of a nation built on common values of hard work, shared sacrifice and love of country.

The unity we seek is not one of conformity but unwavering respect for the rules and institutions of democracy. A modern country founded on social justice, enjoying economic prosperity.

To achieve a united country, we need to face the deep divisions of our nation squarely, not only the truth but also the solution. That solution must engage all segments of society in a new government of political reform and economic change.

Our nation must embrace a vision of economic opportunity, social cohesion and, always and ever, democratic faith. I offer my hand and I hope it will be taken with the same faith.

Unity is not measured by how many political parties are able to achieve the accommodation of narrow self-interests. Rather, it is achieved by the harmony of sincere convictions based on our agreement on the basic requirements for achieving the national good.

We are not merely a group of islands surrounded by water but a country linked by the sea and unified by a rich heritage. We are not an archipelago of false hopes but a nation joined together by the progress we seek.

Our ability to unify will be judged by our ability to come together under a common vision that will erase the divisions that hold us back as a nation. [End Page 183]

The government must make tough choices, but this I promise: they will be tougher on those who have it easy than on those who have it tough already. In this way alone lies unity and not exploitation and division. We must include in our national goals the hopes and dreams of our poorest citizens in order for us to succeed.

It is immoral for the government to grow unresponsive, even corrupt, while leaving the poor without health care, without shelter, without clean water.

It is immoral for the foes of democracy to terrorize our children, paralyze our economy, and jeopardize our future as the poorest among us bear the heaviest burden.

Therefore, I come to you today with a mandate from the people to unite the nation and fight for change. I come to you today with a mandate to govern by the clear call of the sovereign people.

I look up to Congress to seize this moment in history. Its like will not come again. All eyes are on us. You have it within your power to transform the nation with laws. Laws that modernize our banking, laws that reform our bureaucracy, laws that strengthen the independence and honesty of our judges, laws that invest in our country and secure to our people the promised blessings of democracy, which are a life worth living, liberty worth having, happiness within eveyone's grasp.

Arab World

On June 3-4, more than a hundred civil-society activists, professors, journalists, and political-party members from across the Arab World met in Doha for a conference sponsored by Qatar University's Center for Gulf Studies. The conference produced a final statement, "The Doha Declaration for Democracy and Reform," which is excerpted below:

Democratic change has become a nonnegotiable choice which cannot be postponed. It has become unacceptable to confiscate political and civic rights of the Arab people which under diverse pretenses have been delayed at a time when most of the peoples of the world, including a number of Islamic countries, have undergone important democratic changes. Experiences throughout the world in recent decades have proven that politically free multiparty systems inclusive of political freedoms are not...


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