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  • Documents on Democracy


At the annual summit of the G7, held on June 8–9 in Charlevoix, Quebec, the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States signed the "Charlevoix Commitment on Defending Democracy from Foreign Threats." Subsequently, the G7 set up a Rapid Response Mechanism led by Canada to strengthen coordination among leading democracies in responding to diverse and evolving threats. The Charlevoix Commitment appears below:

We, the Leaders of the G7, share common democratic values that are central to the development of free, open, well-governed, pluralistic and prosperous societies and recognize that equality is a core component of democracy. These democratic values are essential for generating broad-based economic growth that benefits everyone, creates quality jobs and ensures opportunities for all.

Democracy and the rules-based international order are increasingly being challenged by authoritarianism and the defiance of international norms. In particular, foreign actors seek to undermine our democratic societies and institutions, our electoral processes, our sovereignty and our security. These malicious, multi-faceted and ever-evolving tactics constitute a serious strategic threat which we commit to confront together, working with other governments that share our democratic values. Defending democracy will require us to adopt a strategic approach that is consistent with universal human rights and fundamental freedoms, our international commitments to peace and security, and that promotes equality. We welcome the work of G7 Foreign and Security Ministers in Toronto to establish a common understanding of unacceptable actions by foreign actors with the malicious intent of undermining our countries' democratic systems as the basis for our collective and individual response. [End Page 183]

We, the leaders of the G7, commit to:

  1. 1. Respond to foreign threats, both together and individually, in order to meet the challenges facing our democracies.

  2. 2. Strengthen G7 cooperation to prevent, thwart and respond to malign interference by foreign actors aimed at undermining the democratic processes and the national interests of a G7 state.

  3. 3. Establish a G7 Rapid Response Mechanism to strengthen our coordination to identify and respond to diverse and evolving threats to our democracies, including through sharing information and analysis, and identifying opportunities for coordinated response.

  4. 4. Share lessons learned and best practices in collaboration with governments, civil society and the private sector that are developing related initiatives including those that promote free, independent and pluralistic media; fact-based information; and freedom of expression.

  5. 5. Engage directly with internet service providers and social media platforms regarding malicious misuse of information technology by foreign actors, with a particular focus on improving transparency regarding the use and seeking to prevent the illegal use of personal data and breaches of privacy.

  6. 6. Support public learning and civic awareness aimed at promoting critical thinking skills and media literacy on intentionally misleading information, and improving online security and safety.

  7. 7. In accordance with applicable laws, ensure a high level of transparency around sources of funding for political parties and all types of political advertising, especially during election campaigns.


Following a polarizing and often violent election campaign, Jair Bolsonaro was elected president of Brazil in an October 28 runoff. (For more on the Brazilian elections, see the article by Wendy Hunter and Timothy Power on pp. 68–82 above.) Bolsonaro's October 29 victory speech is excerpted below:

I ask you all to be witnesses to the fact that the new government will guarantee the construction of democracy and liberty. It's a promise. It's not the promise of a party. It's an oath, a sacred oath. Freedom will liberate this country. Freedom will turn us into a great nation. The truth will shine and will guide us as it has guided us all along and will continue to guide us. What has happened today in the elections is not the victory of a single party, but the celebration of freedom by an entire country…. [End Page 184]

Freedom is a basic principle: the freedom of movement, the freedom of walking along the streets wherever you wish to, the liberty of free enterprise, political and religious freedom, the freedom to have your opinions and to defend them, the freedom of choice and respect for...