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L'énigme de la démocratie libérale

PRINCETON – Il y a presque deux décennies, le commentateur politique Fareed Zakaria a écrit un article prophétique intitulé « La montée de la démocratie intolérante » dans lequel il s'inquiétait de la montée des autocrates populistes, peu soucieux de l'état de droit et des libertés civiques. Les gouvernements pouvaient selon lui être élus lors d'élections libres et justes, mais violer pourtant de manière habituelle les droits fondamentaux de leurs citoyens.

Depuis cet article de Zakaria, les démocraties intolérantes sont devenues la norme plus que l'exception. Selon le décompte de Freedom House, plus de 60% des pays du monde sont des démocraties électorales : des régimes où les partis politiques rivalisent et arrivent au pouvoir par des élections régulières, soit une augmentation de près de 40% à la fin des années 1980. Mais la majorité de ces démocraties ne parviennent pas à fournir une protection égale de la loi.

En général, ce sont les groupes de minorités (ethniques, religieuses, linguistiques ou régionales) qui supportent le poids des politiques et des pratiques intolérantes. Mais les opposants de tout poil au gouvernement courent le risque de censure, de persécution ou d'emprisonnement injustifié.

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