The wonder of voters demanding trust

This year, countries that include more than half of humanity are holding elections. This high rate of democratic activity, however, started against a grim backdrop. The watchdog group Freedom House noted in a February report the global erosion of individual rights and liberties, driven by attacks on “the peaceful coexistence of people with different political ideas, religions, or ethnic identities.”

At midyear, the voting so far indicates an optimistic pattern. Three of the most consequential ballots – in Turkey, South Africa, and India – have shown that societies are not powerless against ruling parties that overstay their welcome. Democracies can be self-correcting and renew their resilience.

In each of the three countries, an entrenched party sought to extend and expand its power, often using political intimidation and claims of entitlement rooted in the past. To the surprise of party leaders, voters didn’t buy it. They embraced equality over division and shared government over single-party control. And notably, women and youth were key agents of change.

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