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Qatari Businessmen Association       Gulf Centre for Strategic Studies       Qatar University

Need to adopt democratic process: expert

Published: Thursday, 13 April, 2006, 11:44 AM Doha Time

Staff Reporter

EVERY word spoken here has a significant bearing on the democratic activities everywhere and trading fortunes of every country, said Scott Bates, senior fellow for national security at the Washington-based Center for National Policy (CNP).

Speaking to Gulf Times Bates made these remarks on the sidelines of the sixth Doha Forum on Democracy, Development and Free Trade at the Sheraton Doha Hotel yesterday.

The CNP is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy organisation. Now in the silver jubilee year of its foundation, the Center’s mission is to engage national leaders with new policy options and innovative programmes designed to advance progressive ideas in the interest of all Americans.

Countries following the democracy process are recording a very fast rate of growth and are classic examples of how the democratic processes has helped them achieve their goals.

Recent experiences have proved that democracy is perhaps the most dominant factor in the significant strides a country like India has made in the last decade.

“Now, one can say without an iota of doubt that India, along with China, form a group where economic growth is at the fastest,” he opined.

Bates feels that democracy helps unleash the potential of every individual while when all powers are vested in a single person, there tends to be stagnation in one’s growth.

“Truly speaking, democracy shows the path to growth while concentration of all powers in a single individual hinders the growth of not only that person but that of a society as a whole,” remarked Bates.

“What matters most these days in a democracy is not that how is it changing but how fast it is changing,” he said.

“The doors of democracy are being opened to more territories and no leader worth his name can afford to keep all powers with him these days,” said Bates, who is also CNP vice-president.

The CNP official’s work covers key security issues of the USA, including homeland security, the war on terror, and policy for dealing with weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

The conference provides an opportunity for people to benefit from exchange of views, ideas and programmes on democracy, feels Bates, who had earlier served as a senior policy advisor for the US House Select Committee on Homeland Security.

Without mincing words to express his concrete views on the pattern of governance in most countries in the Middle East, Bates said there is an urgent necessity to adopt democratic practices for their further prosperity.

The greatest advantage of conferences like this is that one comes across a number of people who are varying in perceptions, but having a common bond as far as cardinal principles of democracy are concerned, commented Bates.

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