How democracy and accountability can help address extremism

By Lean Alfred Santos 02 December 2015

Yves Leterme, secretary-general at International IDEA, talks democracy and accountability with Devex Associate Editor Richard Jones at the 2015 Annual Democracy Forum.

Following a spate of terrorist attacks, how can the concepts of democracy and accountability offer a sustainable solution to the conundrum posed by violent extremism?

While there's no silver bullet in addressing such a complex issue, Yves Leterme, secretary-general at International IDEA, told Devex associate editor Richard Jones that a sustainable solution would likely consist of a balance of people’s liberties with the provision of security for the general public — something democracy and a focus on accountability can offer.

“It’s about delivering in the long run, investing in inclusive societies [and] holding leadership accountable,” said Leterme, adding that the focus should remain on the need to hold accountable the people who perpetrate and propagate an extreme agenda.

The former Belgian prime minister said that democracy and accountability should be about much more than elections and keeping leaders in check, it should also empower people to make better decisions.

“It's about strengthening the capacity of individuals and strengthening the capacity of civil society to engage in the debate,” Leterme said.

Watch the above clip to learn more about Leterme's views on the importance of democracy and accountability to overcoming extremism, building inclusive societies and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Democracy Matters is a global conversation hosted by Devex, in partnership with International IDEA, to discuss accountability as a central element of deepening democracy. Visit the campaign site and join the conversation using #DemocracyMatters.

About the author

Lean 2
Lean Alfred Santos@DevexLeanAS

Lean Alfred Santos is a Devex development reporter focusing on the development community in Asia-Pacific, including major players such as the Asian Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Prior to joining Devex, he covered Philippine and international business and economic news, sports and politics. Lean is based in Manila.

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