Prizing the hands off the levers of power

Just a quick thought on political power and its abuse today. I don’t think many would dispute the view that political leaders cling on to power once they get it and, left unchecked, will usually long outstay their welcome. We’ve seen this recently in Tunisia and at present in Egypt as the former presidents finally get the message that they must move aside in favour of democratic reform. Many other countries, including for example Zimbabwe, are suffering under the dictats of leaders who just won’t let go of the levers of power. And democracies aren’t immune to this either. Certainly here in the UK we’ve had our share of leaders who have clung on to power for too long.

That’s why I’d like to see fledgling democracies and those advocating democratic reform to adopt fixed terms for their political leaders. I’m not a great lover of the US political system but I do think their policy of a maximum 2 terms of office for the President is a very sensible idea. Lets face it, if a leader can’t put in place his policies and define his legacy after 8 to 10 years then perhaps he should be stepping aside anyway.  No one is indispensible.

So if anyone from Egypt is reading this or indeed anyone who may be involved in a future fledgling democracy or campaigning for democratic reform, think very carefully about how long you want your leader to serve, and make quite sure that a fail-safe mechanism  is in place so they step down when the time comes.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Drop a comment below.

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