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Majority-opposition interaction: a litmus test of the good functioning of a democracy

“The interaction between majority and opposition in parliament is the litmus test of the good functioning of a democracy,” said PACE President Pedro Agramunt today, at the opening of an international conference on this issue, organised in Bucharest by the Venice Commission, in co-operation with the Presidential Administration of Romania and with the support of the Parliamentary Assembly.

He highlighted “the crucial role of the parliamentary opposition” which, through its oversight, reinforces the system of checks and balances and contributes to the transparency of the political process.

In addition, he recalled the “relentless efforts” deployed by the Assembly to help political forces in several member States overcome the protracted boycott which stalled the work of parliament and delayed the introduction of essential reforms. “Only the majority and the opposition working together can counter the feeling of disenchantment, frustration and anger which is increasingly widespread amongst our citizens,” he stressed.

“With so many daunting challenges facing Europe, we cannot afford a breakdown in the interplay between the majority and the opposition,” President Agramunt stated. “We need a common front and solid democracies in which the majority and the opposition know when it is time to debate, know when it is time to confront each other and also know when it is time to unite,” he concluded.

On the margin of the conference, Mr Agramunt also met the President of the Republic, and held bilateral meetings with the Speaker of the Senate and members of the Romanian delegation to PACE. He is due to meet the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies tomorrow.