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The Elders raise deep concerns at failure to respect US democratic transition of power

ADEZE OJUKWU

Eminent global leaders, under the aegis of The Elders have expressed deep concerns about US President Donald Trump’s refusal to adhere to the protocols and processes governing the transition of power, ‘as putting at risk the functioning of American democracy.’

‘The continued assertions of electoral fraud by the President and some senior members of the Administration and of the Republican Party, offered as yet without any compelling evidence, convey a lack of respect for the integrity and independence of the democratic and legal institutions of the United States,’ they warned.

This was contained in  a statement issued by Mary Robinson, Chair of The Elders and former President of Ireland.

‘Such an unprecedented situation could have far-reaching consequences beyond the United States’ borders. Those who stand to benefit from the current impasse are autocratic rulers and malign actors who wish to undermine democracy and the rule of law across the world,’ it stated.

The Elders, an independent group of global leaders working together for peace, justice and human rights, was  founded by former South African President Nelson Mandela.

Its vision is ‘for a world where people live in peace, conscious of their common humanity and their shared responsibilities for each other, for the planet and for future generations.’

Former UN Secretary General, Dr Ban Ki Moon and Dr. Graca Machel former Education Minister of Mozambique are co- Deputy Chairs.

The elite organization parades top global citizens as  former UN  Dr. Kofi Annan as well as  former presidents including Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, Juan Santos of Columbia, Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico and Marrti Ahitsaari of Finland and Jimmy Carter of USA.

Others in the high-profile club include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, first female Norwegian Prime Minister,  Gro Brundtland

The group on Monday congratulated US President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on their election victory and  ‘commended the scale of voter participation in this US election, underscoring the resilience of American democracy.’

They noted that all living former US Presidents, including the last Republican incumbent George W. Bush, have congratulated President-elect Joe Biden and deemed the election outcome to be clear and fair.

Notwithstanding any continuing legal challenges, President Trump should follow the example set by his predecessors and declare himself willing to accept the verdict cast by the American people at the ballot box. The executive powers available to the President until his successor assumes office on 20 January 2021 should be used judiciously in the interests of the whole United States, rather than for partisan gain.

The elite group called on Republican leaders to act responsibly in the interests of their country by supporting a smooth transition and pursuing their political agenda with integrity.

‘Continued baseless accusations of subversion risk further deepening the instability and polarisation in American society, and eroding public faith in institutions that is the bedrock of democratic life.’

Robinson said, ‘it is shocking to have to raise concerns about US democratic processes as The Elders have previously commented on volatile and undemocratic situations in states such as Kenya, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. President Trump’s refusal thus far to facilitate a smooth transition weakens democratic values. His fellow Republicans must now affirm their faith in the US Constitution, democratic institutions and the rule of law, so the country can begin a process of reconciliation.”

‘The Elders hope that the incoming administration, as well as seeking to unite a divided country, will seize the opportunity to renew America’s commitment to the multilateral system at a time when US leadership is urgently needed.’

This includes taking a leading role in efforts to keep global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees Celsius by recommitting the US to the Paris Climate Agreement; supporting global collaboration on tackling COVID-19 by reversing plans to withdraw funding for the World Health Organization; prioritising the strengthening of nuclear arms controls, including immediate agreement with Russia on a five year extension of New

The world is at a critical juncture and the new US administration will have an opportunity to demonstrate the best of American participation and leadership. We need to restore cooperation and compassion as the necessary guides of world affairs, from climate action and nuclear non-proliferation to gender equality and respecting the rights of migrants and refugees. President-elect Biden faces a formidable challenge and The Elders offer him our support in the months and years ahead.’

‘Working both publicly and through private diplomacy, our mission is to engage with global leaders and civil society at all levels to resolve conflict and address its root causes, to challenge injustice, and to promote ethical leadership and good governance,’ they noted.

Robinson is the First woman President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

She is also ‘a passionate, forceful advocate for gender equality, women’s participation in peace-building and human dignity.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

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