Politico has revealed the apparent list of countries invited to President Biden’s ‘Summit for Democracy’ to be held early next month. The summit was one of his major election pledges as he seeks to boost global acceptance of democratic norms in the face of mounting authoritarian pressures.
Whilst there is some debate about how the event has been downgraded, principally because of the pandemic, the invite list (assuming it is correct) is very revealing in terms of who has not been invited. I’ve reproduced the full list of those countries missing out below – and you can find the list of countries who have been invited here. But the missing countries fall into a few broad categories:
- The countries who don’t pretend to have real elections (such as China or Saudi Arabia);
- The countries whose elections are so problematic that they are essentially non-democracies (Russia, for example);
- The tiny states who might feel aggrieved at missing out (Andorra is missing out but Palau is on the invite list)
I’m particularly struck by two factors. First, that Bosnia, Serbia, Turkey and Hungary are missing out. Hungary’s omission will stand out as they are the only EU country not invited. It is to be hoped that their fellow EU and OSCE member governments will take President Biden’s lead and consider that more than passing attention needs to be paid to the election due in the Spring, especially when it comes to deploying a full election observation mission.
Second, that none of the Central Asian republics are invited. Whilst it is no surprise in the case of Turkmenistan or Tajikistan, both Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan have made some limited democratic headway and some have argued that having them inside the tent could be a productive move. And it is clear that Kyrgyzstan’s reputation as an island of democracy in the region now appears to be lost – at least according to the State Department.
List of countries not invited to the Summit for Democracy
Central African Republic