Bali Democracy Forum ends with calls for continuation

Bali Democracy Forum ends with calls for continuation

Bali Democracy Forum (BDF) VII. Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (middle) as co-chairman with Philipine's President Benigno Aquino III (second right) taken picture with Timor Leste's Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao (right), Brunei's Sultan, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah (left) and numbers of Asia-Pacific foreign ministers/vice ministers at the opening ceremony of Bali Democracy Forum (BDF VII), in Nusa Dua, Bali.(FOTO ANTARA/Nyoman Budhiana)

Nearly all participating countries called for the forum to be continued because they believe it helps them learn new things from the way democracy functions in other countries. This is the strength of the BDF.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) -- The 7th annual Bali Democracy Forum (BDF) was concluded in Bali on Saturday, with several participating countries calling for its continuation in the years to come.

Speaking at the closing ceremony, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Dino Patti Djalal said many participants of the BDF expressed hope that the forum is continued during the term of the incoming government under the leadership of President-elect Joko Widodo and Vice- President-elect Jusuf Kalla.

"Nearly all participating countries called for the forum to be continued because they believe it helps them learn new things from the way democracy functions in other countries. This is the strength of the BDF," Djalal stated.

As countries share information on the development of democracy in their nations, participating countries learn a lot and benefit from the forum, the deputy minister noted.

Each country gets to learn about the development of democracy in other countries, particularly about the development of political, economic and social conditions.

"Several decades ago, we assumed that democracy and economics could not be developed hand in hand. But today, all participants agree that politics and economics can be developed simultaneously in different ways," he stated.

The deputy minister further added that the participating countries were free to incorporate recommendations from the 7th BDF to their countries political systems.

"It is an open and free forum. All participants are free to learn from other democratic systems," he reiterated.

Regarding the next BDF, participating countries offered several suggestions, including inviting more politicians and political parties.

Moreover, the Iranian Ambassador to Indonesia, Muhammad Farazandeh, has also expressed hope that the Bali Democracy Forum continues in the years to come because it serves as a useful means to protect the stability of democracy in the Asia-Pacific region.

"I recommend the continuation of the BDF in the years to come because of its contributions towards maintaining democratic stability in Indonesia," Farazandeh stated here on Saturday.

He claimed that Iranian high officials such as the president, foreign minister and representatives of the foreign minister had attended the annual forum for democracy in Bali since it was initiated by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in 2008.

"We believe that the initiative to achieve democracy through stability and peace can hold many countries together," he said.

According to the Iranian ambassador, Indonesia can change and adjust the forum to bring in new ideas on the best ways to develop democracy.

"When you have a democratic system in your country, you gain the support of other democratic countries. It is like a big worldwide family," Farazandeh remarked.

Also supporting the continuation of the BDF was Bangladesh Foreign Minister Shahriar Alam, who said that the forum highlights the message that democracy and development need to work in harmony.

"Justice and social equality, as part of inclusive development, should also be a goal of participatory democracy. The Bali Democracy Forum should declare this message to the masses," Alam stated on Saturday.

He added that to sustain democracy in a country, it must be driven by community participation.

"It is because there is no clear purpose for this type of development that is not owned by, designed by, or driven by the people themselves," he remarked.

Alam further noted that a democratic environment was important for strong and entrenched development, and that better development would create greater aspiration for democracy among the people.

"In Bangladesh, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina strongly believes that democracy and development must go hand in hand," he affirmed, adding that maintaining peace and stability were equally important for democracy and development to progress in a country.

Furthermore, Chinese Ambassador to Indonesia, Lu Shumin, acknowledged the significant contributions of the Bali Democracy Forum towards the progress of democracy in Asia.

"The Bali Democracy Forum should continue to be organized because it has played an important role in the progress of democracy in Asia," the ambassador said in Nusa Dua on Saturday, while representing the Chinese foreign minister at the forum.

"This is my third time attending the BDF representing the Secretary of State. I have heard a variety of ideas and opinions about democracy," Shumin noted.

He believes that the Bali Democracy Forum had become a platform for all countries with a social system, culture and history to exchange ideas and views on how democracy can be developed in each.

"I particularly appreciate President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and other leaders talking about the development of democracy in their respective countries. This is important for anyone who wants to develop democracy and implement the best possible democratic system in their country," he remarked.

Ambassador Lu, however, made note of the fact that the development of democracy must be adapted to the national conditions of a country.

The representative of the Chinese foreign minister also praised the political progress made in Indonesia, particularly the 2014 general elections. He considered it democratic.

"We are pleased that Indonesia has achieved much progress in democracy, which was reflected in the peaceful legislative and presidential elections," he noted.

Based on the theme of "Evolving Regional Democratic Architecture: The Challenges of Political Development, Public Participation and Socio-Economic Progress in the 21st Century," the 7th Bali Democracy Forum was held at the Bali International Convention Center on October 10-11.

This annual democracy forum was attended by 85 countries, including participating countries from the Asia-Pacific region, state observers from outside the Asia-Pacific region, as well as eight international organizations.

International organizations such as the United Nations and the European Union also declared their support to the Bali Democracy Forum. The organizations agreed that the forum should be continued during the term of the incoming government under the leadership of President-elect Joko Widodo. 

(O001/INE/B003)

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