‘In a democratic Republic, the elected officials must retain the favourable opinions of
the citizens, and their efforts to influence organisations will reflect this need’. Discuss
how the interaction between civil society and Elected Officials may help to facilitate
Challenging times show a society’s resilience and capacity for solidarity and cohesion, the government’s ability to deal with emergencies effectively, the stability and inclusiveness of political systems, and their aptitude to respect democratic values. It is particularly important to examine this period from the point of view of civil society and civil society organizations (CSOs), since civil society plays a pivotal role in the alleviation and dissipation of societal troubles associated with the epidemic, indeed a vital role in curbing the virus.
Citizens are expected to trust no one or no organization except the charismatic leader (or party). Thereby is forged a vertical and hierarchical chain of control, rather than a horizontally linked network of trust and cooperation. One of the endpoints is represented by those countries where the CSO’s creative and constructive responses to the social challenges were prevented or blocked by the government. In this setup, CSOs were ignored at best, and restrictions undercut their abilities to contribute to the process of mitigating the pandemic and its consequences. Meanwhile, at the opposite end of this scale, are countries where the government, both central and local, invited civil society partners in the response to COVID-19, orchestrated high-quality and multilevel cross-sectoral cooperation, and provided partners with the necessary (financial) resources. In those cases, CSOs were empowered effectively to participate in a process designed to address the epidemic and its consequences in accordance with principles of participatory democracy.