In a new report from the Pew Research Center, respondents from twenty-four countries say what they think would improve democracy where they live. The think tank asked 30,000 people to weigh in and three themes surfaced: addressing basic needs, improving the system and overhauling the system.

When addressing basic needs, respondents said the country’s economy, the need for employment, safety and security, transportation, electricity and health care among other things are “precursors to democracy.” Infrastructure, managing inflation, caring for the poor and livable wages were also cited. The needs were also country-specific with those in India, for example, saying agricultural policies are important to a democracy.

Some respondents said reducing crime is important for a democratic system. A woman in Mexico said her government should “pay more attention to what they need to: supporting women who suffer violence, rape or mistreatment.”

Better or new politicians, a positive change in the behavior of the country’s citizens and ensuring existing laws were fairly implemented would also improve the system. If “leaders listen to Kenyans’ opinions and put the country’s well-being ahead of their own,” then their democracy would be improved, a Kenyan woman said.

Equal treatment regardless of one’s ethnic, racial or religious group identity was also a dominant theme in some of the countries surveyed. “More equality between men and women, better integration of immigrants, eradication of poverty, and elimination of child and animal abuse” was suggested by a French woman to improve democracy in her country.

When it comes to overhauling the system, some respondents called for fundamental changes to the country’s political system while others seek institutional changes to improve democracy, including “chang(ing) the size of certain institutions (such as the legislature), balanc(ing) power between branches or levels of government, or impos(ing) stricter term limits.” Some citizens called for the judicial system to be reformed and wanted changes made to the way elections are held. There were even “broader calls” for more elections, evidence of an ongoing desire to participate in their democracy.

Read the full report here.

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