President’s Opening Remarks
We recall how the United States of America struggled in its infancy with the selection of a suitable constitution. A major issue in this struggle was the choice between a democracy and a republic. Which model should be followed: that of old Athens, or the fresh ideas of the French Revolution? A key point of discussion was the franchise, for it related to people’s right to have a voice. Can and will an itinerant worker make an electoral decision, especially one affecting regional issues, with the same interest and the same sense of responsibility as the informed resident who has a stake in establishing a well-functioning, stable community in the long term? While this question has been answered politically, it remains open philosophically. In any case, even then there was discussion at the national political level about the importance of competence.