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Peres: Democracy Can Lead to Dictatorship

President tells German Chancellor Merkel the world should remember how Hamas took over Gaza when viewing Egypt.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 2/1/2011, 4:04 PM / Last Update: 2/1/2011, 4:19 PM

Flash 90

The world needs to keep in mind the results of the democratic elections in Gaza that led to the takeover by Hamas, President Shimon Peres told German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a meeting between the two Monday in Jerusalem.

"Democracy must not begin and end with the elections alone," Peres told his guest. "True democracy actually begins on the day following elections, with the granting of human rights and a concern for citizens' welfare," he explained. 
 
"If an extremist and dangerous religious dictatorial regime comes to power on the day after elections are held, what good are the democratic elections?" he asked rhetorically. 
 
"There is a clear attempt to place the Middle East under the extremist and dangerous religious leadership, and Iran is operating behind the scenes to fortify its influence on the region," Peres added. "The problem of Iran and international terror is not an Israeli 'monopoly' but a global problem. Only recently, we were witness to a terror attack in the heart of Moscow, and today, no world capital is immune from a terror attack."
 
Peres said that Europe has a key role in the development of a missile-defense envelope that will be deployed in the Middle East, in order to block Iranian expansionism.