In severely divided societies, ethnic cleavages tend to produce ethnic parties and ethnic voting. Power-sharing institutions can ameliorate this problem, but attempts to establish such institutions, whether based on a consociational or a centripetal model, face formidable difficulties.
Nelson Mandela, who died in late 2013, fought for freedom for all the people of South Africa and masterfully guided his country’s transition to a nonracial democracy. His record on foreign policy is more ambiguous, but also instructive.
How do democracies emerge from monarchies? In an essay that eminent political scientist Juan J. Linz was working on when he passed away in October 2013, he and his coauthors draw lessons from the European experience about whether and how Arab monarchies might aid or resist democratic development.
After four years of sharing power with the opposition, Zimbabwe’s longtime president Robert Mugabe and his party claimed a huge victory in the 2013 elections. What accounts for the opposition’s stunning electoral decline?
By militarizing key state institutions and using violence against the opposition, Zimbabwe’s military elites have hindered the country’s transition to democracy. In return, they have been richly rewarded. Can the military’s tentacles be untangled from Zimbabwean politics?
Civil-liberties scores have notably declined over the past several years, while political-rights scores have slightly improved—perhaps because modern authoritarians have begun to adopt subtler means of repression. Overall, however, freedom experienced a global decline for the eighth straight year in 2013.
Home to about a quarter of the world’s people, South Asia presents a murky and not very encouraging picture when it comes to democracy.
After a decade of upheavals, Nepal elected in November 2013 its Second Constituent Assembly, but it is still unclear whether elites will accept reforms that empower wider sections of society.
An opposition victory in this Himalayan kingdom’s second elections in 2013 showed that surprises are possible even in a democratic transition that has been guided from above by the monarchy.
After a brief era of political opening, the authoritarian old guard has ridden a dubiously conducted presidential election back into power.
- The statement that Chinese rights activist Xu Zhiyong read at his January 22 trial for gathering a crowd to disrupt public order, for which he received a four-year prison sentence.
- The March 4 statement issued by former presidents Oscar Arias (Costa Rica), Fernando Henrique Cardoso (Brazil), Ricardo Lagos (Chile), and Alejandro Toledo (Peru) on the deteriorating situation in Venezuela.
- The newly approved Tunisian constitution.
- A December 2013 statement issued by the Civic Sector, one of the leading groups in the Ukrainian protests in the Maidan (a central square in Kyiv), seeking to set forth the principles of a new civic movement.