Islamists and Democracy: Cautions from Pakistan

It is easy for Islamists to accept the democratic principle of majority rule when it results in their being elected to power. But the experience of Pakistan warns us that efforts to “Islamize” laws and public life may be hard to reverse even if Islamists are voted out of office.

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Democratization Theory and the “Arab Spring”

In light of the “Arab Spring,” how should students of democratic transition rethink the relation between religion and democracy; the nature of regimes that mix democratic and authoritarian features; and the impact of “sultanism” on prospects for democracy?

PDF icon Democratization Theory and the "Arab Spring"

Why Greece Failed

Greece was an early success story of the “third wave,” but since the 2008 financial crisis, it has become a poster child for the pains of austerity and unrest. Its troubles at one level are fiscal and economic, but there is a political dimension that may be even more critical.

PDF icon Why Greece Failed

The Freedom House Survey for 2012: Breakthroughs in the Balance

Although declines in freedom outnumbered gains yet again in 2012, the year was not without some significant progress, most notably in the case of Libya.


Armies and Revolutions

A key factor in determining the success or failure of revolutions is how the national armed forces react. What are the keys to making accurate predictions about what the soldiers will do when the fate of a regime hangs in the balance?


Defunding Dissent: Restrictions on Aid to NGOs

A number of countries including Russia and post-Mubarak Egypt are taking aggressive steps to limit or stop foreign funds from flowing to domestic NGOs that promote human rights and democracy. What is driving this trend, how far will it go, and what can be done to counter it?


Lessons from Latin America: Building Institutions on Weak Foundations

A particular pattern of institutional change—“serial replacement”—is dominant in Latin America and other developing countries with weak institutional contexts. This pattern is characterized by institutional change that is both frequent and radical.


Lessons from Latin America: The Rise of Rentier Populism

Latin America’s much-discussed political “left turn” has taken two very different forms. Why has the region’s commodities boom led some left-turn states to move toward “plebiscitarian superpresidentialism,” while others have resisted this temptation?


Lessons from Latin America: Democratic Breakdown and Survival

Why do democracies survive or fail? An empirical study of Latin America finds that the fate of democracies depends largely on the regional political context, as well as the level of actors’ commitment to democracy and policy moderation.


Defending Democracy Within the EU

Should Brussels intervene to protect democracy within EU member states? Does Europe have the tools it would need to do so effectively? Recent developments in Hungary and Romania show the importance of addressing these questions sooner rather than later.


Southeast Asia: Sources of Regime Support

Data from the latest wave of the Asian Barometer Survey show commonalities and variations in the sources of regime support in Southeast Asian countries. Most regimes—democracies and nondemocracies alike—draw political legitimacy from perceptions of effective and upright governance.


Review Essay: A Voice from the North Korean Gulag

Evidence of the evil perpetrated in North Korea’s prison camps continues to emerge, as most vividly highlighted by Blaine Harden’s Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West.


Election Watch

Reports on elections in Armenia, Barbados, Czech Republic, Djibouti, Ecuador, Ghana, Jordan, Kenya, and South Korea.


Documents on Democracy

  • The “Declaration of Free Citizens” published by Vietnamese bloggers in January 2013.
  • Excerpts from Somali president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s January 2013 speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.
  • Excerpts from a pastoral letter issued by the Anglican bishop of the Diocese of Colombo, deploring the state of the rule of law in Sri Lanka.
  • Excerpts from the inaugural address of South Korea’s new president, Park Geun-hye, the daughter of military strongman President Park Chung-hee (1961–79).
  • Excerpts from a February 2013 speech given by Shin Dong-hyuk—who was born and raised in a North Korean prison camp and managed to escape in 2005—at the Fifth Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy.