Just as Russia's leaders pretend that they are ruling over a democracy, they also pretend that they are ruling over an empire.
Volume 19, Issue 2
Despite key improvements during Néstor Kirchner's presidency, Argentine democracy remains vulnerable to crisis. The near collapse of the party system and weakness of political and economic institutions continue to threaten stability.
Brazil under Lula offers a test case of how politicians and societal interests in developing countries react when economic growth and new possibilities change the name of the game from shock and scarcity to boom and prosperity.
Long an extreme case of institutionalized instability, Ecuador now has a dynamic young president who is determined to remake its constitution, and eventually its society, in the name of "twenty-first-century socialism."
Authoritarian pushback continued to affect key regions and countries in 2007, but the courage, energy, and creativity that democrats continued to show gives reason to think that their cause has brighter days ahead.
Do young democracies have to "deliver the goods" economically in order to win political legitimacy in their citizens' eyes? Public opinion data from Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Arab world suggest some fascinating answers.
Why has China's transition to democracy been so delayed, and what can be done to hasten it?
Progress and Retreat in Africa
In Africa today, investment flows in and civil societies grow stronger, yet many of the continent's leaders continue to behave autocratically, defending their privileges against the spread of law-based rule.
Despite sweeping political and constitutional changes in Africa, a notable feature of the ancien régime survives—the imperial presidency. African presidents may be term-limited, but they have not been tamed.
The legislature is emerging as a "player" in some African countries, though not in others. What is the relationship between legislative development and democratic consolidation in Africa?
Africa is a battleground between formal democratic institutions and rule by the will of the "big man." Civil society groups are waging this struggle, and technology is equipping them with surprising new tools.
Trends in Democracy Assistance
Democracy assistance has been a growing priority for the United States since the end of the Cold War. The record shows that its focus goes well beyond elections and other procedural dimensions of democracy.
In recent years, European aid in support of political development has been on the rise. What kind of programs have these funds been supporting, and where are they being spent?
A review of India After Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy by Ramachandra Guha and The Clash Within: Democracy, Religious Violence and India's Future by Martha C. Nussbaum.
Reports on elections in Armenia, Barbados, Belize, Bhutan, Croatia, Djibouti, Georgia, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, South Korea, Serbia, Taiwan, and Thailand.
Excerpts from: Kosovo’s Declaration of Independence from Serbia; U.K. foreign secretary David Miliband’s speech, “The Democratic Imperative”; the power-sharing agreement between the Kenyan president and opposition leader; “Pakistan’s Tipping Point” by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party.