April 2011

Volume 22, Issue 2


Paradoxes of the New Authoritarianism

Why are the unfree regimes of the former Soviet world proving so durable? A lack of ideology and—perhaps surprisingly—a degree of openness are proving to be not so much problems for authoritarianism as bulwarks of it.

Liberation Technology

The Politics of Personality in Brazil

Dilma Rousseff won the 2010 presidential election as the handpicked successor of a towering political personality. Now she must assert firm sway over a ruling party and coalition to which she has remarkably slender ties, and face new challenges that her country cannot meet with “more of the same.”

Kenya’s New Constitution

Wracked by postelection violence in 2007 and 2008, Kenya embarked upon a course of constitutional change that culminated in an August 2010 referendum. How was the new basic law framed and passed, and what will it mean for democracy in this key East African country?

Sri Lanka: From Turmoil to Dynasty

Having only recently emerged from a prolonged and remarkably bitter civil war, Sri Lanka is now slipping steadily under the hardening authoritarian control of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family.

FOI Laws Around the World

Are laws guaranteeing citizens freedom of access to public information (FOI laws) among the most important democratic innovations of the last century?

Mauritius: Paradise Reconsidered

Once dismissed as an “overcrowded barracoon,” this Indian Ocean island nation has more recently been hailed as one of Africa’s “emerging success stories,” but the truth is that some troublesome shadings haunt this rosy picture.

Election Watch

Reports on recent elections in Belarus, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Haiti, Kosovo, Niger, Samoa, and Uganda.

Documents on Democracy

Excerpts from the “Roadmap for a Nation of Rights and the Rule of Law” issued by a group of 13 Egyptian NGOs together as the Forum of Independent Human Rights Organizations. Egypt On February 12, after Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak stepped down following weeks of protests against his rule, the Forum of Independent Human Rights…