Seymour Martin Lipset argued that economic development would enlarge the middle class, and that the middle class would support democracy. To what extent will this general proposition prove true of China?
Volume 27, Issue 2
Latin America's New Turbulence
Venezuela’s competitive authoritarian regime now confronts a highly mobilized opposition with a large majority in the legislature. What are the prospects for successful democratic change amidst a deteriorating security situation and an economy in freefall?
With a skillfully conveyed message of managerial competence and an electorate disenchanted by a floundering economy and the outgoing incumbent’s confrontational style, Mauricio Macri demonstrated that a non-Peronist can win Argentina’s presidency.
Public anger at revelations of widespread corruption, along with the rising cost of coalition politics, has brought Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff to the brink of impeachment. Yet the crisis has also revealed the strength of the country’s law-enforcement and judicial institutions.
The long-ruling PRI staged a comeback in 2012 behind a young president touting a reformist agenda, but Enrique Peña Nieto’s early successes have been eclipsed by government underperformance and a continued failure to restore public security.
Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador are weighed down by high crime, sluggish economies, and heavy reliance on remittances. And when significant political change has taken place, it has resulted in frightening political fragmentation.
In 2015, the tenth consecutive year of decline in global freedom, the world was battered by overlapping crises, spurring harsh authoritarian crackdowns and revealing the leading democracies’ lack of conviction.
Burma Votes for Change
Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy swept Burma’s November 2015 elections. Will the new NLD-led government be able to live up to high expectations that it will deliver better governance, national reconciliation, and some form of federalism?
Even though Burma’s military seems to have accepted the NLD’s stunning election victory, it can still use an array of constitutional provisions to hamstring the incoming NLD government.
What does public opinion tell us about Burma’s longer-term prospects for democracy? The Asian Barometer Survey reveals contradictory attitudes regarding democracy and democratic values among the citizens of Burma.
In power since 2002, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan seemed as if it might be losing its hold when Turkish voters went to the polls in June 2015. Yet that “hung election” gave way to another contest in November, and the AKP came roaring back.
Ten of the world’s twelve largest countries are “electoral democracies.” Yet a look at politics beneath the national level reveals patterns of illiberalism that mark out a new frontier for democratic research and activism.
A review of Making Waves: Democratic Contention in Europe and Latin America Since the Revolutions of 1848 by Kurt Weyland.
Reports on elections in Benin, Central African Republic, Comoros, Congo (Brazzaville), Haiti, Iran, Jamaica, Niger, Samoa, Seychelles, Slovakia, Taiwan, Uganda, Vanuatu.
Excerpts from: the inaugural address of Argentine president Mauricio Macri; victory speech by Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-Wen