January 2007

Volume 18, Issue 1

How Democracies Emerge

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How Democracies Emerge: Lessons from Europe

Those who argue that democracy requires preconditions often cite the example of gradual unfolding set by the established democracies. A glance at history, however, shows that even today's most placid democracies have "backstories" as turbulent as anything found in the developing world today.

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Revolution Reconsidered

The recent "color revolutions" in the former Soviet Union should lead us to reassess the idea of revolution and also to consider the weaknesses of the concept of "democratic transition.

Political Engineering in the Asia-Pacific

The 1997 financial crisis undermined the argument for a putative “Asian-style democracy” that prioritized economic development over political liberalization. Yet recent electoral and other reforms have set the stage for the emergence of a genuine “Asian model” of democracy.

The Mexican Standoff

The Mexican Standoff: The Mobilization of Distrust

Mexico’s system of electoral governance and dispute settlement worked reasonably well, yet it created too much noise and too many needless invitations to distrust. The failures observed were less those of institutions than of actors. The loser reacted deplorably, but none of those involved acted in a manner beyond reproach.

Malaysia: Turnover Without Change

When Abdullah Ahmad Badawi succeeded Mahathir Mohamad as prime minister in 2003, many expected far-reaching change in Malaysia. So far, however, turnover at the top has not led to significant democratic progress.

The Case for Presidential Term Limits

Presidential term limits have spread across the world, but in many countries presidents and their allies seek to circumvent or eliminate them. Advocates of democracy must protect this institution, as its role in democratization may be far more powerful than is conventionally recognized.

Candidate Selection: The Choice Before the Choice

Voters casting ballots are an indispensable element of free government, but who decides which names go on those ballots? Although methods of candidate selection have received surprisingly little study by political scientists, they merit the attention of students of democracy everywhere.

Election Watch, January 2007

A review of recent elections in Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Congo (Kinshasa), Ecuador, Gabon, The Gambia, Latvia, Madagascar, Montenegro, Nicaragua, Saint Lucia, Tajikistan, Venezuela, Yemen, and Zambia.

Documents on Democracy

Excerpts from remarks delivered at a memorial for Anna Politkovskaya, the Russian journalist and human rights advocate murdered in Moscow on October 7. Excerpts from a statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission, condemning the September 19 military coup in Thailand which ousted Thaksin Sinawatra. Excerpts from a December 1 speech by Felipe Calderón, his…