July 1998

Volume 9, Issue 3

India Defies the Odds

India Defies the Odds: Enduring Another Election

Indians appear to love the practice of democracy so much that they are in danger of overdoing it. In February and March of 1998, the world's largest democracy held its twelfth general election since gaining its independence a half-century ago. The voting was largely fair and peaceful. New, right-of-center rulers led by the Bharatiya Janata…

India Defies the Odds: Making Federalism Work

To understand how India's democracy works, and how it manages demands from social groups for greater power, resources, autonomy, and respect, it is essential to understand Indian federalism. That, in turn, requires us to address two questions. First, why have relations between New Delhi and the various state governments (there are at present 25) usually…

India Defies the Odds: Why Democracy Survives

India has long baffled theorists of democracy. Democratic theory holds that poverty, widespread illiteracy, and a deeply hierarchical social structure are inhospitable conditions for the functioning of democracy. Yet except for 18 months in 1975-77, India has maintained its democratic institutions ever since it became independent of Britain in 1947. Over those five decades, there…

Second Elections in Africa

The early 1990s saw a wave of competitive multiparty elections in Africa. These contests can be described as "founding" elections in the sense that they marked for various countries a transition from an extended period of authoritarian rule to fledgling democratic government. By the middle of the 1990s, this wave had crested. Although founding elections…