As 2004 began, Afghanistan approved a new constitution that represents a key step forward in its political reconstruction. But it is not yet clear whether this new constitution will enable the country to surmount the many challenges that lie ahead.
Volume 15, Issue 3
Russian Democracy in Eclipse
President Vladimir Putin's lopsided election victory was assisted by an unlevel electoral playing field, but elections still matter in Russia and they will make more difficult the consolidation of authoritarianism.
Post-Soviet Russia's future may well turn on the interplay of state power with the business interests that now form Russia's best hope for advances in political pluralism.
The first flush of democratic hopes has faded, as the recent elections have emphasized. But the democratic idea has a foothold, and the presidential machine that swept those elections will not have an easy time retaining its sway.
Russia's liberal-democratic parties have failed. It is time for a new movement that can gain the trust of the Russian people by putting forward a full reform program based on liberal and democratic principles.
Hopes for democratization now rest on the shoulders of the young. Who are they, what do they believe, and what are their political leanings? Survey data offer some clues.
Vladimir Putin aspires to be a classic authoritarian modernizer, but in today's globalized world Russia faces challenges that bureaucratic centralization and a traditional strong hand cannot meet.
Over the ten years since its first nonracial elections in 1994, South Africa has seen its democratic order become more firmly institutionalized, even as the electoral dominance of the ANC has continued to grow.
World Religions and Democracy
Confucianism has had a long history of involvement with the state in East Asia, but today there are reasons to think that it can become a positive force in encouraging democracy.
Creative Hindu responses to modern challenges are a crucial part of the democratic story in India, yet Hindus must guard against those who would politicize Hindu identity.
Today, Jews the world over are closely and correctly associated with liberal democracy. What are the wellsprings of Jewish tradition and commitment that feed this association?
Since the end of the Cold War, Central America has seen a regionwide diminution of military influence that bodes well for democratic governance and healthier civil-military relations.
Three leading French political thinkers reflect on why modern democracies tend to forget their own natures, even to the point of encouraging an assertive "identitarianism" that could undermine liberal democracy itself.
A review of Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times: The Citizenry and the Breakdown of Democracy by Nancy Bermeo.
Reports on recent elections in Algeria, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, India, Indonesia, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Panama, Philippines, Russia, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, and Taiwan.
Excerpts from the Alexandria Declaration, a document emanating from a March 2004 conference on Arab reform convened under the auspices of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak at Egypt's Bibliotheca Alexandrina. Excerpts from an initiative on political reform issued by the first Arab Civil Forum on March 22, meeting in advance of the Arab Summit in Tunis.…