July 2010

Volume 21, Issue 3

Afghanistan: An Election Gone Awry

The 2009 vote for the presidency and local councils was marred by fraud, provoking a political crisis and casting a deep shadow over upcoming parliamentary elections. The Afghan experience calls into question whether voting should occur before other essential reforms are in place.

Iraq: A Vote Against Sectarianism

Although many Iraqi parties continue to be organized along religious or ethnic lines, both the tone and the results of the 2010 parliamentary election campaign show that most Iraqi voters prefer a broader national agenda over narrow sectarian appeals.

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Lessons from Afghanistan and Iraq

After almost ten years of complex and costly efforts to build democracy in these two countries, where do things stand? What lay behind the critical choices that shaped events in these places, and what are their current prospects for success?

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Liberation Technology

The Internet, mobile phones, and other forms of “liberation technology” enable citizens to express opinions, mobilize protests, and expand the horizons of freedom. Autocratic governments are also learning to master these technologies, however. Ultimately, the contest between democrats and autocrats will depend not just on technology, but on political organization and strategy.

Ukraine

Ukraine: The Uses of Divided Power

The 2010 presidential election shows that Ukraine is both a surprisingly stable electoral democracy and a disturbingly corrupt one. The corruption, moreover, may have a lot to do with the stability.

Ukraine: The Role of Regionalism

Although Ukraine’s regional divisions are often thought to be detrimental to state-building and democratization, they have in fact been a source of strength and helped to prevent tilts to the political extremes.

Election Observers and Their Biases

Why do election monitors sometimes issue contradictory statements or endorse flawed elections? The answers are not always straightforward; in some cases, the monitors’ good intentions may undermine their credibility.

Election Watch

Reports on recent elections in Colombia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Hungary, Iraq, Mauritius, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Togo, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Documents on Democracy

Excerpts from remarks presented by newly elected Chilean president Sebastián Piñera upon signing a set of proposed laws for the strengthening of democracy to be submitted to the Congress.

News and Notes

6th Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy On April 11–14, the World Movement for Democracy (WMD) held its Sixth Assembly in Jakarta, Indonesia. The Assembly, whose theme was “Solidarity Across Cultures: Working Together for Democracy,” brought together more than 550 participants from all global regions. In more than 50 workshops and meetings of WMD networks,…