Authoritarian regimes that have their origins in revolutionary struggle have a much higher survival rate than other brands of authoritarianism. What accounts for their durability?
Volume 24, Issue 3
Latin America's Authoritarian Drift
The left-populist authoritarianism that is taking hold across a swath of Latin America bears many resemblances to the rightist populism that was once widespread in the region. There are signs, however, that the leftist variant will be an even bigger problem for liberal democracy. Listen to the podcast.
President Rafael Correa, now entering his third term, has built a curious form of populist-authoritarian regime. He champions redistributionism and a kind of technocratic leftism while assaulting the traditional left along with such mainstays of a liberal society as the freedom of the press.
Can a regime built by and centered around a populist strongman survive that strongman’s death? A natural experiment is now unfolding in Venezuela as a resurgent opposition and a crisis of governability converge on the would-be heirs of Hugo Chávez.
Putin versus Civil Society
Today’s Russian protest movement in many ways resembles past civil-rights and civil-resistance efforts in other parts of the world, from its commitment to nonviolence to its key demands—a vote that counts and equality under the law. Listen to the podcast.
The Putin regime, having faced its first real challenge in the form of mass protests after the 2011 Duma elections, is responding with a series of laws intended to intimidate its civil-society opposition, if not stamp it out altogether.
The Arab world’s old autocracies survived by manipulating the sharp identity conflicts in their societies. The division and distrust that this style of rule generated is now making it especially difficult to carry out the kind of pact-making often crucial to successful democratic transitions.
Not only did the Algerian regime survive the “Arab Spring,” it hardly deviated from its normal methods of authoritarian governance—patronage, pseudodemocratization, and effective use of the security apparatus.
When this small island kingdom in the Gulf joined the wider Arab world’s political upheavals in March 2011, it was a reaction to regional events, but also a reflection of internal problems that had been festering for a decade.
The Hashemite monarchy still fails to understand the challenges that threaten Jordan’s political order. The old playbook of limited, manipulated reform is no longer enough, but key players fail to realize it.
Kenya's 2013 Elections
In March 2013, Kenyans took to the polls in what turned out to be another disputed election. Why did the peace hold this time, unlike in 2007, and what are the implications for democracy in Kenya?
In an effort to avoid repeating the 2007 electoral debacle, Kenya’s election commission turned to technology, but its high-tech voter-registration and vote-count processes fell short. Its experience has important lessons both for emerging democracies and for international donors.
The widely hailed writings of Singapore’s Kishore Mahbubani, including his latest book, The Great Convergence: Asia, the West, and the Logic of One World, reveal a remarkably narrow and Manichean worldview.
Reports on elections in Bhutan, Bulgaria, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Malaysia, Montenegro, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, and Venezuela.
Excerpts from: the inaugural address of Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta; the UN special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association Maina Kiai's annual report to the Human Rights Council; Remarks by Rosa María Payá, daughter of the late Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas.
Chinua Achebe (1930–2013); Zimbabwe Approves Constitution; Defenders’ Days; Community of Democracies Conference; NED’s International Forum.