On Democratic Backsliding

Old-fashioned military coups and blatant election-day fraud are becoming mercifully rarer these days, but other, subtler forms of democratic regression are a growing problem that demands more attention.


What’s Wrong with East-Central Europe? The Fading Mirage of the “Liberal Consensus”

Across East-Central Europe, the political center ground has long been characterized by the uneasy cohabitation of liberal and illiberal norms, but the latter have been gradually overpowering the former.


What’s Wrong with East-Central Europe? Liberalism’s Failure to Deliver

Is democracy in East-Central Europe suffering because of a lack of liberal zeal among elites, as Dawson and Hanley contend, or is it because
liberal policies have failed to deliver on their promises?


China and the “Singapore Model”

China’s government looks to Singapore, the only country in the region to modernize without liberalizing, in hopes of finding the key to combining authoritarian rule with economic progress and “good governance.”

PDF icon China and the "Singapore Model"

The Authoritarian Threat: The Hijacking of “Soft Power”

Although the leading authoritarian regimes are today integrated in many ways into the global system, they have not become more like the democracies; instead, they have been devising policies and practices aimed at blocking democracy’s advance.


The Authoritarian Threat: Weaknesses of Autocracy Promotion

While “autocracy promotion” presents a real danger, its influence so far has been limited. Because authoritarian regimes are concerned first with furthering their own interests, their interventions often have contradictory effects, sometimes even inadvertently fostering greater pluralism.


Ethiopia: The 100% Election

The ruling EPRDF and its allies won every single seat in parliament in Ethiopia’s May 2015 elections, signaling a hardening of the regime’s authoritarian rule.

PDF icon Ethiopia: The 100% Election

Ethiopia: Silencing Dissent

Ethiopia’s ruling party has long been tightening its grip, using antiterrorism laws and harsh restrictions on media and civil society to silence voices critical of the regime.


The Quest for Good Governance: Learning from Virtuous Circles

Are the “virtuous circles” crucial to good governance always the product of long-term developments under unique historical circumstances, or can they be started or accelerated by wise policies?

PDF icon The Quest for Good Governance: Learning from Virtuous Circles MORE

The Quest for Good Governance: Georgia’s Break with the Past

Much can be done to uproot graft when a major event such as the Rose Revolution sweeps in a determined new team on a wave of massive public support.


The Quest for Good Governance: Taiwan’s Fight Against Corruption

Bold leadership from people in key posts can effectively promote public integrity, but they must be ready to accept tenures that are stormy and short.


The Quest for Good Governance: Uruguay’s Shift from Clientelism

A change in the shape of partisan competition, and the traditional parties’ ability to adapt to it, has led to the decline of once-pervasive clientelism.


A Win for Democracy in Sri Lanka

The surprising electoral defeat of President Mahinda Rajapaksa in January 2015 was reinforced by his failed comeback in August parliamentary elections.

Transition Leaders Speak

A review of Democratic Transitions: Conversations with World Leaders, edited by Sergio Bitar and Abraham F. Lowenthal.


Election Watch

Reports on elections in Argentina, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belize, Burkina Faso, Burma, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Egypt, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Kyrgyzstan, Poland, Seychelles, Tanzania, Turkey, and Venezuela.


Documents on Democracy

  • Excerpts of remarks given by Iranian historian Ladan Boroumand in Soeul on November 1 at the opening of the Eighth Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy.
  • Excerpts from the December 7 speech given by Venezuelan opposition leader Jesús Torrealba, whose Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) had won a surprising landslide victory in the previous day's legislative elections.
  • Portions of remarks given by Russian opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza on September 10 as he accepted on behalf of slain opposition leader Boris Nemtsov a posthumous freedom award given by the International Republican Institute.

News and Notes

Nobel Prizes; Eighth Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy; Democracy Award Ceremonies; Twelfth Annual Lipset Lecture; Honoring Human-Rights Defenders; International Forum