Subject: Accountability

April 2019, Volume 30, Issue 2

Confronting Authoritarianism

In May 2018, the people of Malaysia transcended distinctions of class, religion, and ethnicity in order to vote for democracy and reform against a long-ruling party riddled with corruption.

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April 2018, Volume 29, Issue 2

The Undemocratic Dilemma

The ability of liberal democracies around the world to translate popular views into public policy has been declining. Yet there is no easy way to overcome this trend without weakening the capacity of governments to solve some of the most pressing challenges of the coming decades.

April 2017, Volume 28, Issue 2

The Modernization Trap

Populist nationalism is emerging as the main competitor to liberal democracy. But despite its current resurgence, in the long run, like other illiberal paths to modernity, it is likely to prove a dead end.

January 2016, Volume 27, Issue 1

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.

April 2015, Volume 26, Issue 2

Transitional Justice and Its Discontents

The impulse to have crimes against humanity investigated and punished, like the impulse behind “truth and reconciliation” commissions, is understandable. But legalism cannot supersede the hard and messy work of politics.

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January 2014, Volume 25, Issue 1

The Legacies of 1989: Bulgaria’s Year of Civic Anger

In 2013, Bulgaria’s historically passive citizenry exploded in outrage over soaring energy bills and shady elite actions. What does Bulgaria’s year of protest tell us about how civic anger is generated and when it becomes a transformative political resource?

July 2010, Volume 21, Issue 3

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.

January 2010, Volume 21, Issue 1

Twenty-Five Years, Fifteen Findings

A coauthor of the pathbreaking study Transitions from Authoritarian Rule reflects on the lessons that he has learned about democratic transition and consolidation since the publication of this work nearly 25 years ago.

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January 2010, Volume 21, Issue 1

Why Are There No Arab Democracies?

Democracy has held its own or gained ground in just about every part of the world except for the Arab Middle East. Why has this crucial region remained such infertile soil for democracy?

July 2009, Volume 20, Issue 3

China Since Tiananmen: Middle-Class Mobilization

Some of the many China stories to attract attention recently have involved NIMBY (Not in My Backyard) protests by largely middle class crowds gathering to demand a greater say in urban development plans. This article argues that such protests a) are a significant addition to the already complex landscape of Chinese collective action (and signal…

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July 2009, Volume 20, Issue 3

China Since Tiananmen: Authoritarian Impermanence

Like all contemporary nondemocratic systems, the Chinese system suffers from weak legitimacy at the level of regime type. The most likely form of transition for China remains the model of Tiananmen, when three elements came together: a robust plurality of disaffected citizens, a catalytic event, and a split in the leadership. Had China chosen the…

April 2009, Volume 20, Issue 2

Reading Russia: It’s No Mystery

The idea that the Russian government is a mystery-let alone a Churchill-evoking riddle or enigma-is absurd. The real issue has been the willful, even enthusiastic, blindness of political leaders and commentators regarding the true nature of Putin's regime which-with its insistence on strict hierarchy, unquestioning clan loyalty, and a stern code of secrecy-is essentially a…

April 2009, Volume 20, Issue 2

Reading Russia: Tools of Autocracy

Arguably a flawed democracy in the 1990s, Russia took a distinctly authoritarian turn under President Vladimir Putin from 2000 to 2008. The country now lives under a façade democracy that barely conceals the political and administrative dominance of a self-interested bureaucratic corporation. The regime manufactures consent by means of three tools: information and propaganda campaigns…

April 2009, Volume 20, Issue 2

Reading Russia: Forms Without Substance

Twenty years ago, there was a more thoroughgoing political pluralism in Russia than there is today. In some respects, the forms of democracy-including party consolidation-have been enhanced, but they have been so manipulated as to deprive them of substance. Either "electoral authoritarianism" of "multiparty authoritarianism" (Juan Linz's terms) may reasonably be applied to contemporary Russia,…

April 2009, Volume 20, Issue 2

Reading Russia: The Merger of Power and Property

The regime in Moscow mixes key features of a capitalist economy with a political system wherein power is monopolized by a close-knit professional and age cohort whose members often have a background in the secret police. Instead of seeking to base its legitimacy on broad-based, transpersonal institutions with character and integrity of their own, the…

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April 2009, Volume 20, Issue 2

Reading Russia: The Siloviki in Charge

The holders of political power in Russia today are the siloviki (sometimes called "securocrats" by political scientists). These are the people who work for, or who used to work for, the silovye ministerstva-literally "the ministries of force"-charged with wielding coercion and violence in the name of the state. Since Vladimir Putin's rise to power at…

April 2009, Volume 20, Issue 2

Hugo Chávez’s “Petro-Socialism”

Will Hugo Chávez’s victory in the 15 February 2009 vote to end term limits enable him to drive Venezuela toward “Bolivarian socialism”? There are reasons to doubt this, but for now democracy’s prospects do not look encouraging.

October 2008, Volume 19, Issue 4

Pakistan After Musharraf: Praetorianism and Terrorism

The military is currently showing signs of wanting to back away from overt political involvement, but this should not be confused with a rejection of praetorianism or an acceptance of the principle of civilian supremacy.

July 2008, Volume 19, Issue 3

The Crisis in Kenya

For years Kenya was regarded as one of Africa’s sturdiest democracies. The fraudulent 2007 presidential election, however, exposed the fragility of Kenya’s democratic framework.

January 2008, Volume 19, Issue 1

Sierra Leone: A Vote for Better Governance

Five years after the close of a horrifying civil war, Sierra Leone held the freest elections in its history. Voters turned out the party that had overseen the war's end, blaming it for having mishandled governance since then.

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January 2008, Volume 19, Issue 1

The Arroyo Imbroglio in the Philippines

Asia's oldest democracy is sinking into a morass of corruption and scandal. The Philippines' president, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, continues to undermine the country's democratic institutions in order to remain in power.

July 2006, Volume 17, Issue 3

The Crisis of Representation in the Andes

Despite a significant expansion of citizenship over the last few decades, the Andean nations face a severe crisis of democratic representation. The root of the problem lies not in the mechanisms of representation but in poor state performance.

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July 2005, Volume 16, Issue 3

Transitions from Postcommunism

The years since 2000 have seen a surprising new wave of democratic breakthroughs in postcommunist lands as varied as Serbia, Georgia, and Ukraine. Can we identify any factors common to each case?

July 2005, Volume 16, Issue 3

Promoting Transparency in Angola

Natural-resource wealth has been at the root of Angola's corruption and authoritarianism. By giving leverage to those pushing for reform, however, it has also become a key factor in teh struggle for accountability.

April 2005, Volume 16, Issue 2

Challenge and Change in East Asia: Taiwan’s Year of Stress

Thanks to a disputed presidential election and a narrowly divided parliament, Taiwan's politics remains tense. Yet the worst of the conflicts that gripped the island seem to have eased, and the difficult political events of the last few years may have some beneficial effects after all.

July 2003, Volume 14, Issue 3

Nigeria: Elections in a Fragile Regime

The election cycle concluding in the spring of 2003 was a guarded success. High hurdles to better governance and democratic consolidation remain, but Nigerians can now face them with greater hope.

January 2001, Volume 12, Issue 1

Fighting Authoritarianism in Zimbabwe

The stunning defeat of a draft constitution backed by President Robert Mugabe and the opposition’s unexpectedly strong showing in the June 2000 parliamentary elections may have marked the beginning of the end of ruling-party hegemony in Zimbabwe.

July 2000, Volume 11, Issue 3

Arabs and Democracy: A Record of Failure

Democracy is spreading everywhere except in the Arab world. Arab elections are an immense masquerade. Corrupt dictatorships seek to stifle freedom of thought and to control the flow of information.

July 2000, Volume 11, Issue 3

Is Pakistan the (Reverse) Wave of the Future?

Pakistan’s descent into authoritarian rule starkly depicts the “triple crisis of governance” that threatens many third-wave democracies. If these problems of governance are not addressed, a new “reverse wave” of democratization could be imminent.

April 2000, Volume 11, Issue 2

The Politics of the Asian Financial Crisis

The political dimensions of the 1997-99 Asian financial crisis have been largely ignored. Yet political factors are crucial to understanding the crisis and the differing ways in which the democracies and authoritarian regimes in the region responded to it.