Subject: Democratic transition

January 2008, Volume 19, Issue 1

Morocco’s Elections: A Dynamic Civil Society

Since the 1990s, Moroccan civil society groups have been proliferating, and they are increasingly influential in addressing society-wide matters including the rights of women, ethnic minorities, and the poor.

July 2007, Volume 18, Issue 3

The Sequencing “Fallacy”

Countries taking the initial steps from dictatorship toward electoral politics are especially prone to civil and international war. Yet states endowed with coherent institutions—such as a functioning bureaucracy and the elements needed to construct a sound legal system—have often been able to democratize peacefully and successfully. Consequently, whenever possible, efforts to promote democracy should try…

July 2007, Volume 18, Issue 3

Misunderstanding Gradualism

Unlike pessimistic scholars and recalcitrant autocrats, most ordinary citizens are inclined to take the risks of choosing democracy when they can.

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July 2007, Volume 18, Issue 3

How Will China Democratize?

No one should underrate the will and skill that the ruling Chinese Communist Party will put into keeping its grip on power.

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April 2007, Volume 18, Issue 2

Toward Muslim Democracies

About two-thirds of the world's Muslims live under governments chosen through competitive elections. The remaining third lives mostly in the Arab world, a region that poses the hardest challenges for democratization.

April 2007, Volume 18, Issue 2

A Wake-Up Call in Afghanistan

Much has been achieved both in the war against the Taliban and in the larger struggle to create a democratic Afghanistan, but dire problems remain.

April 2007, Volume 18, Issue 2

Voting for Change in the DRC

The holding of competitive elections in this vast, strife-torn country must count as a significant achievement, even though voters signaled their disaffection with the entire array of political elites that had been ruling them.

January 2007, Volume 18, Issue 1

The Perpetual Crises of Democracy

Democracy is and always will be in some kind of crisis, for it is constantly redirecting its citizens’ gaze from a more or less unsatisfactory present toward a future of still unfulfilled possibilities.

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January 2007, Volume 18, Issue 1

How Democracies Emerge: Lessons from Europe

Those who argue that democracy requires preconditions often cite the example of gradual unfolding set by the established democracies. A glance at history, however, shows that even today's most placid democracies have "backstories" as turbulent as anything found in the developing world today.

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January 2007, Volume 18, Issue 1

Revolution Reconsidered

The recent "color revolutions" in the former Soviet Union should lead us to reassess the idea of revolution and also to consider the weaknesses of the concept of "democratic transition.

January 2007, Volume 18, Issue 1

Political Engineering in the Asia-Pacific

The 1997 financial crisis undermined the argument for a putative “Asian-style democracy” that prioritized economic development over political liberalization. Yet recent electoral and other reforms have set the stage for the emergence of a genuine “Asian model” of democracy.

January 2007, Volume 18, Issue 1

Malaysia: Turnover Without Change

When Abdullah Ahmad Badawi succeeded Mahathir Mohamad as prime minister in 2003, many expected far-reaching change in Malaysia. So far, however, turnover at the top has not led to significant democratic progress.

January 2007, Volume 18, Issue 1

Pathways from Authoritarianism

Does the nature of an authoritarian regime affect the potential for democratic transition? Data since 1972 indicate that some kinds of authoritarian regimes are more likely to democratize than others.

October 2006, Volume 17, Issue 4

History Repeats Itself in Pakistan

If there is a common thread through Pakistan's checkered history, it is the army's perception of itself as the country's only viable institution. As the next parliamentary elections approach, what does the future hold for democratic hopes in Pakistan?

October 2006, Volume 17, Issue 4

Belarus: Learning From Defeat

The Belarusian presidential election of March 2006 appeared to be an exercise in meaninglessness, while the protests against manipulation by the Lukashenka regime seemed a study in futility. But appearances can deceive.

October 2006, Volume 17, Issue 4

Exchange: Arab Political Pacts: An Unlikely Scenario

Middle Eastern realities and scholarship on democratic transitions both suggest that formally negotiated deals between authoritarian rulers and liberal opposition forces are unlikely to provide the path to change in the Arab world.

October 2006, Volume 17, Issue 4

Exchange: Mistaking Data for “Theory”

We should neither be too hasty to discount the prodemocratic political ferment in the Arab world, nor be fooled into thinking that Islamist groups will play a constructive part in democratic transitions.

July 2006, Volume 17, Issue 3

Reforming Intelligence: Russia’s Failure

Much like other institutions in post-Soviet Russia, the intelligence and security services have yet to make a transition to real democratic control, and remain infused with the authoritarian tendencies of their Soviet predecessors.

April 2006, Volume 17, Issue 2

The Debacle in Côte d’Ivoire

Despite hopes that 2005 would see an end to hostilities between rebels and government forces, neither disarmament nor elections took place. How did this once-prosperous country end up on the verge of anarchy and disaster?

January 2006, Volume 17, Issue 1

Getting to Arab Democracy: Dealing with Communalism

Whether ethnic, sectarian, or some combination of the two, communalsim is one of the massive realities of Middle Eastern life and politics. It is usually seen as an obstacle to democracy, but need that always be the case?

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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

The New Iraq: The Sistani Factor

For the Shi'ite majority and its senior religious leader, the January elections played out against the background of a longing for justice that has deep spiritual sources as well as more recent sociopolitical roots.

July 2005, Volume 16, Issue 3

The New Iraq: The Uses of Historical Memory

If Iraq is to become the free and self-governing country that an overwhelming majority of its citizens want it to be, a "useable past" made accessible by historical memory will be vital.

July 2005, Volume 16, Issue 3

Turkey’s AKP: A Model “Muslim-Democratic” Party?

Is the Islamic-oriented party that has ruled since 2002 really the harbinger of 'Muslim democracy,' or is it something more familiar in Turkish politics: a hierarchical group none too closely in touch with society and overly focused on one man?

July 2005, Volume 16, Issue 3

Gauging Arab Support for Democracy

Despite some moves toward liberalization in the past three decades, all Arab-majority countries remain authoritarian. Nonetheless, opinion surveys show that popular support for democracy in this part of the world is high.

July 2005, Volume 16, Issue 3

Costa Rica: Paradise in Doubt

Once routinely praised as the "Switzerland of Central America," Costa Rica has in recent years begun to show troubling signs of having a political system that citizens feel is not keeping faith with them.

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.

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April 2005, Volume 16, Issue 2

The Rise of “Muslim Democracy”

The incentives created by competitive elections in a number of Muslim-majority countries are fueling a political trend that roughly resembles the rise of Christian Democracy in twentieth-century Europe

April 2005, Volume 16, Issue 2

The End of Postcommunism in Romania

The 2004 elections saw the defeat of the former communists who ruled Romania for most of the period since the fall of communism. Will the country's new, democratic, and pro-European government be able to break with the semi-authoritarian habits of its postcommunist predecessors?

January 2005, Volume 16, Issue 1

Building Democracy After Conflict: ‘Stateness’ First

World events-recent, current, and almost certainly to come-drive home the truth that before there can be a democratic state, there must first be a functioning state, period. Creating workable states where they have been destroyed or have barely existed yields to none among the challenges of our time.

October 2004, Volume 15, Issue 4

The Persistence of Arab Authoritarianism

The lack of democracy in the Arab world is a problem that goes far beyond the absence of competitive elections. This lack must be traced not to religion or culture, but to adverse historical and geostrategic circumstances.

October 2004, Volume 15, Issue 4

The Reality of Muslim Exceptionalism

The notion that the Muslim world as a whole does not suffer from a deficit in terms of competitive democracy is apealing, but rests on evidence and assumptions that cannot withstand critical scrutiny.

October 2004, Volume 15, Issue 4

Arab, Not Muslim, Exceptionalism

Muslim-majority, non-Arab countries are “overachievers” at electoral competitiveness. Arab countries, by contrast, constitute a distinctive political community that at present is inhospitable to competitive elections.

July 2004, Volume 15, Issue 3

Crafting a Constitution for Afghanistan

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.

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July 2004, Volume 15, Issue 3

South Africa After Apartheid: The First Decade

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.

April 2004, Volume 15, Issue 2

The Imperative of State-Building

Weak or failed states are at the root of many serious global problems, from poverty and AIDS to drug trafficking and terrorism, to the failure of democratic government itself. State-building must become a priority for the world community.

April 2004, Volume 15, Issue 2

Constitution-Making After Conflict: Lessons for Iraq

A through, deliberat, and consultative constitution-making process, which takes account of key lessons learned in other countries, will be essential to the legitimacy of a new Iraqi constitution and to the future of democracy.

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January 2004, Volume 15, Issue 1

Iraq: Setbacks, Advances, Prospects

The stakes are enormous and the challenges are difficult, but a look at Iraq months after the toppling of Saddam Hussein reveals that, despite all the frustrating setbacks, grounds for cautious optimism remain.

October 2003, Volume 14, Issue 4

Can Democracy Be Taught?

Civic education can enhance democratic values and participation among adults in young democracies, but the training must be frequent and participatory. Otherwise adult civic education may not be worth doing.

July 2003, Volume 14, Issue 3

A Model for Post-Saddam Iraq

If Iraq is successfully to democratize and an inclusive democratic culture is to emerge, the Iraqi state must be reconstituted as a federal and strongly liberal system and thoroughly demilitarized.