Democracy’s fortunes rose in Africa in the 1990s, but more recently have been in retreat. The forces of democratic resurgence remain in play, however, as a
look at the key case of Nigeria suggests.
Tiny countries have come in for praise as miniature models of democracy, but closer examination tells a mainly more somber tale.
How should we define the stages of democracy and their sequencing? Although some scholars argue that the rule of law should come first, today it should be viewed as the final piece of the liberal-democratic puzzle.
Over the past decade, Chinese authorities have turned against many of the legal reforms they themselves had enacted in the late 20th century. Lawyers have come under increased pressure. Political campaigns warning against rule-of-law norms have rippled through the courts. And central authorities have massively increased funding for extralegal institutions aimed at curtailing and suppressing citizen discontent.
The legitimacy and appeal of democracy in East Asia will depend on how democratic countries in the region stack up against China.
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.
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.
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.
Strange and unsettling turns of events further roiled the already-troubled waters of Guatemalan political life in 2009, driving the crime-ridden country’s shaky democracy to the brink.
The central problems now blocking democracy in Georgia and other parts of the former USSR are: 1) the use of power in order to gain wealth; 2) the absence of the rule of law; and 3) the passivity of citizens.