Many critics of democracy promotion assert that the rule of law and a well-functioning state should be in place before a society democratizes, but this strategy of "sequencing" is based on a set of mistaken premises.
Courts empowered to overturn legislative acts have spread rapidly in recent years. If carefully designed and limited, constitutional courts may aid democratic consolidation, but if not, they can become objects of political strife, impediments to democracy, and bad influences on legal development.
Burundi's leaders are learning to embrace a culture of discussion and consensus that offers a way out of the abyss of civil war.
Vladimir Putin has pulled the plug on democracy in Russia in an effort to strengthen the authority of the central state. But a look at Russian federal relations shows that the state is growing weaker rather than stronger.
Measurements that rely on perceptions of corruption can be misleading. What is needed is a method of gauging how well a country has set itself up to defend public integrity systematically and in all its dimensions.
Even after its successful elections, Iraq remains a divided society. Democracy did not create these divisions, but it could be the key to managing them.
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?
Desperate to secure victory for its own candidate in the 2004 presidential election, the incumbent regime undertook an unprecedented campaign of blatant election fraud. But it had underestimated the citizenry that it was trying to deceive.
Ukraine's opposition had been trying to oust President Leonid Kuchma's semi-authoritarian regime since its alleged involvement in the murder of journalist Georgi Gongadze in 2000. What brought success in 2004?
Juan Linz's 1990 critique of presidentialism in these pages was based largely on the Latin American experience. In the last few years, however, four new Asian democracies have encountered presidential crises. Does Linz's work hold the secret to what has been ailing these regimes?