Subject: Rule of law

July 2017, Volume 28, Issue 3

India’s Democracy at 70: The Disputed Role of the Courts

India’s Supreme Court has played the role of a countermajoritarian check but has also flirted with populism. This essay examines three aspects of India’s higher judiciary: the struggle between the judiciary and the other branches over “custody” of the Constitution; the question of judicial independence and who has the right to appoint judges (in India,…

July 2016, Volume 27, Issue 3

The Assault on Postcommunist Courts

A number of countries in East-Central Europe are facing a grave crisis of constitutional democracy. As their governments seek to undermine the institutional limits on their power, constitutional courts have become a central target.

October 2015, Volume 26, Issue 4

A New Militarism in Latin America

Latin American countries are burdened with domestic security problems and institutional weaknesses that have led to a rising political role for the military forces. Are there serious dangers in this “turn toward the barracks”?

July 2015, Volume 26, Issue 3

The Medieval Roots of Democracy

Europe in the Middle Ages was hardly democratic, but it did have law-based institutions that could and did stay the hands of kings, laying a crucial basis for future state-building and democracy-building alike.

January 2015, Volume 26, Issue 1

Why Is Democracy Performing So Poorly?

The failure to establish modern, well-governed states has been the Achilles heel of recent democratic transitions, as democratization without state modernization can actually lower the quality of governance.

October 2014, Volume 25, Issue 4

Growth, Security, and Democracy in Africa

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.

January 2013, Volume 24, Issue 1

China at the Tipping Point? The Turn Against Legal Reform

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…

July 2010, Volume 21, Issue 3

Afghanistan: An Election Gone Awry

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.

July 2010, Volume 21, Issue 3

Iraq: A Vote Against Sectarianism

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.

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

Transitions to the Rule of Law

While we have witnessed many transitions to multiparty systems, it has proven much harder for countries to attain a genuine rule of law. We need to know more about the origins of the rule of law in order to promote it successfully today.

January 2010, Volume 21, Issue 1

Authoritarianism’s Last Line of Defense

The new electoral authoritarian regimes of the post–Cold War era have formally adopted the full panoply of liberal-democratic institutions. Rather than rejecting or repressing these institutions, they manipulate them.

January 2010, Volume 21, Issue 1

Twenty Years of Postcommunism: Freedom and the State

This is a central problem—perhaps the central problem—for classical liberal theory and its crucial distinction between the state of nature and the civil state. Which is better for liberty: nature or the state?

Free

October 2009, Volume 20, Issue 4

Iran in Ferment: Civil Society’s Choice

When students and other rights activists decided to seize a tactical opening that the regime cynically offered them during the 2009 campaign, they were making a choice that was even more fateful than they knew.

July 2009, Volume 20, Issue 3

China Since Tiananmen: A New Rights Consciousness?

Despite the suppression of the Tiananmen Uprising of 1989, popular protest in China has by all accounts escalated steadily over the ensuing two decades. These protests have spread to virtually every sector of Chinese society, prompting more than a few observers to proclaim the emergence of a “rising rights consciousness” that poses a protodemocratic challenge…

July 2009, Volume 20, Issue 3

China Since Tiananmen: The Labor Movement

The twenty years since 1989 have brought two major developments in worker activism. First, whereas workers were part of the mass uprising in the Tiananmen Movement, there is today hardly any sign of mobilization that transcends class or regional lines. Second, a long-term decline in worker power at the point of production is going on…

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

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.

Free

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.

October 2007, Volume 18, Issue 4

The Quest for Self-Rule in Tibet

This article assesses the historical record and current practice to argue that a form of autonomy that is appropriately grounded in China’s Constitution and international human rights practice may offer a path out of the current dispute.

July 2007, Volume 18, Issue 3

The Decline of the African Military Coup

Since the early 1990s, many African countries have undergone political liberalization, and so far this trend has been accompanied by a significant drop in the incidence of military coups.

Free

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.

January 2007, Volume 18, Issue 1

The Case for Presidential Term Limits

Presidential term limits have spread across the world, but in many countries presidents and their allies seek to circumvent or eliminate them. Advocates of democracy must protect this institution, as its role in democratization may be far more powerful than is conventionally recognized.

January 2006, Volume 17, Issue 1

Russia: Authoritarianism Without Authority

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.

January 2006, Volume 17, Issue 1

Measuring Public Integrity

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.

Free

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?

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.

October 2004, Volume 15, Issue 4

Philippine Politics and the Rule of Law

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s election as president in her own right capped a campaign that spoke well of Philippine democracy, but yawning gaps in the rule of law obstruct the road to consolidation.

July 2003, Volume 14, Issue 3

Tibet: The Exiles’ Journey

Almost a half-century after being forced from their homeland, Tibetans abroad, led by the Dalai Lama, have democratized their institutions in hopes that they may one day form the basis for a free and self-governing Tibet.

October 2000, Volume 11, Issue 4

A Reply to My Accusers

An Egyptian civil-society leader responds to the closing down of his organization and the allegations against him by state prosecutors.

July 2000, Volume 11, Issue 3

Markets, Law, and Democracy

The experience of “bandit capitalism” or “tyrant capitalism” in postcommunist societies shows that markets cannot work properly without a community of trust and mutual respect. Such a community can be achieved only where there is a rule of law, applied by able and independent judges.

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.

July 2000, Volume 11, Issue 3

The Kurdish Question in Turkey

One of the greatest obstacles to democratic consolidation in Turkey has been the country's treatment of its Kurdish citizens. The root of the problem lies in the very nature of the Turkish state, which confuses unity with uniformity.