Democratization is never easy, smooth, or linear, but as Indonesia’s experience in building a multiparty and multiethnic democracy shows, it can succeed even under difficult and initially unpromising conditions.
Volume 21, Issue 3
Afghanistan & Iraq
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.
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.
After almost ten years of complex and costly efforts to build democracy in these two countries, where do things stand? What lay behind the critical choices that shaped events in these places, and what are their current prospects for success?
Must every state be a nation and every nation a state? Or should we look instead to the example of countries such as India, where one state holds together a congeries of “national” groups and cultures in a single and wisely conceived federal republic?
The Internet, mobile phones, and other forms of “liberation technology” enable citizens to express opinions, mobilize protests, and expand the horizons of freedom. Autocratic governments are also learning to master these technologies, however. Ultimately, the contest between democrats and autocrats will depend not just on technology, but on political organization and strategy.
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.
Although Ukraine’s regional divisions are often thought to be detrimental to state-building and democratization, they have in fact been a source of strength and helped to prevent tilts to the political extremes.
For the first time since the fall of Pinochet, the Chilean right has come to power via free elections. The long-ruling center-left coalition leaves behind many achievements, but also disturbing signs of a weakened party system.
A new look at the World Values Survey data reveals how the Muslim world’s religious context affects individual Muslims’ attitudes toward democracy.
A tribute to Václav Havel, Czech playwright and former dissident, who became not only president but the symbol of the “velvet revolutions.”
Despite its historic 2006 elections, the Democratic Republic of Congo still lacks competent governance, leaving its democratic promise unfulfilled.
Why do election monitors sometimes issue contradictory statements or endorse flawed elections? The answers are not always straightforward; in some cases, the monitors’ good intentions may undermine their credibility.
A review of China's Long March to Freedom: Grassroots Modernization by Kate Zhou.
Reports on elections in Colombia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Hungary, Iraq, Mauritius, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Togo, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Excerpts from remarks presented by newly elected Chilean president Sebastián Piñera upon signing a set of proposed laws for the strengthening of democracy to be submitted to the Congress.