Cambodian Elections: Hun Sen’s unbroken dominance

Cambodia’s vote in July is designed to confirm strongman Hun Sen. After quashing the opposition, he is geared up to extend his 33-year stint at the top. The result of Cambodia’s parliamentary elections on 29 July is already fixed. After dissolving popular oppositional Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) in November 2017, Prime Minister Hun Sen […]

Breaking BRICS: More Differences Than Similarities?

This month brings the tenth summit of the fast-growing BRICs nations – Brazil, Russia, India, and China and South Africa. But does the label still hold given the countries’ starkly different political and economic realities? Almost 17 years after Goldman Sachs coined the term “BRICs” for Brazil, Russia, India, and China, and later South Africa, […]

World Cup 2018 Confirms: Democracies Better at Playing Football

One of the many rituals of a football World Cup is to take comprehensive stock after the tournament. So it’s time to review our Democracy World Cup and analyze our predictions. Were we right in our thesis that there is a connection between a country’s democratic quality and the performance of its national football team? […]

The New Turkey: Erdoğan’s Personal Fief

Uncertainty abounds ahead of Turkey’s election. Will a floundering economy spell the end for President Tayyip Erdoğan? After an a series of steps towards liberalization between 2002 and 2012, Turkey’s AKP government showed its teeth in 2013: It announced plans to build a shopping mall on Gezi Park – one of the last green parts […]

How to Boost East African Economies?

This month’s African Union Summit is poised to probe widespread corruption but a closer look at East Africa also reveals other pressing issues, not least rising political uncertainty, economic instability and violence. With the 31st African Union Summit around the corner, the African Development Bank recently underscored its support for East Africa’s bid for industrialization. […]

Scoring with Free Elections and Civil Rights

For the first time since the end of the Cold War, an autocracy hosts the World Cup. Reason enough for us to uphold values such as inclusion, participation and fair play not only on the pitch but also in society as a whole. Because football and democracy have much more in common than it seems […]

Populists on Both Sides of the Wall?

Ahead of the Mexican election in July, a leftwing populist is the clear frontrunner amid exasperation with political corruption and snail-paced social reform. The Mexican presidential race was probably over the minute it began. Recent polls consistently put leftist populist Andrés Manuel López Obrador ahead, with a lead of at least 10 points versus the […]

Mercosur: Crisis-Ridden and Pronounced Dead but Still Alive

South American countries are far too busy with their scandals and crises to be making progress with economic and political integration. And yet those crises could be exactly what gives Mercosur its second wind. The news coming out of Brazil recently is reminiscent of a political thriller. A president deposed under questionable circumstances (Dilma Rousseff) […]

Partially Blurred Image of Iran on a Map

Compliance for a Treaty, Credibility for Partnership

So he really did it. On May 8, US President Donald Trump decided that the economic sanctions against Iran suspended under the multilateral nuclear agreement should be resumed and even tightened and unilaterally terminated the agreement. Europeans should try to save the deal – and someone should explain to Trump the diplomatic ABC of the […]

Latin America at the Crossroads Ahead of Big Election Year

Latin America’s bumper election year got into gear with a centre-left candidate sweeping to the top in Costa Rica. And with a slew of elections set to follow, experts are asking where the continent is headed. A spate of elections will make 2018 decisive for Latin America. As the world marches towards a more conservative […]