Resist Trump Ralley, January 30, 2017. By Joe Crimmings via flickr.com. CC-BY-2.0

As Populists Rise in the West, Arab Autocrats Rejoice

The decay of democratic norms in European and U.S. policy-making plays into the hands of autocratic leaders in the Middle East and North Africa. While Prime Minister Theresa May officially announced the United Kingdom’s intention to leave the EU on 29 March 2017, and constant leaks and news from the White House about President Donald […]

Moon Jae-in at a rally in Seoul, by Jee Su Na, via flickr.com, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Is South Korea’s New President up to the Job?

Former human-rights attorney Moon Jae-in has won the South Korean presidential elections. His supporters expect above all a fight against cronyism and fundamental economic reforms. Relations with neighbors and allies are tense. On Wednesday, Moon Jae-in was sworn in for a five-year term as South Korea’s president. Winning 41 percent of the votes in Tuesday’s […]

Euromaidan, Kiev 2013. By Ivan Bandura via flickr.com, CC BY 2.0

How Western Populism Weakens Democracy in Ukraine

Populism in Europe, and in the West generally, plays into the hands of anti-democratic forces in Ukraine – and supports Russia’s destabilizing influence. Europe’s rising populist surge threatens Ukraine’s democratic future. During the Euromaidan protests in 2013/2014 and their aftermath, when the anti-Yanukovych opposition came to power, some European media denounced what they described as […]

Aleksandar Vučić, Serbia’s prime minister | By Amanda Voisard via UN Photo

Serbia’s PM Vučić: Yet Another Populist Strongman?

Public desire for strong leadership might allow Serbia’s prime minister, Aleksandar Vučić, soon to become president. But will he be able to steer the country through the current tide of regional and domestic tensions? Serbia’s populist prime minister, Aleksandar Vučić, will stand in elections on 2 April in a bid to become the country’s third […]

Photo: President of South Africa Jacob Zuma

State Capture in South Africa

A recently-released report on State Capture indicates that one family could seemingly succeed in skewing the spending priorities of the government in Pretoria. It’s a crisis induced by weak state institutions and it has enraged many South Africans. South African Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela’s much anticipated report on state capture released on November 3, 2016 […]

Photo: President of Liberia Ellen Jonhson-Sirleaf

Gender Equality – The Exception of Rwanda

Women are generally underrepresented in leadership positions. One rare exception to this rule is Rwanda, one of the most hard-line autocratic regimes. What can sub-Saharan African countries tell us about the relationship between gender inequality and democracy? According to the latest Global Gender Gap Report published last October by the World Economic Forum Rwanda has […]

Picture: Cracked EU vs Russia flags. Ukrainian crisis conceptual image. Foto: Bröckelnde Flaggen der EU und Russland.

EU-Russia Sanctions: An Unsteady Deadlock

The European Union and Russia have been locked in an economic struggle over Ukraine for two years. With Donald Trump the next president of the United States, the West’s Russia policy might substantially change – and Europe’s Eastern policy is today more uncertain than ever. In July 2014, following Russia’s unilateral annexation of Crimea and […]

European People's Party/flickr.com, CC BY 2.0

No Blank Checks for Europe’s Populists

The populist turn in the West since the global economic crisis and the refugee crisis is undermining Europe’s liberal democratic model. But are illiberal ideals really as popular as they seem? From Donald Trump in the US to Viktor Orbán in Hungary, the forces of illiberal, nationalist populism are on the rise across the West. […]

President Rodrigo R. Duterte delivers a speech during the turnover rites of the Armed Forces of the Philippines

Duterte’s Plan to Revive Philippine Democracy

The Philippine president is working towards a constitutional amendment in favour of greater federalism and parliamentarism. Could this empower the country’s citizenry and strengthen democracy? And how does it fit in with Duterte’s controversial policies against drugs and crime? The new president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, has garnered global attention for his controversial policies […]

Presidential ballots after counting

Sub-Sahara Africa Fights over Presidential Term Limits

Should he stay or should he go? With regards to the president, the answer to this question is subject of heated debates in Burundi, Congo, DR Congo and Rwanda. The hollowing out of term limits raises grave concerns about the political transformation of many Central and East African countries. It’s election time in Central and […]