BTI Publication Triggers Fruitful Debates in Many Countries

The Bertelsmann Transformation Index 2018 met with a considerable response in the media in the first weeks following its publication. Most of the reactions were positive and substantive. The worrying findings of the Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI) 2018 on the state of democracy in developing countries and emerging economies did have quite an impact on […]

Election Polls Versus Opinion Polls in Hungary

There is a very strong probability that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party is going to defend its parliamentary majority in the national elections on Sunday. However, despite a disunited opposition, election laws that strongly favor Fidesz, and a political climate of intimidation and fear, there is nonetheless a minuscule chance for a political upset. […]

Built Upon Non-Interference: Can ASEAN Economic Integration Succeed?

In April 2018, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will host its 32nd summit. The path to economic integration laid down by the foundation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015 holds the promise of increasing living standards and growth – but it also presents challenges to the group’s policy of non-interference in […]

Presidential Elections in Egypt: A Sense of Déjà-vu

Egyptians vote for their next president from March 26-28, 2018. According to the National Election Authority, more than 59 million voters are registered for this election. But do they have a choice? Remember Egypt’s last presidential elections in May 2014 when Abdel Fattah al-Sisi got 97% of all votes? When only one opponent, Hamdeen Sabahi, […]

Do Strongmen Govern Better?

In many developing and transition countries, people are looking for simple solutions and flirt with authoritarianism. This trend will have dire consequences because autocracies are hopelessly inferior to democracies in the long term. Within just a few days, the leaders of the two most influential autocracies, China and Russia, have set the course for continuity […]

Military Influence: the Hidden Power of Men in Uniform

Officers and generals have always been influential and powerful actors, who meddle with politics. Today not so much by coups and direct rule, but by pulling the strings in the background. A new dataset reveals these substantial but indirect political roles of the military. No political leader, democratic or autocratic, can survive in office without […]

Mauritius: Ready for a Second Economic Miracle?

On March 12, 2018, Mauritius celebrates 50 years of independence. The country is proud of its economic progress and the government has set an ambitious goal: to transform the remote island state into a high-income country within the next few years. What is the origin of the Mauritian success story? In 1961 Nobel-prize-winning British economist […]

Russian Presidential Election: To the Victor, Stagnation

Putin will remain Russia’s strong man for another six years. But his muscle-flexing on the international stage is designed to divert attention from the country’s dismal economic outlook. A key feature of democratic elections, according to Polish-American political scientist Adam Przeworski, is their “institutionalized uncertainty”: Anyone can win. There is no question that Russia’s presidential […]

Peaceful Olympics amid Thawing Tensions

On 9 February the Pyeongchang Olympics will be opened. This means that South Korea will be the first country examined by the Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI) to host both summer and winter games. We fact-check the 2018 Olympics through the looking glass of selected criteria and indicators of our index, which will be published in […]

The Regional Proxy War in Yemen: Deadly Interferences

Yemen is suffering one of the world’s largest humanitarian catastrophes. To resolve it, it is necessary to look beyond the national conflict. Yemen’s civil war is complex. It’s a violent conflict between competing Yemeni factions, each of which is allying itself with regional, sectarian, tribal and Islamist groups. The country has a long history of instability and […]