Voters outside a polling station for Kyrgyzstan's constitutional referendum, Bishkek, 27 June 2010 © OSCE/Alimjan Jorobaev

Asia’s Potemkin Democracies

Central Asia remains difficult terrain for democracy. Today democratic prospects for Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan seem bleaker than ever. Central Asia is one of the most authoritarian regions in the world. Although there are substantial differences among the five “stans” in terms of government and freedoms allowed, none of them can be characterized […]

Richard Youngs © Institut Europeu de la Mediterrània via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

“Thinking only about Security is not a Long Term Solution”

Responding to signals of democratic decline, the Club de Madrid has launched a two-year, multi-stakeholder process with the goal of enabling democracy to better meet the expectations and needs of all citizens while securing a sustainable future for generations to come. Following the inauguration of the Next Generation Democracy project, BTI Blog speaks with Richard Youngs […]

Anti-government protests in Kiev, December 2013 © Maksymenko.com.ua via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Democracy in Limbo

While in Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine commitment to European integration and political will to reform seem to have fostered democratization, prospects in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Belarus remain gloomy. As we enter 2015 it is worth taking another look at the political developments in the EU’s neighbourhood. A glance shows us that democracy progress in the […]

Women in Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka © Brett Davies (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

What is Holding Women Back in Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka has fared well in recent years by promoting health and education opportunities for women. Yet the country still fails to translate these achievements into female economic participation. The teardrop-shaped island of Sri Lanka lies in the Indian Ocean off the southern coast of India. Today, five years after the end of an almost […]

© alphaspirit/veer

Innovative Enterprise and Dynamic Democracy

Latin America’s startup scene is vibrant and growing, yet regional differences are plentiful. Jamie Stark looks at social and political factors driving innovative businesses in Uruguay, Chile, Argentina, and Brazil – and asks, Is democracy a startup essential? What does it take to make a strong business culture? Political stability, investment capital, highly educated employees […]

Seoul, South Korea's capital city © Clint Sharp via Flick (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Success beyond Gangnam Style

With a strong state, powerful industries and high innovation spending South Korea provides a model for managing globalization. Yet Korea also shows some of the dangers of national oligarchy and over-centralization. South Korea today faces economic and political headwinds as strong as any country in Asia, with faltering domestic consumption and struggling exports in the face of slowing […]

© m a c s f via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The Tyranny of the Establishment

Asia’s growing middle-income population flexes its political muscle. Yet, reactionaries among them stand in the way of democratization, as recent developments in Thailand and Indonesia have shown. If forecasts are anything to go by, Asia will account for two thirds of the global middle class population in 2030. Whereas investors and businesses already did the math and […]

Chioma Agwuegbo © private

“At This Time, There is No Alternative to Goodluck Jonathan”

Nigerian journalist and social media expert Chioma Agwuegbo talks about who might become Nigeria’s next president and the role of social media and young people in the upcoming elections. BTI Blog: Chioma Agwuegbo, Nigeria’s ruling party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), recently endorsed President Goodluck Jonathan as sole candidate for the presidential elections next February. How […]

Vladimir Putin and the Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan, December 2013 © The Presidential Press and Information Office

An Offer Yerevan Could Not Refuse

In the run-up to the Ukraine crisis, Armenia rejected an association agreement with the European Union in favor of cooperation with Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. Yet the country’s future in the Eurasian Economic Union seems uncertain – and the door to Brussels might not be completely shut. On September 3, 2014 it was exactly one […]

Protests against a new trade agreement between Taiwan and China, Taipei, March 2014 © Tenz1225 via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Walking the Line of Rapprochement

After more than six decades of conflict over the political status of Taiwan, Beijing and Taipei are normalizing their relations. Yet, how much Chinese influence can the island state’s democracy tolerate? On 25 June 2014, for the first time in over 60 years, China sent a ministerial-level figure on an official visit to Taiwan. Zhang Zhijun, head […]