Narendra Modi addresses victory rally in Ahmedabad © Narendra Modi via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Can Narendra Modi Undermine Indian Secularism?

India’s new Prime Minister is one of the country’s most divisive political figures. Does Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist politics and his development agenda threaten religious pluralism and secularism in India? Now that Hindu nationalist politician Narendra Modi has assumed power in the world’s largest democracy as its 15th prime minister, it’s pertinent that some questions […]

Protester in Istanbul, September 2013 © Tophee via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Judicial Defense

Turkey is deeply split between supporters of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the opposition. The constitutional court remains one of the few buffers between them. But is this enough to uphold democracy? In Turkey’s local elections at the end of March, the ruling Development and Justice Party (AKP) won a landslide victory gaining 45.6 […]

Kick it like Rousseff © Roberto Stuckert Filho/PR
Water-cooling towers © stockphotos/veer

The Conflict between Demands for Two Resources

How can transition countries best identify synergies and quantify tradeoffs between energy development plans and water use? A World Bank initiative tries to give some answers. Competition for water resources is on the rise in many regions on earth, as supplies become more variable in the wake of climate change and increased demand across diminished […]

Tymohenko supporter in Kiev © Ivan Bandura/Flickr

On a Path to Decentralisation?

Without legitimate elections and a new constitution, Kiev cannot hope to restore stability. Devolution of power to the regions is likely to be one result of the new constitution and of the current instability. But will this be enough to placate Moscow? Ukraine is set to hold presidential elections on 25 May, to remove its […]

A royal Thai army soldier © Null0 via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

A Coup, the Crown, and Two Middle Classes

The man behind Thailand’s twelfth successful coup since 1932 made no mention of the Crown. By declaring martial law, he had already seized a royal prerogative, revealing both, the sorrow state of Thai democracy and the erosion of the monarchy. “I have decided to seize power,” Thailand’s army chief said on May 22, slamming his […]

Police escort in Karachi © Colin Cookman/Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Pakistan’s Violent Economy

Contrary to Western perception it’s not Islamic violence but economic misery that matters most to people in Pakistan. Yet, few believe that the government will soon put the country on a path of progress. I had only five days to shoot in Karachi for the “Secrets of Transformation” series, a joint project of Deutsche Welle […]

© María Alejandra Mora (SoyMAM)

Towards Political Participation and Social Justice?

Tahrir, Maidan, Taksim: What do the political protests across the globe have in common and how should governments react to the instability and the civil unrest? There has been a tendency in recent years towards an apparent increase in the spread of political protests across the world and, in some cases, political instability. However, according […]

Victor Orban during a debate in the European Parliament on the political situation in Hungary, January 2012 © European Union 2012 EP/Pietro Naj-Oleari

Good Voters and Bad Voters

Why some votes will not count in Hungary’s elections and why the BTI 2014 has classified the country as a “defective democracy.” Since it took office in Budapest and gained a two-thirds majority in the Hungarian parliament, the right-wing conservative FIDESZ government has acquired the nickname of “legislation factory” – and rightly so. The Orban […]

© Sime Simon via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

An Appetite for Change?

While the Czech Republic shows signs of a new right direction to curb its corruption problem and bolster the rule of law, Russia is taking steps to bring its judiciary under even tighter control. This might also dim its economic future. On 13 June 2013, the Czech prime minister’s chief of staff, Jana Nagyova, was […]