democracy

Georgia: Backsliding on Justice?

On 10 June 2017, thousands of Georgians protested on the streets of Tbilisi in support of two young rappers, members of the group Birja Mafia, who were arrested on drugs charges that they say were trumped up. The protests marked another step in Georgians’ decline in trust for their law enforcement system. Former President Mikheil […]

“Islamic Values Are Compatible with Democratic Values”

BTI Blog spoke with Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, president of the Republic of Indonesia during the “golden decade” from 2004 to 2014, about the lessons from his military reform, the relationship between Islam and democracy, and the appeal of democracy among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). BTI Blog: Your Excellency, President Yudhoyono, […]

Revitalizing Democracy in Asia

How can reform-oriented political leaders utilize the rapid social change in Asia and Oceania for their democratic agenda? This question was at the core of a roundtable on “Next Generation Democracy” in Díli, Timor-Leste. As developing Asia struggles with consolidating their fragile democratic achievements, Timor-Leste is already reckoned by some as democracy’s new poster child […]

Moving the German Anti-IS Troops from Turkey to Jordan: A Jump from the Frying Pan into the Fire?

In response to Turkey’s decision to block visits of German parliamentarians, Bundeswehr troops are about to pull out from the Turkish air base in Incirlik in July. But will Jordan be a more reliable host? After months of internal discussions and negotiations with their Turkish counterparts, the German government decided on June 7, 2017 to […]

Angola at a Crossroads

The announcement of Angolan longtime president José Eduardo dos Santos not to stand for reelection has shaken up the country’s political scene. Sylvia Croese looks at Angola ahead of the 2017 legislative elections and at the “president in waiting”. General elections in Angola will take place on the 23 August 2017. These are the third […]

Presidential Elections in Rwanda: No Level Playing Field

Unlike in 2003 and 2010, even the semblance of a competitive electoral process has disappeared in the run-up to this year’s presidential poll in Rwanda. Filip Reyntjens looks at President Paul Kagame’s electoral campaign and the latest measures his regime is mounting against the opposition. “More of a coronation than real contest.” That is what […]

The End of Malaysia’s Multi-Ethnic Coalition?

For decades, the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional has narrowed the ethnic and religious divides in Malaysia. In the run-up to the next general elections, however, Prime Minister Najib Razak is intensifying cooperation with the Islamic party PAS, alienating large parts of his coalition and the population. The first quarter of 2017 indicated that Malaysia’s economy […]

Talking Truth to Turkey

How scientific analysis can help countering President Erdogan’s fake narrative of Turkey’s thriving democracy and why the European Union should reconsider its policy towards EU accession countries. In his official message for Europe Day on 9 May 2017, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that his country “which has been a part of Europe historically, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Construction workers at project construction site

Investing in Democracy

Democratically governed countries usually offer better conditions for long-term foreign investment than autocratic ones – particularly more stability, greater legal certainty and more efficient governance. Thus, from a company perspective, investing in democracies does not only feel right, it is also the more rational choice. The Chinese government is losing out – big time – […]

Sükhbaatar Square in Ulaanbaatar.

Guarded Confidence in Mongolian Democracy

A high court ruling on the country’s electoral system has thrown Mongolia into political turmoil. How will this affect the upcoming parliamentary elections? Will the country stay on its path towards consolidating democracy? On June 29, 2016, Mongolians will be voting for a new parliament, the State Great Khural, for the seventh time since the […]

Many colourful figures of Hindu gods are shown

Is religious dogma taking hold of democracy in India?

Hindu fanaticism seems to be on the rise in India with the government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi turning a blind eye. Is the world’s largest democracy on a slippery slope? Not a day goes by in which we are not reminded of the growing threat posed by religious extremism and fanaticism. There is a […]

Nuevo Mas banners at Plaza Congreso
A graffiti showing Hugo Chavez

Maduro’s Time is Running Out

Faced with electoral setback and rising popular discontent, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro just announced a number of economic reforms. But will these suffice to combat the country’s economic and social crises? In Venezuela’s most recent parliamentary elections on December 6, 2015, Chavismo experienced its first political setback since coming to power 17 years ago. The […]

Law and Justice Party Demolishes Democratic Consensus

Few countries can boast a story of transformation success as Poland’s. Does the newly elected PiS-led government in Warsaw pose a threat to the country’s democratic achievements? The European Commission has just initiated an unprecedented inquiry into the rule of law in Poland. The aim of the inquiry is to assess whether laws passed by […]

Rohingya refugee camp in Myebon in Rakhine State of Myanmar © Evangelos Petratos EU/ECHO, Myebon, June 2013 (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

A New Refugee Crisis Looming?

Southeast Asia is seeing persecuted minorities fleeing their homeland. As in Europe, lack of political consensus has exacerbated the situation – and a new wave of migration is just about to start. 2015 will be remembered as the year of mass migration. This year, the world has endured an unprecedented flood of haunting images. The […]

Afghan parliament, March 2014 © Fardin waezi / UNAMA (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Afghanistan’s Future is Hanging by a Thread

Last year’s presidential elections were a huge achievement for Afghanistan’s infant democracy. Yet, will President Ashraf Ghani’s national unity government be able to face the challenges posed by US troop exit, Taliban peace talks, and the Afghan economy? A lot was at stake for Afghanistan during President Ashraf Ghani’s first official trip to the United […]

Tunisians demonstrate for peace, freedom of speech and for a secular state.

“Sovereign Debt is One of Democracy’s Weak Points”

Political scientist Stefan Wurster speaks about the shortcomings of democracy and why it nonetheless remains a successful model to meet the challenges of the future. BTI Blog: Responding to signals of democratic decline, the Club de Madrid has launched the Next Generation Democracy project with the goal of enabling democracy to better meet the challenges […]

City Scape of the Hangzhong road, China ©veer/veerguy

Asia at the Crossroads

Aside from China, nearly all the states in Asia make use of the trappings of democracy, such as elections, parliaments, and the separation of powers. A new report examines the future of democracy in Asia in the next 15 years. Asia has made significant progress towards democratization in recent decades. Despite being tested from outside […]

© 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 […]

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 […]

Nelson Mandela

“Skepticism Has Grown”

Policy analyst Jan Hofmeyr on the legacy of Nelson Mandela, the diluted social capital of the ANC – and why migration is a challenge for South Africa. BTI Blog: South Africa is in mourning, having lost the great inspirational and integrative personality of Nelson Mandela. What has changed since – has he given your country […]

Are powers concentrated in good hands? Nepal’s Chief Justice and interim head of government Khil Raj Regmi © Krish Dulal (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Re-Thinking Separation of Powers in Nepal

Nepal’s November 2013 parliamentary elections set a precedent for democratic governance in the Himalayan nation. Ironically, with the right leaders and support from the population, temporary restrictions on separation of powers may serve the future of Nepali democracy. Global and regional powers, including the European Union, the United States, Japan, China, and India, sent congratulations […]