governance

The Albatross around the ANC’s Neck

Last summer, President Jacob Zuma was celebrating his narrow success of surviving another no-confidence vote. But while the ANC’s 54th National Elective Conference is approaching, many within the governing party are beginning to count the cost of a leader who lacks the public’s trust. In December 2007, delegates at the National Elective Conference of South Africa’s ruling African […]

Bulgaria’s EU Presidency: Normalizing Nationalism?

Some of the Bulgarian politicians who will preside over European meetings in Brussels in the first half of 2018 are nationalists. Is the EU to be blamed for letting them play a role on the European stage? Will the Bulgarian liberal-conservative majority be able to tame its patriotic coalition partner? After many years of economic […]

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 […]

For a Comprehensive and Credible Governance Measurement in the SDGs

What is the significance of good governance in national reporting on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? And are the UN member states prepared to use independent governance indicators in their reports? Representatives of governments, civil society and the private sector discussed this issue in Oslo in September 2017 at the invitation of the UNDP. The current […]

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 […]

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 […]

Protesters in São Paulo

Revisiting a Success Story

Solid economic growth, combined with social policies: This was the recipe for success followed by many Latin American countries like Brazil. Now, the boom in exports has ended – all at the cost of social advances made in recent years. Is it time to question previous reform policies? Most economies in Latin America and the […]

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 – […]

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 […]

© Ocean Photography/veer

Progress and Roll-Back of Europeanization

Ten years after their accession to the European Union, Poland is seen as a model of development while Hungary is turning to a populist, in some ways illiberal, nationalism. These diverging trends highlight how fragile attachment to Western orientation and institutions potentially is. The nations of Central-Eastern Europe provide an interesting case study of the […]

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 […]