protest

Untold Billions, Too Little Change

Energy policy is a crucial and often underappreciated cause for public discontent. Most severe irregularities occur in opaque upstream deals. The EITI multistakeholder initiative has significant unrealized potential to inform the public about irregularities around energy governance. Failed resource governance remains one of the leading causes of civil unrest in resource-rich countries, exhibited en masse […]

Domestic Divisions Overshadow Climate Prospects

Tackling climate change numbers among the most pressing issues for governments worldwide. But after the United Nations struggled to even find a host for its upcoming international climate meeting, will domestic politics limit its success? Even before global leaders travel to the United Nation’s annual climate conference from December 2-13, domestic politics have already cast […]

Why the Conflict Over Nagorno-Karabakh Could Heat Up Again

The honeymoon is over for Armenia’s popular prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan. In addition to a series of problems at home, he has no choice but to deal with a perennial headache: the three-decades-old conflict with Azerbaijan over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, which dates back to the last years of the Soviet Union in 1988. […]

Algerian Politics: The Closing Window for Change

For more than four months protesters in Algeria have been urging a clean-up of the country’s politics and a new constitution. But how realistic is change given the military’s iron grip on power? Algeria, where power has long been firmly consolidated in a deep state, has seen mass peaceful protests since February 22. What started […]

European Parliament Elections: Land of the Non-Voters

Is there any hope that the forthcoming European elections will bring positive change for Slovakians? In fact, there is. This year marks the 15th anniversary of Slovakia’s EU accession. But in Svidník in northeastern Slovakia only a few people bother. Svidník is the main city of one of the poorest and least developed regions in […]

Argentina: Election Year to the Rhythm of the International Monetary Fund

2019 could prove a fateful year for Argentina. To receive further financial aid from the International Monetary Fund, the government has to enforce drastic and unpopular measures ahead of the October elections. President Mauricio Macri is walking on very thin ice. Recently the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved the second review of Argentina’s 3-year Stand […]

Militaries Hold the Key to Power in a Dictator’s Endgame

Which factors shape the armed forces’ decision to boost or bust the rule of an incumbent autocrat in times of political turmoil? Political scientists at Heidelberg University analyzed non-violent mass mobilizations since 1946 and developed a game theory model that aims to explain the different military responses. Autocrats live dangerously. Although their average tenure is […]

The New Turkey: Erdoğan’s Personal Fief

Uncertainty abounds ahead of Turkey’s election. Will a floundering economy spell the end for President Tayyip Erdoğan? After an a series of steps towards liberalization between 2002 and 2012, Turkey’s AKP government showed its teeth in 2013: It announced plans to build a shopping mall on Gezi Park – one of the last green parts […]

Populists on Both Sides of the Wall?

Ahead of the Mexican election in July, a leftwing populist is the clear frontrunner amid exasperation with political corruption and snail-paced social reform. The Mexican presidential race was probably over the minute it began. Recent polls consistently put leftist populist Andrés Manuel López Obrador ahead, with a lead of at least 10 points versus the […]

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 […]

Race to the Bottom: Ethiopia’s Accelerating Crisis

An economy in free fall, ever-deepening repression, a deteriorating security, inter-ethnic violence, and a vicious infighting within the ruling party – Ethiopia is on the cusp of political explosion. Ethiopia has largely been seen in Western capitals and think tanks as “an Island of stability in a troubled region”. Within the last two years, however, […]

Somaliland after the Elections: Old Traps, New Challenges

Despite the lack of international recognition, Somaliland has created a relatively stable enclave in the unsecure region of the Horn of Africa. However, the successful consensus politics of the past decades shows first deep cracks. Is Somaliland falling into the old traps of clan rivalries and foreign geopolitical interests? The Republic of Somaliland is recognised as […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 – […]

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“Discrimination in Nepal Continues under New Constitution”

After a turbulent year 2015 for Nepal, we spoke with social entrepreneur Rabi Karmacharya about the stalled post-earthquake reconstruction effort and the political quagmire following the adoption of a much-criticized new constitution. BTI Blog: Mr. Karmacharya, your NGO “Open Learning Exchange Nepal” has worked for many years to improve education quality in rural schools. How […]

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 […]

A military plane is unloaded in Kathmundu, Nepal on 29 April 2015 delivering UK aid © Sgt Neil Bryden/RAF (CC BY 2.0)

Nepal’s New Prime Minister Faces Herculean Tasks

A military plane is unloaded in Kathmundu, Nepal on 29 April 2015 delivering UK aid © Sgt Neil Bryden/RAF (CC BY 2.0) A new constitution, a virtual embargo by its neighbor India, deadly clashes between police and protesters and the recovery from the earthquakes in April and May 2015. Nepal’s newly elected Prime Minister K.P. […]

Brazilians protest against the government and corruption, 15 March 2015 © José Cruz/Agência Brasil (CC BY 2.0)

“Few Leaders with a National Vision”

On 15 August 2015, thousands of Brazilians once again took to the streets to protest against President Dilma Rousseff. Economist Renato Flôres explains the failure of Brazil’s political leadership, the future of the ruling Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT) party, and what the country needs in order to return to a growth and development path. BTI […]

Policy gear in Bangladesh © Rajiv Ashrafi via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Is Bangladesh on the Brink of Civil War?

Bangladesh’s two main political parties have been deadlocked since the controversial general elections over one year ago. Political violence has now taken a turn for the worse as casualties continue to rise throwing the country further off the democratic path. The escalation began when Khaleda Zia, leader of the country’s largest opposition party, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party […]

© 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 […]

Kick it like Rousseff © Roberto Stuckert Filho/PR
© 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 […]

© 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 […]

The BTI team: Sabine Donner, Hauke Hartmann, Sabine Steinkamp & Robert Schwarz (from left to right) © Bock & Gärtner

“Conflict Management is at a Low Point”

The BTI team talks about the findings from the latest edition of the Transformation Index, the wave of civil protests sweeping the globe, and strategies for countries in transition. BTI Blog: What exactly is the Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Transformation Index, the BTI? Hauke Hartmann (Senior Project Manager at BTI): The BTI team is interested in observing […]

Police on Maidan square, December 2013 © maksymenko.com.ua

“Dignity in Ukraine is Violated Every Day”

Political scientists Iryna Solonenko and Vasyl Kosiv talk about the Maidan protests, the role of civil society and the fight for political accountability in Ukraine. BTI Blog: In early 2014, the Maidan is still occupied by demonstrators, and protests against President Yanukovych’s rule continue, seemingly unabated. What are the factors contributing to the opposition’s persistence, […]