-Democracy Research News-August 2010
Welcome to Democracy Research News, the newsletter of the Network of Democracy Research Institutes (NDRI). The Network is a membership association of institutions that conduct and publish research on democracy and democratic development. It is also one of several functional networks associated with the World Movement for Democracy (www.wmd.org). This newsletter is one means of informing democracy scholars and others worldwide about the activities of and publications produced by NDRI member institutes. The newsletter will continue to evolve as the Network grows, and we invite readers' comments and suggestions of useful features they would like to see in future issues. Additional information about the Network and profiles of all member institutes are available at www.ndri.ned.org. To submit comments or to inquire about joining the Network, please write to Melissa Aten-Becnel ().
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1. NEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
New CDI Director Appointed:
Asian Barometer Releases Final Results from Second Round of Surveys:
Call for Papers: KPI Annual Congress in 2010:
NDRI Is Pleased to Announce the Digital Library on Democracy:
Call for Applications: Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellowships in Washington, D.C.:
The program is intended primarily to support practitioners, scholars, and journalists from developing and aspiring democracies; distinguished scholars from established democracies may also apply. A working knowledge of English is required. All fellows receive a monthly stipend, health insurance, travel assistance, and research support. The program does not fund professional training, fieldwork, or students working towards a degree. The program will host two five-month fellowship sessions in 2011–2012: October 1, 2011–February 28, 2012 (Fall 2011) and March 1–July 31, 2012 (Spring 2012). More information and application instructions are available here. Flyers in English, French, Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Spanish, Russian, and Portuguese are also available. Applications are due by Monday, November 1, 2010.
2. New Publications and Recent Events by NDRI Members
Afrobarometer published a June 2010 Working Paper on “Urban-Rural Differences in Support for Incumbents Across Africa,” by Robin Harding, in which the author uses Afrobarometer survey data to examine the significantly higher levels of support for incumbent governments among rural residents in 18 sub-Saharan African countries. The author concludes that rural residents are more supportive of incumbents than their urban counterparts because a majority of Africans live in rural areas and “democracy creates incentives for governments to favor rural interests at the expense of the urban minority, thereby resulting in dissatisfaction on the part of urban voters.”
The May 2010 Working Paper on “Citizen Perceptions of Local Government Responsiveness in Sub-Saharan Africa,” by Michael Bratton, “examines local government performance from the perspective of users, with special attention to questions of responsiveness, representation, and accountability.” Keefer finds that Africans judge the quality of local government based on whether they think leaders “deliver the goods” and that “a citizen’s experience as a victim of corruption leads to perceptions of more, not less responsive leadership.”
In January 2010, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD, Nigeria) began publishing West Africa Insight, a monthly magazine dedicated to a different topic every issue. The July 2010 issue on “Forests” explores the continuing depletion of forests in West Africa and subsequent effects on the people across the region. The June 2010 issue focuses on “Maternal Health” and examines maternal healthcare programs and initiatives in Benin, Guinea, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. A complete archive of West Africa Insight is available here.
The Centre for Policy Studies (CPS, South Africa) published a March 2010 Research Report on “Rapid or Incremental Change? Assigning Greater Legislative Powers to the Pan African Parliament,” by Ogochukwu Nzewi, in which the author reviews the institutional development and achievements of the Pan African Parliament during its first term, examines the prospects of the Parliament acquiring greater legislative powers and competencies, and explores ways in which it could enhance its “institutional effectiveness and competence by strengthening its non-legislative role in the short to medium term while still working towards its long term goal of acquiring greater legislative powers.”
CPS also published two articles on the recent ANC leadership change. The April 2010 Research Report on “Positioning Civil Society Post-Polokwane: Coming to Terms with ANC Political Leadership Change,” by Maxine Reitzes and Fiona White. “presents research into whether changes in ANC leadership improved the prospects for greater openness and space for dialogue and engagement between CSOs and the ANC.” The February 2010 Policy Brief on “More Continuity Than Change? Reconfiguring Relationships Between ANC and Civil Society Post-Polokwane,” by Maxine Reitzes, in which the author explores whether the Zuma-led ANC revised its attitude towards civil society organizations, how these organizations perceive the ‘new’ ANC, and how these organizations intend to institutionalize their policy engagement with the ANC.
In May 2010, the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (Idasa) published Social Accountability In Africa: Practitioners’ Experiences and Lessons, a collection of case studies from Africa on social accountability. By using diverse case studies and unique approaches to implementing social accountability strategies and interventions within different countries, the collection attempts to build a consolidated body of knowledge on social accountability efforts across the continent.
In June, Idasa also published an article on “From Power Sharing to Democracy? Facing the Forces of Change in Burundi’s Upcoming Elections,” by Sylvester Bongani Maphosa, in which the author analyses Burundi’s options during its first election since the end of 16 years of violence and finds some reasons to be optimistic, despite escalating tensions among political actors.
Finally, Idasa also published the June 2010 Democracy in Action, which highlights the Institute’s activities, projects, and publications.
Asia and the Pacific
In June 2010, the Centre for Democratic Institutions (CDI, Australia) held its 2010 Annual Address on “Democracy in Timor-Leste: Challenges and Prospects,” featuring Dr José Ramos-Horta, president of the Democratic Republic of Timor Leste. The president discussed a number of issues facing the country since a crisis that began in 2006 when conflict between sections of the East Timorese military sparked wider social unrest and led to the resignation of then Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri. Dr. Ramos-Horta argued that “this crisis might have been avoided if the original UN peacekeeping mission overseeing the nation’s transition to independence had lasted for five years instead of two.” Nonetheless, the President believes that “his nation has regained stability thanks in part to bilateral support from countries like Australia and Portugal, leading to a tremendous recovering in trust in the institutions.” A vodcast and podcast of the event are available here.
On June 7–18, 2010, CDI held its 5th Political Party Development Course in Canberra, Australia, to “provide senior political party officials from the South-East Asia/South Pacific region with the skills to strengthen their parties and party systems, with the objectives being improved governance and more stable democracies.” The course is intended to provide participants with information on the Australian political system, an understanding of party theory and the factors that influences the development of party systems; a better understanding of parties and party systems in the region; and opportunities to network and develop links with parties in their own countries and throughout the region.
The Political Education Academy of Mongolia (APE) published a new issue of Shin Toli that includes articles on “An Achievement and Lesson of Democratic Revolution” by E. Bat-Uul; “Western Values of Democracy and Mongolia: To Define Comparative Tendency by International Criterions” by David Sneath; “Civilization Basic of Russian-Mongolian Relations” by A.C. Jeleznyakov; “Democratizing Process and Mongolia” by Damba Ganbat; and “Not Imagined Success of Mongolian Democratic Transferring: Comparing with Central Asian Countries after Soviet Union” by B. Stsolantai.
In May 2010, the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT) published a Background Paper on “Budget and Budgetary Processes in the Parliament of India,” by Gyana Ranjan Panda, the purpose of which is to provide a model for reforming Pakistan’s own budgetary processes. The author argues that “continuity of democracy and a Westminster form of an uninterrupted parliamentary tradition spanning over several decades offers many examples that are useful for a comparative analysis in Pakistan.” Unlike in India, Pakistan’s current budgetary process has attracted little input from parliamentarians, political parties, or civil society, leaving the budget-making process solely in the domain of the executive and bureaucracy.
PILDAT also published a Background Paper on “Conflict Transformations: Dynamics, Skills, and Strategies” in May 2010. Written by Syed Rifaat Hussain, the paper was prepared for the second round of Skills Building Workshop that was organized around the theme “Conflict Transformation” and designed to “enhance the conflict resolution capabilities of legislators so that they are better equipped to play their roles as mediators in various conflicts in the society.” In June 2010, PILDAT held two workshops for members of the legislative assembly of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and members of the provincial assembly of Sindh, during which the Background Paper was presented.
The May–August 2010 Journal of East Asian Studies, prepared by the East Asia Institute (EAI, South Korea) and published by Lynne Rienner, includes articles on “Soft Balancing, Hedging, and Institutional Darwinism: The Economic-Security Nexus and East Asian Regionalism” by T. J. Pempel; “The Decline of Particularism in Japanese Politics” by Gregory W. Noble; “Political Connections and Firm Performance: The Case of Hong Kong” by Stan Hok-Wui Wong; and “Do Asian Values Exist? Empirical Tests of the Four Dimensions of Asian Values” by So Young Kim.” Abstract of these articles are available here.
EAI also published seven new Working Papers since the last issue of Democracy Research News, including “North Korea’s Military-First Diplomacy and its Future Alternative” by Chaesung Chun; “From the Fortress State to the Amphibious State: Some Thoughts on North Korea's Gradual Transformation” by Seongji Woo; “What’s Law Got to Do With It? Competition among Legal, Political, and Social Norms in the Generation and Resolution of Rural Land Disputes” by Susan H. Whiting; “Compensation for Historic Injustice” by Daniel Butt; “Northeast Asian Approaches to North Korea’s Nuclearization” by Etel Solingen; “'Democratic Inconsistency' in the North Korean Nuclear Crisis” by Hyung-Min Joo; and “Economy President?: Exploring Determinants of Presidential Approval of Myung-bak Lee” by Kon-Su Yi.
In August 2010, the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA, Sri Lanka) published a report on “Freedom of Expression and the Internet in Sri Lanka,” which highlights the bleak outlook for freedom of expression on the Internet in Sri Lanka is highlighted: online journalists and bloggers have recently come under attack, censure, and surveillance; websites have been shutdown; and the government has sought to expand its ability to regulate online content. Considering these problems, the paper proposes legal and policy recommendations to improve online freedom of expression, including creating legislation for privacy protection, cataloging efforts to block websites, and requiring service providers to provide clear and accessible privacy policies for their consumers.
In April 2010, the Access to Information Program (AIP, Bulgaria) published its Access to Information in Bulgaria 2009, its annual report on recommendations for improving the access to information practices within Bulgarian public institutions. The report contains a “comparative analysis between the Access to Public Information Act and the Council of Europe Convention on Access to Official Documents,” results from a survey that assessed the ease of accessing online information from the administrative structures of the Bulgarian executive, analyses of the access to information cases the AIP legal team consulted on in 2009, an overview of the most interesting developments in freedom of information litigation in 2009, and results from a public opinion poll on attitudes regarding the right to access to information.
Since the last issue of Democracy Research News, the Centre for Liberal Strategies (CLS, Bulgaria) published three issues of Foreign Policy Bulgaria. The February 2010 issue contains articles on Afghanistan’s first postwar finance minister, blood diamonds from Africa, religious parties in the Muslim world, Barack Obama’s foreign policy, China’s economy, and public opinion on the economic crisis. The April 2010 issue covers China’s military, “behind-the-scenes operators and elder statesmen” who help set the global agenda, Bosnia, environmental policy, the European Community, and NATO. Finally, the June 2010 issue contains articles on the role of the Internet in political activism and perpetuating peace, billionaire dissidents in Russia, and the Mideast peace process. More information about these and past issues of Foreign Policy Bulgaria can be found (in Bulgarian) here.
The Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI, Germany) recently published a report on “Managing the Crisis: A Comparative Analysis of Economic Governance in 14 Countries,” an evaluation of the quality of political decision-making in response to the global financial and economic crisis in Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the U.S., Brazil, Chile, China, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, and Turkey. Based on 14 detailed country reports, the study “focuses on the quality and effectiveness of political management during the first stage of the crisis at the peak of the global recession” and examines aspects of crisis management “from agenda-setting and policy formulation over the specific policy contents to the implementation of stimulus and stabilization packages.” The 14 country reports, an in-depth report that highlights the similarities and differences among measures taken, and a summary that compares economic governance in advanced and emerging economies are available here.
In June 2010, the Institute for Development and Social Initiatives (IDIS) ‘Viitorul’ (Moldova) released a series of country reports that assess the European Neighborhood Policy funding for Moldova, Georgia, Ukraine, and Azerbaijan in 2009. The authors of the report on Moldova recommend establishing and developing a more open and effective means for consultation between civil society and the Moldovan government. The authors also assert that the government “should engage more actively in full-fledged capacity-building within its executive agencies, to ensure that civil servants have the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively monitor [European Neighborhood Policy Instrument] assistance.” Finally, the authors argue that the European Commission should improve its communication with Moldovans and increase the accountability of “public administration through specific civil society groups acting as watchdogs of good governance and valuable actors.” Reports on Ukraine, Georgia, and Azerbaijan are also available, as well as an executive summary of the project’s findings.
In July 2010, the Center for Democracy and Human Rights (CEDEM, Montenegro) published the results of a public opinion poll on “Citizens’ Attitudes towards NATO Integration in Montenegro,” conducted by Besic Milos. Key findings include: the education system is the most trusted institution in Montenegro, followed by the president, the health care system, the parliament, and the European Union. A large percentage of respondents believe there is no risk of military aggression in Montenegro and that the main threats come from organized crime and economic and social conflicts; support for NATO membership is split evenly between those who are for and against membership and those who don’t have an opinion; most respondents believe that NATO accession would improve relations with the U.S. and EU, but worsen relations with Russia and Serbia; and most respondents believe NATO membership should be decided via a public referendum. Full results of the poll are available here.
The Institute of Public Affairs (ISP, Poland) published the April 2010 Analyses & Opinions on “Ukraine: The Changing of the Guard,” by Jan Piekło, in which the author argues that the promise of Ukraine’s Orange Revolution was not fulfilled, as “the objections of old EU member states and fear of [the] Kremlin’s adverse reaction made it impossible for the EU to offer Ukraine the ‘carrot’ of membership.” The author also argues that political instability, corruption, and a lack of reforms have caused “Ukrainian fatigue” among Western supporters and donors.
In April 2010, the Romanian Academic Society (SAR), in consultation with the Centre for Liberal Strategies (CLS, Bulgaria), led a project on “Private Properties Issues Following the Change of Political Regime in Former Socialist or Communist Countries” that resulted in a report presented to the Petitions Committee of the European Parliament on May 4, 2010. The report examines the transformations that occurred in the area of private property ownership in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, and Serbia after the fall of communism and reveal that how “governments dealt with this huge and painful social problem differed a lot from country to country.”
In 2010, the Institute for Public Affairs (IVO, Slovakia) published a new book on Slovakia 2009: Trends in Quality of Democracy, edited by Martin Bútora, Miroslav Kollár, and Grigorij Mesežnikov. The book is a compilation of IVO’s Barometer project, which evaluates the state and quality of democracy in Slovakia in five key areas: democratic institutions and the rule of law; legislation; protection and implementation of human and minority rights; performance of independent and public service media; and Euro-integration and transatlantic dimensions of foreign policy. The book also includes public opinion survey results regarding the development trends of Slovak society in 2009.
The Democratisation and Rule of Law Program of FRIDE (La Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior, Spain) contributed to a project on “Assessing Democracy Assistance” that is being carried out by the World Movement for Democracy to “offer advice on how to improve both donor and local stakeholder practices.” By surveying the opinions of nearly 600 civil society representatives from 14 countries on how democracy aid should be re-energized, FRIDE has produced in-depth country reports on Belarus, Bosnia, China, the DRC, Egypt, Georgia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Ukraine, Yemen, and Venezuela that detail the surveys’ findings. An overview report is also available.
FRIDE also published a May 2010 Policy Brief on “Why the West Should Relinquish Mubarak,” by Kristina Kausch, in which the author examines the emergence of former IAEA head Mohamed El-Baradei as a possible rival for Mubarak in the November 2011 presidential elections and urges the West to forge new alliances against Mubarak. An April 2010 Policy Brief on “Democracy in Albania” examines “important democratic deficits [that] remain in the areas of the rule of law; judicial independence; elections; media independence; and control over corruption” since the transition from communism two decades ago.
The Quality of Government Institute (QoG, Sweden) has published twelve new Working Papers since the last issue of Democracy Research News, including “The Failure of Anti-Corruption Policies: A Theoretical Mischaracterization of the Problem” (June 2010) by Anna Persson, Bo Rothstein, and Jan Teorell; “Variation in Corruption between Mexican States: Elaborating the Gender Perspective” (June 2010) by Lena Wängnerud; “Are Swing Voters Instruments of Democracy or Farmers of Clientelism? Evidence from Ghana” (June 2010) by Staffan I. Lindberg and Keith R. Weghorst; “Quality of Government and Quality of Water” (June 2010) by Sören Holmberg & Bo Rothstein; “Seeing the State: The Implications of Transparency for Societal Accountability” (June 2010) by Monika Bauhr, Marcia Grimes, and Niklas Harring; “Transparency and Its Discontents: How IO Transparency Influence Domestic Resistance to Government Reforms” (June 2010) by Monika Bauhr and Naghmeh Nasiritousi; “Dimensions of Bureaucracy. A Cross-National Dataset on the Structure and Behavior of Public Administration” (June 2010) by Carl Dahlström, Victor Lapuente, and Jan Teorell; “No Law without a State” (May 2010) by Nicholas Charron, Carl Dahlström, and Victor Lapuente; “Which Dictators Produce Quality of Government” (May 2010) by Nicolas Charron and Victor Lapuente; “Civil War Spain versus Swedish Harmony: The Quality of Government Factor” (April 2010) by Victor Lapuente and Bo Rothstein; “Corruption, Happiness, Social Trust and the Welfare State: A Causal Mechanisms Approach” (April 2010) by Bo Rothstein; and “Perceptions of Corruption in Sweden” (April 2010) by Monika Bauhr, Naghmeh Nasiritousi, Henrik Oscarsson, and Anna Persson.
The Global Center for Development and Democracy (CGDD, Peru) released two brochures in April 2010 to summarize the work of their organization and to promote the “Social Agenda for Democracy in Latin America for the Next 20 Years.” During the past few months since the last issue of Democracy Research News, CGDD Board of Directors member and former Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo traveled to Canada, the Dominican Republic, Spain, and the United States to present and discuss the Social Agenda with international organizations and political leaders. The complete version of the “Social Agenda for Democracy in Latin America for the Next 20 Years” can be found on the CGDD website.
The Center for the Implementation of Public Policies Promoting Equity and Growth (CIPPEC, Argentina) published an edited volume on Think Tanks and Public Policies in Latin America in May 2010. Originally published in Spanish in 2006, the book has been updated and translated into English with the support of International Development Research Centre in Canada and Fundación Siena in Argentina. According to the book’s introduction, the updated publication includes new articles on think-tanks’ “bonds with the institutional environment, relationships with donors, exchanges with similar organizations in developed countries, and dynamics with political parties,” as well as a chapter acknowledging the “increasing participation that Latin American think tanks are gaining in the social policies cycle.”
The Center for Opening and Development in Latin America (CADAL, Argentina) has published more than 25 articles on its website that will be of interest to democracy scholars since the last issue of Democracy Research News. The most recent article, published on August 1, 2010, by Patricio Navia, “Las tres promesas que me hizo Piñera” (The Three Promises That Piñera Made To Me) evaluates Piñera’s progress on three promises he made to Patricio Navio through email correspondence during the second round of his presidential campaign. In June 2010, Navia also published an article, “Los primeros cien días de Sebastián Piñera: inusual luna de miel” (The First 100 Days of Sebastián Piñera: An Unusual Honeymoon), where he categorized Piñera’s presidency as a balance between “continuity and change.” Given that Piñera’s actions thus far do not reflect the same changes he pledged to make during his campaign, Navia argues that Piñera’s election demonstrated that Chileans want change in the context of continuity. Navia does not view the election of a conservative candidate as a complete rejection of the left-of-center Concertación, but rather a desire for moderate change in Chile.
CADAL has also organized a number of events since the last issue of Democracy Research News. Prior to the opening of the 40th Annual Meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Lima, Peru in June 2010, CADAL organized the first meeting of the 2010 Inter-American Democratic Forum as part of CADAL’s network, Red Puente Democrático Latinoamericano. The event included two panels discussing “New Challenges to the Rule of Law and Democratic Institutions in Latin America” and “Foreign Policy, Human Rights and Regional Commitment to the Promotion of Democracy” and featured speakers from Argentina, Brazil, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.
On July 13, 2010, CADAL celebrated the opening of its new office space by holding an event on “2010–2011 Economic and Institutional Agenda in Argentina” to present the findings of its Legislative Barometer. The opinion survey conducted by CADAL asked Argentine senators and deputies from several social and economic congressional committees a series of 20 questions about which issues they viewed as legislative priorities for the upcoming year, with a particular focus on opening markets, increases in prices, and conflict between the national government and the agricultural sector. CADAL President Gabriel Salvia expressed his hopes that the Legislative Barometer will serve as a toolkit that will facilitate the involvement of civil society in the development and implementation of public policies in Argentina.
Congresso Visible (CV, Colombia) launched a new section of its website, Ágora, where it will feature opinion articles, reports, and analysis pieces from sister organizations and CV staff. Recent articles include an interview with Luis Javier Orjuela on “Opinión sobre el ‘gran acuerdo de unidad nacional’ y las perspectivas de oposición en Colombia III” (Opinion of the ‘Grand National Unity Agreement’ and Perspectives from the Opposition in Colombia, Part III); “El Metro de Bogotá y las vigencias futuras” (Bogota’s Metro and its Future Effects) by Francisco Azuero; and “Ciudadanía activa, Congreso y tecnología” (Active Citizens, Congress, and Technology) by Andrés Fernández.
The Instituto de Ciencia Política (ICP, Colombia) released its April 2010 Perspectiva entitled “Del emprendedor a empresario” (From Entrepreneur to Businessman). The main cluster of articles focuses on entrepreneurship and includes discussions about networks of entrepreneurs, the importance of democracy and the free market in fostering entrepreneurship, and the role of national politics in fostering competitiveness. Other articles from the edition include “Reporte Democracia, Mercado, y Transparencia 2009” (2009 Report on Democracy, Markets, and Transparency) by Gabriel Salvia, Hernán Alberro and Raúl Ferro; “Relaciones entre Perú y Colombia, a paso firme” (Relations Between Peru and Colombia: a Step Forward) by Jorge Voto-Bernales Gatica; and “Política del poder y liderazgo con poder” (Politics of Power and Leadership with Power) by Franco Gamboa Rocabado. The entire magazine can be found here.
In June 2010, ICP hosted a conference entitled “Alcance e impacto de los resultados de las elecciones presidenciales del 30 de mayo: Una visión desde la academia” (Reach and Impact of the Results of the May 30 Presidential Elections: The Perspective from Academia), with a discussion moderated by ICP Executive Director Marcela Prieto Botero and presentations by Patricia Muñoz Yi, Rubén Sánchez David, and Luis Carvajal Basto. The event was held as a follow-up to another conversation held in May 2010, two weeks prior to Colombia’s presidential elections, entitled “Los aciertos y desaciertos de la actual campaña presidencial” (The Certainties and Uncertainties of the Current Presidential Campaign). A conference report on the May 30 event can be found here.
Latinobarómetro (Chile) published its Second Annual Report on International Relations in June 2010, entitled “América Latina Mira al Mundo: La globalización y las relaciones con otros países del mundo” (How Latin America Views the World: Globalization and Relations with Other Countries of the World). For the report, Latinobarómetro surveyed citizens from 18 Latin American countries about their opinions of other countries around the world and within their own region. The second report found that Latin Americans have improved their opinions about the rest of the world since 2009, and more than half of respondents expressed support for regional economic integration over political integration.
Latinobarómetro has also named Dr. Alejandro Moreno as the new director in charge preparing its annual survey in 2010. Dr. Moreno received his PhD from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and has been a professor and researcher in the political science department at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) in Mexico City, Mexico since 1996. He has worked in collaboration on the World Values Survey for over a decade and has participated in a number of comparative opinion studies. More information about Dr. Moreno can be found here.
Grupo FARO (Ecuador) was selected in July 2010 to become of member of the International Development Research Center in Canada’s Think Tank Initiative. After applying through a competitive process, Grupo Faro was selected as one of 28 think tanks in Latin American and South Asia to be selected to participate in the initiative. Funded by the Hewlett and Gates Foundations, the initiative will distribute $35 million USD to the selected organizations in order to provide long-term funding, enabling the initiatives’ members to continue conducting research and to improve each organization’s capacity. Of the initiative, Grupo FARO executive director Orazio Belletini commented, "We are convinced that the support given by the Think Tank Initiative and the collaboration with other policy centers in ours and other regions of the world will allow Grupo FARO to continue to accompany Ecuador and Latin America in the road to development.”
In April 2010, Grupo FARO’s Orazio Belletini also gave a presentation on “Using Research to Promote a More Informed Dialogue and Better Policies in Ecuador” during the World Movement for Democracy’s Sixth Assembly in Jakarta, Indonesia. A copy of the presentation can be found here.
FUNDAR (Mexico) released the April/May 2010 edition of its bi-monthly newsletter Boletín Curul 501 with articles on “El derecho a la salud: una responsabilidad para el Poder Legislativo” (The Right to Health: A Responsibility of the Legislative Branch) by Mariana Pérez; “El paquete económico: ¿para el bien de la ciudadanía o de los partidos?” (The Economic Package: For the Good of the Citizens or the Parties?) by José María Marín; and “¡Ya casi! A un paso la reforma constitucional en derechos humanos” (It’s About Time! A Step Towards Constitutional Reform for Human Rights) by Marcia Itzel Checa Gutiérrez.
In June 2010, FUNDAR also published Boletín Peso y Contrapesos, featuring a debate on public health in Mexico in 2010. The headline article, “Retrocesos para el Desarrollo Social y Mediocridad en el Gasto para Servicios de Salud,” (Setbacks in Social Development and Poor Quality of Social Expenditure) by José María Marín, discusses the effects of the economic crisis on Mexico’s health expenditures in 2009. Looking back on the past fiscal year, Marín notes that Mexico’s budget cutbacks had a particularly negative impact on the funding of public health services, with the result that fewer health funds reached Mexico’s poorest and most vulnerable populations.
The Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) published three issues of its Terrorism and Democracy newsletter since the last issue of Democracy Research News. The July 2010 issue includes a discussion of “a recent decision by the Israeli High Court of Justice to reject a petition submitted by an Israeli NGO against opening Route 443 to Palestinian vehicles—a move that the NGO claimed would endanger security on the road,” an overview of the findings of an internal IDF investigative committee on the IDF’s conduct during the recent Gaza “flotilla incident,” a discussion of the recent appointment of three members of the UN Fact Finding Mission established following the flotilla incident, and an update on the IDF’s internal investigation of “Operation Cast Lead.” The June 2010 issue contains a set of three articles that examine different aspects of the Gaza flotilla incident, a summary of a recent Human Rights Watch Report that “examined the investigations by both Israel and Hamas of alleged violations of international law and war crimes committed during ‘Operation Cast Lead,’” and a discussion of a decision to authorize the continued solitary confinement of convicted terrorist Abdullah Barghouti. Finally, the May 2010 issue features six short articles on a new counter-terrorism memorandum bill, a report on the legal arguments concerning the Palestinian National Authority’s request that the International Criminal Court exercise jurisdiction over the alleged crimes committed during “Operation Cast Lead,” a decision to uphold the route of a section of the separation barrier that passes through East Jerusalem’s municipal borders, and other issues related to democracy and security. A complete archive of the Terrorism and Democracy newsletter is available here.
The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) recently conducted two public opinion polls. The June 2010 “Palestinian Public Opinion Poll No. 36” found that “in the aftermath of the Free Gaza flotilla incident, Turkey is the most popular regional country, but Hamas’s popularity remains unchanged while Salam Fayyad and his government gain greater public support.” The poll also revealed that while support for a statehood compromise increased, a large majority of respondents remain pessimistic about the future of the peace process and do not “believe in the efficacy of alternative options to negotiations such as popular resistance or [a] unilateral declaration of statehood.”
PSR also released the results of a June 2010 “Joint Israeli Palestinian Poll,” which revealed that two-thirds of Palestinians polled believed they “came out the winners” following Israel’s raid on the Gaza flotilla, while 50 percent of Israelis put the blame for the incident on the organizers of the flotilla rather than on the Israeli politicians who approved the operation or the military officials who carried it out. Further findings reveal that “neither Palestinians nor Israelis consider it likely that an independent Palestinian State will be established next to the State of Israel in the next five years”—two-thirds of respondents believe the chances that an independent state will be established are non-existent or low.
In July 2010, the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) published a new report on “A Tale of Reciprocity: Minority Foundations in Greece and Turkey,” written by Dilek Kurban and Konstantinos Tsitselikis. The report “aims to analyze the implications of reciprocity policies on the day-to-day lives of Muslim and non-Muslim minorities in Greece and Turkey, specifically their impact on the community foundations belonging to these minorities.” Examining similarities and differences between the laws, politics, and practices of Greek and Turkish states vis-à-vis their minority foundation, the authors critically assess the progress made in these reciprocity agreements that the authors argue are used as political tools against minorities. They also identify outstanding issues and offer policy recommendations for the Turkish and Greek governments.
In July, TESEV also published “Security Sector Policy Report 2: Military-Economic Structure in Turkey: Present Situation, Problems, and Solutions,” by İsmet Akça, in which the author “locates the military, the central actor in Turkey’s militarism, within the economy and economic and financial processes, and offers a breakdown of the military-economic structure in Turkey.” Akça argues that this structure stands on three pillars: the Army Solidarity Fund, which affirms the military’s presence as a financial actor; defense spending, which is extremely high and is controlled almost completely by the military; and the defense industry. The author concludes that this existing structure counteracts civilian efforts to challenge the “politics of national security.”
In April 2010, the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID, United States) held its 11th annual conference on “U.S.-Relations with the Muslim World: One Year After Cairo” that brought together a diverse range of speakers and participants from around the world to discuss the aftermath of President Barack Obama’s June 2009 Cairo speech and the road forward in transforming his rhetoric into tangible policies and actions. An extensive summary of the conference’s panels and full-text of many of the papers presented are available here.
Russia and the Former Soviet Union
In 2010, the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies (BISS) published the Belarusian Yearbook, 2009, compiled and edited by Anatoly Pankovsky and Valeria Kostyugova. The Yearbook, published annually since 2003, is a “joint action by the community of experts and analysts of Belarus to compose, conceptualize, and present the chronicle of the newest country’s history.” Featured in the 2009 edition, the impact of the global financial crisis, the government’s interaction with the IMF to minimize this impact, the expansion of dialogue with the European Union, and the engagement of Belarus with the EU Eastern Partnership program were highlighted as important aspects of the political and public life of the country in the 2009 edition.
BISS also published a May 2010 BISS Blitz on the “Eastern Partnership: First Year,” by Dzianis Melyantsou, in which the author examines the development of the Eastern Partnership since it was implemented in May 2009 and draws four conclusions: the Eastern Partnership is a rapidly developing initiative; a long-term project designed to bring the partner countries closer to the EU without aiming at dramatic political and economic change in the partner countries; civil society appears to be the only actor to have benefited from Belarus’s participation in the partnership, as neither the Belarusian government nor the EU have achieved their Partnership objectives, and the EU should focus on political conditionality towards the government, linked to further economic integration and extra funding from European and international financial institutions.
BISS also published the January–March 2010 BISS Trends, a quarterly publication that monitors patterns and trends in Belarus’s political democratization and liberalization, economic liberalization, quality of governance and rule of law, geopolitical orientation, and cultural policy. The authors find that not much has changed during the first quarter of 2010: political liberalization and democratization have both receded, with new restrictions on freedom of association and freedom of speech and increasing pressure on opposition groups; a pattern of false economic liberalization to secure foreign loans and investment has continued; the quality of governance and rule of law has minimally improved, which the authors attribute to the Belarusian government’s desire to improve its World Bank ratings; its geographical orientation has deteriorated as disputes with the EU and Russia have strained ties; and culturally, the government has taken steps to strengthen Belarusian identity.
In March 2010, the Independent Institute of Socio-Economic and Political Studies (Belarus, IISEPS) conducted a Public Opinion Poll covering the most topical aspects of life in Belarus. The poll found that the economic crisis still remains the most important problem in people’s lives: the number of respondents who believe their financial positions has worsened over the past three months exceeds the number of those who believed it has improved by more than three times. Respondents also revealed that their attitudes toward authorities are ambivalent, with nearly half believing President Lukashenko is harming the country. Furthermore, over 75 percent of respondents knew nothing about the candidates who were running for deputies in their constituencies in the local Council elections and a third did not know when the elections were going to take place. Finally, the poll revealed that the “search for truth” is expanding: over half of Belarusians polled do not believe they have sufficient access to information about the current political situation in the country and almost half believe “that information received from official sources completely or partially does not correspond with their real life.” The full results of the poll can be found here.
In June 2010, the Caucasus Institute for Peace, Democracy, and Development (CIPDD, Georgia) published a report on the “Community Perceptions of the Causes and Effects of the August 2008 Conflict in Kyemo, Kartli, Samegrelo, Samtskhe Javakheti, and Shida Kartli,” a summary of these communities’ views on the causes of the August 2008 conflict and its impact across the country. It first provides shared perceptions of the causes of the conflict, grouped into political, economic, socio-cultural, and security aspects, followed by shared perceptions of the conflicts’ effects. Some of the shared causes identified include the “unbalanced internal and foreign policy of the Georgian Government, with Russia and with Western countries,” the Georgian government’s pro-Western sentiments (which irritated Russia), Russia’s interest in controlling important oil and gas supply routes, the presence of a large number of Russian peacekeepers and Abkhaz/South Ossetian forces in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the strategic interest by the US and NATO in the Caucasus region, and Georgia’s aspiration to join NATO. The report concludes with the communities’ views on the effects of the conflict, including increased human and economic insecurity, a changed political landscape in Georgia, more Russian influence in the region, and less Western influence in the country and the wider region.
Since October 2009, CIPDD has compiled monthly monitoring reports on the “Situation in Shida Kartli Georgia,” prepared within the framework of the project “Development of Early Warning System in Conflict Affected Shida Kartli Region of Georgia.” The reports are compiled by Erekle Urushadze with Ghia Nodia and Marina Elbakidze and are based on reports by six regional monitors and the coverage of the events in Shida Kartli by Georgian newspapers. The May 2010 report examines how Georgian newspapers “continued to cover political developments in South Ossetia…focusing on alleged conflicts inside the separatist government, as well as the disputes between the South Ossetian leadership and Russian authorities.” It also reports on the results of local elections that were held in all parts of Georgia, including Shida Kartli, on May 30, when the ruling National Movement won an overwhelming majority of seats in the municipal councils, although some opposition groups accused “local authorities of exerting pressure on their candidates and the members of the electoral administration.”
CIPDD also published a May 2010 Policy Paper on “New Initiatives of Education Policy in the Context of Civil Integration,” by Shalva Tabatadze, in which the author presents an “overview of the initiatives in the education system in the context of civil integration since the end of 2009.” The paper starts with a discussion of new education policies that establish special privileges for minorities in the National Standardized University Entrance Examinations, alter school curricula and text books, and change the certification and professionalization process of teachers and concludes with recommendations to avoid the risks and threats presented by these changes.
In 2010, the Carnegie Moscow Center (Russia) published The Lonely Power: Why Russia Has Not Become the West and Why the West Is Difficult for Russia, by Lilia Shevtsova, which “engages in a running polemic on Russia’s behavior on the world state, its relations with the West, and traditional views on relations between Russia and Western civilization.” Shevtsova argues that Russia’s approach to its relationship with the West is characterized as “situational pragmatism:” it is simultaneously with the West and against the West. Examining Russia’s foreign policy toward the West, she studies whether actions taken by the Russian authorities serve the demands of the country’s modernization or whether their purpose is to preserve the status quo, which, in today’s circumstances, she argues means stagnation.
In June 2010, the Center published a series of commentaries on “EU-Russia: The Elusive Road to Cooperation” by Carnegie experts from Moscow, Brussels, and Washington who take stock of the relationship between Russia and the EU, assess the challenges and opportunities for both sides, and provide a clearer view of what is and isn’t possible for EU-Russian relations. “Adding the Union to Russian-European Relations,” by Dmitri Trenin, examines how “Europe faces administrative and political barriers to a common policy on Russia, and [how] Russia remains unwilling to undertake reforms that would make it fully compatible with the EU.” “EU-Russia Energy Relations: A Pause or Fast Forward?” by Adnan Vatansever, explores how both the EU and Russia need to develop a “clearer conception of their own energy security and the price they are willing to pay for it.” Sergei Aleksashenko’s “A Dialogue of the Deaf: EU-Russia Economic Cooperation” argues that “Moscow’s unwillingness to trust market forces and continued insistence on top-down economic policies make true partnership almost impossible.” Finally, “EU-Russia: You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” by Sam Greene, argues that if Europe wants Russia’s institutional harmonization and integration into the EU to be contingent on the country’s eventual democratization, the EU is going to have to find ways to bypass the Kremlin and integrate directly with Russian citizens and businesses.
The Center also published the January–April 2010 Pro et Contra, a special issue on “The Emergence of a Civic Culture of Parenthood.” Articles featured in this edition include “The New Parenthood and Its Political Aspects” by Maria Mayofis and Ilya Kukulin; “Going Beyond Justice: Defending the Defenseless” by Stanislav Lvovskiy; “The Organizations of Non-Civil Society” by Svetlana Korolyova and Alexey Levinson; “Russian Parents: New Behaviors and Worldviews” by Olga Sveshnikova; “START-2: To Be Continued?” by David Hoffman; “Masters of the Market” by Anton Oleynik; and “Monuments of Contemporary Russia” by Alexey Makarkin. Abstracts from this issue and past issues are available here.
Since the last issue of Democracy Research News, the International Centre for Policy Studies (ICPS, Ukraine) published five issues of Inside Ukraine, a monthly review of current events in Ukraine. The July issue focuses on the customs union between Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus, the World Trade Organization, and a free trade agreement with the European Union. The June issue focuses on “Ukraine’s Choices,” in which the authors argue that “Ukraine has little choice but to integrate regionally, and that means, first and foremost, integrating with the regional leader, Russia” and offer three models of integration Ukraine could follow. The May issue is an examination of “Russia’s Agenda on Ukraine” and a discussion of Moscow’s key goals in the country: preventing Ukraine from joining NATO, gaining control over its gas transit system, and attracting Ukraine back into its economic orbit. A complete archive of past issues of Inside Ukraine is available here.
The Democratic Initiatives Foundation (DI, Ukraine) publishes the Focus on Ukraine series that highlights important news from Ukraine every week. Recent issues covered topics such as IMF loans, increasing gas prices, reporters without borders in Ukraine, the education system, foreign policy, a new tax code, and an assessment of the first 100 days of the new government. A complete archive of past issues can be found here.
United States and Canada
Following the April 2010 unrest in Kyrgyzstan, the Applied Research Center at IFES (ARC, United States) has produced numerous publications on democracy, electoral challenges, and political transitions in the country. Gavin Weise’s June 2010 piece on “Kyrgyzstan’s Electoral Challenges” examines the challenges faced by the country’s interim government and electoral institutions, including ensuring that the elections scheduled in October 2010 will be free and fair and dealing with the aftermath of the June 26 referendum to adopt a new constitution. Mr. Weise’s May 2010 Briefing Paper on “Understanding the Proposed Kyrgyz Parliament” examines the “proposed electoral model—closed-list proportional representation in a single national constituency”—and “explains its advantages and disadvantages in the context of the country’s political and societal traditions.” On May 18, ARC held a panel discussion on “Spring Cleaning: Kyrgyzstan’s Latest Political Transition—Prospects, Permutations, and Policy Priorities” that compared “the events that took place on April 7, 2010, to the ‘Tulip Revolution’ of 2005,” discussed the current political climate in the country and the population’s response to recent events, and examined the political divide between the country’s north and south. More information on IFES’s Kyrgyzstan’s program is available here.
In May 2010, Rola Abdul-Latif and Lauren Serpe of ARC presented a paper on “The Status of the Women in the Middle East and North Africa: A Grassroots Research and Advocacy Approach Preliminary Findings from Surveys in Lebanon and Morocco” at the World Association for Public Opinion Research annual conference. The paper highlights comparative data collected from surveys on “topics such as social attitudes towards women, civic and political participation and representation, and opinions on law reforms such as gender quotas and the Family Law in Morocco” conducted in Lebanon and Morocco as part of IFES’s Status of Women in the Middle East and North Africa program.
In April 2010, IFES published two papers to advance its “effort to facilitate the transition from military rule to rule-of-law in Guinea” that were presented to the Guinean Prime Minister and National Transition Council. One of the papers, “Réflexion sur le système judiciaire de la République de Guinée à travers la Cour Suprême,” provides recommendations on how to strengthen the country’s legal system through the Supreme Court and other judicial bodies. The other, “Réflexions visant l’amélioration du cadre d’organisation et de fonctionnement de l’Assemblée Nationale de la République de Guinée,” gives suggestions on how to restructure Guinea’s National Assembly so that democracy can be established in the country. Both papers (in French) are available here.
IFES also recently held several panel discussions, including “Empowering Women in the Political Process” (June 8, 2010); “Broadcast, Print, and Electronic New Media: Informing an Electorate” (June 8, 2010); and “Democracy in Liberia” with Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (May 26, 2010). More information on all IFES’s events is available here.
Georgetown University’s Center for Democracy and Civil Society (CDACS, United States) published the Spring 2010 Democracy and Society, a special issue dedicated to papers presented at the December 10, 2009, conference on “Demonstrators and Dictators: Sharing Strategies on Repression and Reform” that sought to “explore the new techniques, technologies, and strategies employed by reformers and those seeking to promote and block political reform.” Articles included in the Center’s bi-annual publication include “The New Media Revolution in Egypt: Understanding the Failures of the Past and Looking Towards the Possibilities of the Future” by J. Hunter Price; “Iranian Political Unrest in Cyberspace” by Hervé St-Louis; “Election Violence Monitoring and the Use of New Communication Technologies” by Gabrielle Bardall; “Backlash Against Democracy: The Regulation of Civil Society in Africa” by Jeanne Elone; “New Media in Closed Societies: The Role of Digital Technologies in Burma’s Saffron Revolution” by Laura Mottaz; and “Importing Intimidation: The Spread of Strategies to Restrict and Repress Civil Society in Latin America” by Brandon P. Yoder.
On May 10, 2010, the University of California at Irvine’s Center for the Study of Democracy (United States) held its 6th annual graduate student conference on “Empirical Democratic Theory,” featuring panels on democratic institutions, mobilization, theory, electoral processes, and current issues in democracy. The full-text of the twenty papers presented at the conference is available here.
Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL, United States) published a July 2010 Working Paper on “When Can External Actors Influence Democratization?” by Jakob Tolstrup, in which the author argues that “neither structures, nor actors, can solely determine when external actors matter for democratization.” Tolstrup calls for the development of a synthetic approach that examines how “leverage, the level of linkages, and the decisions of gatekeeper elites iteratively interact and, consequently, continuously influence each other” To explain when external actors are influential. He concludes that it is the interaction between these three variables and between the micro- and macro-levels that determines the degree to which external actors can influence democratization.
In May 2010, CDDRL’s Program on Good Governance and Political Reform in the Arab World held its international inaugural conference on “Political Reform in the Arab World: Problems and Prospects.” The conference featured internationally renowned scholars, activists, and practitioners from the Arab world, Europe, and the United States who analyzed “political reform from different angles, with panels on the economy, state systems, the media, civil society, political opposition, youth politics, and the role of international actors.” A full conference report and many of the meeting’s papers are available here.
In April 2010, CDDRL and the Center for Health Policy at Stanford University held a two-day conference on “Better Governance for Better Health: Harnessing Applied Methods to Advance the Study of the Political Determinants of Health” that brought together political scientists, economists, medical doctors, and health policy experts to examine how governance hinders or improves health in developing countries. A conference report and papers from the meeting’s four panels are available here.
CDDRL also convenes numerous public presentations, including recent events on “The Justice Cascade in Latin America: New Perspectives” featuring Everaldo Lamprea and Adam Rosenblatt; “The Redemption of Democracy in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Role of the United Nations” featuring Mvemba Dizolele; “Character as Destiny: The Shah, and the Roots of the Islamic Revolution in Iran” featuring Abbas Milani; “Stressed by Strife: ASEAN from Pattaya to Preah Vihear” featuring Thitinan Pongsudhirak; and “Assessing the First Two Years of the Ma Ying-jeou Presidency: A Conversation with Dr. Su Chi” featuring Su Chi and Larry Diamond.
In April 2010, the International Forum for Democratic Studies (United States) convened a half-day conference that brought civil society representatives together with academic experts on Kyrgyzstan and comparative constitutional to discuss “The Challenge of Democratic Transition and Constitutional Design in Kyrgyzstan.” Participants assessed the state of the democratic transition in Kyrgyzstan following the uprising against President Kurmanbek Bakiev’s undemocratic regime, and the issues and options in the current debate on a new democratic constitution in Kyrgyzstan. A summary report of the proceedings and its findings is available here.
The International Forum also published the July 2010 Journal of Democracy, which features a trio of articles that explore recent developments in Afghanistan and Iraq and a pair of essays that examine the impact of corruption and the role of regionalism in Ukrainian politics in the wake of the 2010 presidential elections. Other essays featured include a comparative analysis of political attitudes in the Muslim world, an assessment of the state of democracy in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and a look at the recent elections in Chile. Abstracts of articles appearing in the current and past issues of the Journal, as well as the full-text of several articles, are available here.
Finally, several Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows gave public presentations in June and July, including “Democracy in East Asia: An Elephant’s Graveyard?” featuring Benjamin Reilly; “The Black Coat Revolution: How Pakistan’s Lawyers Turned the Tide Against General Musharraf’s Dictatorship” featuring Zahid Ebrahim; “Brutal Censorship: Targeting Journalists in the North Caucasus” featuring Fatima Tlisova; “From Turkmenbashi to the Present: Prospects for Change in Turkmenistan” featuring Farid Tuhbatullin; and “The Promise of Rural Journalism in Guatemala’s Fragile Democracy” featuring Maria Martin. A complete archive of events sponsored by the International Forum is available here. More information about the Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellowship program is available here.
In June 2010, Rights & Democracy (International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development, Canada) published “Bilateral Investment Treaties and Land Reform in Southern Africa” by Luke Eric Peterson and Ross Garland. The paper reviews the special international legal regime that exists to protect cross-border investments, including ownership of land and property, and examines “exactly how this regime may provide enhanced rights for investors and in some cases, could complicate efforts by governments to pursue land reform initiatives designed to remedy historic inequalities” using case studies from Zimbabwe, Namibia, and South Africa.
Rights & Democracy also recently commissioned a “Legal Opinion on the Right to Property from a Human Rights’ Perspective,” written by Christophe Golay and Ioana Cismas. The paper “compiles and comments upon existing instruments and jurisprudence at the international, regional, and national levels” and concludes “that the human right to property has two main components: on one hand it is essential for the protection of human life and dignity, and on the other hand it may be limited in order to resolve social injustices and advance the human rights of specific disadvantaged individuals or groups.”
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