Democracy Research News
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
- 2. New Publications and Recent Events by NDRI Members
1. NEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Ilko Kucheriv Democracy Partnership Programme Announces Fellows:
Five professionals at independent democracy and human rights advocacy NGOs and think-tanks from the CIS region have been named recipients of the Ilko Kucheriv Democracy Partnership Programme fellowships, which was set up by the PASOS Foundation to honor Mr. Kucheriv, who led the Democratic Initiatives Foundations, an NDRI member, until his death in 2010. PASOS is partnering with NDRI members the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation (DIF), the Institute of Public Affairs (ISP), and the Institute for Public Affairs (IVO) to offer the fellowship program, which seeks to assist the advancement of democratic practices in transitional democracies. More information about the fellowship can be found here.
Vitali Silitski Supplementary Annual Scholarship at CEU Announced:
The Vitali Silitski supplementary annual scholarship at Central European University (CEU) was established in 2011 in memory of the late Vitali Silitski, who directed NDRI member the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies until his untimely death in June 2011. Belarusian students of any department at CEU are eligible to apply for the scholarship during their year(s) of study. Eligible students should demonstrate academic excellence, a commitment to social activism, and financial need. Students will be asked to submit their application forms along with a CV, which will be reviewed by an appointed selection committee of Belarusian alumni, CEU Alumni Office representatives, and external experts. More information about the scholarship is available here.
IFES Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary:
To celebrate its silver anniversary, IFES is releasing monthly podcasts on current efforts around the world looked at through the lens of 25 years in the field of democracy-promotion. The first podcast focuses on Russia’s latest demonstrations for credible elections following the December 2011 vote for parliament. Irina Zaslavskaya, a native of St. Petersburg who facilitated IFES’ first interaction with Russia’s election commission, talks to IFES about helping empower the first post-Soviet election management bodies and the yearning for dignity before one’s government. More information can be found here.
NDRI Welcomes Two New Members: We are pleased to welcome the following new members of the research network (whose activities are reported in the appropriate geographic sections of this newsletter):
• Centre for the Study of Democratic Citizenship (Canada), brings together a group of scholars from four Québec universities. The Centre includes scholars and students from both Communications and Political Science departments, and brings a cross-disciplinary perspective to bear on the challenges facing democratic citizenship in a rapidly changing world. It is housed at McGill University.
• Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies (United States), a think tank based at the University of Michigan that promotes scholarship to better understand the conditions and policies fostering transformations from authoritarian rule to democracy.
2. New Publications and Recent Events by NDRI Members
The Afrobarometer released a new Working Paper, “Perceptions versus Reality: Assessing Popular Evaluations of Election Quality in Africa,” published in November 2011 by Nicholas N. Kerr. The paper assesses the determinants and validity of citizens’ perceptions of the quality of elections in the context of the 2007 Nigerian poll. The findings underscore the importance of gauging citizens’ perceptions of electoral quality. Most importantly, the results indicate that Nigerians were critical of the quality of the 2007 elections and demand electoral institutions that are impartial and professional.
The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD, Nigeria) published two issues of West Africa Insight, the Centre’s monthly journal. The November 2011 “Transport” issue explores challenges facing the urban poor as cities continue to grow and sheds insight into the failure of government interventions to address transit problems. The January 2012 “Moringa” issue examines the claim that the fruits, roots, and seeds of the Moringa tree can be used to treat ailments such as hypertension and other cardiac diseases, diabetes, hepatitis, obesity, and fungal diseases.
The Ghana Center for Democratic Development released a Briefing Paper, “The Re-Demarcation and Reapportionment of Parliamentary Constituencies in Ghana,” published in October 2011 by Daniel A. Smith. The paper attempts to address questions pertaining to legislative representation in Ghana and reveals the unequal allocation of parliamentary seats across the country with respect to population. The paper concludes by discussing some of the representational and political issues stemming from the Ghanaian electoral commission’s rationale to use administrative districts to allocate parliamentary seats.
The Institute for Democracy in South Africa (IDASA) published a book, Gender Analysis of Zimbabwe’s Global Political Agreement, that provides a gender analysis of Zimbabwe’s Global Political Agreement from the perspective of the participation of women in peace building and conflict resolution. The authors also examine how peace agreements facilitate or hinder gender equality in post-conflict situations. The analysis was developed through a series of meetings convened by the Feminist Institute of Southern Africa (FISA) and the publication is a collaboration of FISA and Idasa’s States in Transition Observatory program.
IDASA, in partnership with the Alliance of Mayors and Municipal Leadership on HIV/AIDS in Africa (AMICAALL) and the East Africa National Networks of AIDS Service Organizations (EANNASO), also held its 3rd Annual Governance and AIDS Forum from November 22–24, 2011, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The Forum showcased empirical evidence on HIV/AIDS resource utilization and institutional effectiveness at the local level based on case studies from West, East, and Southern Africa to inform discussions on the key challenges posed by the disease. Participants at the Forum discussed the importance of local government in delivering basic services, the critical nature of effective resource management at the local level, and the funding realities that global economics portends for the future of sustainable AIDS programming in Africa.
Forum presentations included “Tightening Revenue Collection & Administration: Exploring the Potential for Domestic AIDS Resource Mobilization” by the African Task Administration Forum; “Political Decentralization and Governance of HIV & AIDS Epidemic: Challenges and Opportunities” by John B. Mugiisa; “Identifying the Relationship Between HIV & AIDS and Fragility in Local Government Structures in Namibia” by Naita Hishoono; “Identifying the Relationship Between HIV & AIDS and Fragility in Local Government Structures in Ghana – Study Findings” by Joana N. Guo; “Fiscal Decentralization and its Imperatives for HIV and AIDS Response” by Margaret Jobita; “Telling the Story: Why, How, Then What?,” by Wambui Wamunyu; “HIV and AIDS and Local Governance: Research Overview” by Flory Kessy; “How AIDS Epidemics Can Contribute to Weak Local Governance: The Case of South Africa” by Kondwani Chirambo; and “HIV and AIDS in African Cities” by Mesfin Getahun. The full agenda and numerous presentations made at the Forum can be found here.
IDASA also released a “Madagascar Election Watch,” developed by its States in Transition Observatory program, which measures Madagascar’s electoral environment according to the SADC guidelines governing democratic elections, and a “Madagascar Country Brief,” which analyzes Madagascar’s political environment and appraises its major political parties, civic participation, and economic situation.
The Centre for Democratic Institutions (CDI, Australia) published a new Policy Paper, “National Elections and Women Candidates in the Solomon Islands: Results from the People’s Survey,” by Christine McMurray, which explores data on Solomon Islanders’ perceptions of the role of an elected member of parliament, their experience with elections, and their perceptions of women as leaders. The data are drawn from the People’s Survey, which is conducted annually to inform evaluations of The Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) and to provide feedback to the Solomon Islands government and community.
The CDI conducted its fourth Women in Politics Training Course from November 23–December 1 in Canberra, Australia. The course aims to enhance political leadership and practical campaigning skills, strengthen the understanding of participants of the barriers to women’s political representation in their own countries and regions, develop nationally-specific strategies to overcome these barriers, and create national and regional networks. Details of the event can be found here.
CDI released the January 2012 CDI News, its quarterly newsletter, which contains reports of CDI activities during the final quarter of 2011. Featured articles include “CDI-IPDA Authors Workshop, Electoral Systems, Parties, and Parliaments in Indonesia and the South Pacific: Making the Connections;” “From Accounting to Accountability in the Indonesian Parliament—BAKN Practice Development Workshop;” and “CDI-IPD Workshop, Money Politics in Southeast Asia: Patronage, Clientelism, and Electoral Dynamics.”
The Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT) published “Assessment of the Quality of Democracy in Pakistan 2011,” which notes incremental progress in the country’s democratic prospects over the previous year. The analysis follows an international framework based upon four “pillars” and 15 “sub-pillars” divided under 75 questions. The report found that civil society and popular participation is the strongest element in Pakistan’s democratic development and that representative and accountable government is its biggest weakness. Poor governance, which the report cites as the most potent threat to the quality of democracy in Pakistan, worsened in 2011.
“Civil Military Relations in Pakistan: Effectiveness of Parliamentary Oversight on Defense and National Security in Pakistan,” an Issue Paper by Syed Zafar Ali Shah, a prominent Pakistani politician from the Pakistan Peoples Party, analyzes two recent joint sessions of parliament which featured briefings by the Pakistani military on national security issues and the May 2, 2011, U.S. strike that killed Osama bin Laden. The paper uses the context of these briefings to assess the Pakistani parliament’s quest for oversight on defense issues in the country. “Civil Military Relations in Pakistan: Parliament’s Quest for Oversight on Defense in Pakistan,” an Issue Paper authored by Muhammad Siauddin, a veteran Pakistan journalist, examines the same issue from an outsider’s perspective.
“State of Electoral Reforms in Pakistan: First Quarterly Citizens Monitoring Report on the Implementation of the ECP 5-Year Strategic Plan,” is the most recent report on the Five Year Strategic Plan 2010–2014 announced by the Election Commission of Pakistan in May 2010. It analyzes the effort to make elections in Pakistan free, fair, and transparent, and finds that voter registration, training, and evaluation, and the promotion of information technology in ECP operations have been relatively successful initiatives. Conversely, measures which promote financial autonomy and funding, outreach to the public, political parties, civil society, and the media, and strengthening political parties and candidates have been unsuccessful to date.
“Civil-Military Relations in Pakistan: Comparative Analysis of Election Manifestos,” examines the 2002 and 2008 election platforms of three major Pakistani political parties: the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), and the Charter of Democracy, a document signed in 2006 by former prime ministers Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, former chair of the PPP, and Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, leader of the PML-N. The paper analyzes the efforts of the three parties to establish civilian oversight of the military, their explicit promises to the public, and the development of their platforms since 2002.
The East Asia Institute (EAI, South Korea) published a new Issue Brief, “The Limits of Assertive Behavior: U.S.-China Relations and the South China Sea,” by Stephen Ranger on February 1 as part of its U.S.-China Relations Series. The Brief assesses past and future disputes in the South China Sea involving China, the United States, and neighboring countries, and asserts that China will approach the South China Sea issue in 2012 through a mixture of assertive and conciliatory approaches. It seeks to understand why Beijing recently transitioned from an “assertive” stance to a more restrained or “constructive” one, seeking dialogue rather than heightening tensions, and shows that because of the way Beijing characterizes the dispute and its naval strategy, a more ambiguous approach can be expected when compared to other areas of dispute, such as Taiwan or the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands.
EAI also released two Issue Briefs as part of its MacArthur Asia Security Initiative. “Time for the Strategy of Co-Evolution: How South Korea Can Shape the Future of the Kim Jong-Un Regime,” published on January 5, notes that 2012 is a critical time for North Korea because it proclaimed that this year it will achieve the status of a “strong and prosperous nation,” and that with the death of Kim Jong-Il this immense task now falls upon the shoulders of his young son Kim Jong-Un. The Brief asserts that the most urgent priority for Jong-Un is domestic stability, which means he will have to follow the example of his father, and claims that the North Korean regime must deal with challenges of security, international isolation, and economic hardship with a long-term strategy to guarantee its survival and pursue reforms that meet the norms of twenty-first century civilization.
“After the Busan Forum: Transformation of the International Development Aid Regime,” published on December 31 by Taekyoon Kim, analyzes the 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF-4) held in Busan, South Korea from November 29–December 1. The Brief examines Busan HLF-4 and evaluates whether it accomplished its three stated goals: a paradigm shift in development aid, integration and restoration of the governance function of the international aid regime, and adherence to the slogan of “Inclusive Partnership,” which attempted to encourage the participation of diverse actors in the field of international development at the forum.
EAI’s Asian Security Initiative (ASI) Scholars Program published three recent Issue Briefs. “Weibo and ‘Iron Curtain 2.0’ in China: Who Is Winning the Cat-and-Mouse Game?” published on December 20 by Jongpil Chung, assesses the political impact of the Internet in the context of Chinese state-society relations, evaluates Chinese government censorship of the Internet and Weibo, and examines use of Weibo to gather information, exchange views, and organize protests and rallies.
“From Preponderance of Power to Balance of Power? South Korea in Search of a New North Korea Policy,” published on December 30 by Jihwan Hwang, scrutinizes China’s growing influence in East Asia and its impact on the balance of power on the Korean Peninsula. It claims that as North Korea’s dependence on China increases, the Hermit Kingdom drifts further away from Seoul; as a result, the next South Korean president must formulate a response to the rise of China, which will determine the success of the next South Korean government’s North Korea policy.
“Russia’s ‘Return’ to Asia: How Should South Korea Respond?” published on December 30 by Beom-Shik Shin, addresses the impact of Russia’s reengagement in East Asia—through expanding diplomatic and commercial ties with North Korea—and presents recommendations to South Korea to ensure its economic and physical security in response to the new regional dynamic.
The Sejong Institute (South Korea) published a series of recent Sejong Commentaries focusing on the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il and the ascension of his son, Kim Jong-Un. They address recent declarations of both nations concerning the future of their relationship, Pyongyang’s attempts to solidify the Jong-Un regime, economic conditions inside North Korea, the future of Six Party talks, and the development of the China-North Korea relationship. They include, “New Year’s Address of the Two Koreas and Inter-Korean Relations;” “North Korea’s 2012 Joint New Year’s Editorial and Changes in Policy: Emphasis on ‘Solidifying Kim Jong-Un’s Regime’ in Place of ‘Improving Living Standards;’” “North Korea’s Leadership Transition: The Direction for South Korea’s Policy Toward North Korea;” “An Analysis of North Korea’s Joint New Year’s Editorial: Kim Jong-un’s Legacy Rule for Political Stabilization;” “The Death of Kim Jong-Il and Prospects for North Korea’s Economy;” “The Death of Kim Jong-Il and the Future of the Six-Party Talks;” “The Death of Kim Jong-Il and the Prospect for North Korea-China Relations;” and “The Death of Kim Jong-Il and the Prospect of the Kim Jong-Un Regime.”
The Institute also published four Sejong Commentaries which assessed Pyongyang-Seoul relations before the death of Kim Jong-Il. “Party Politics Farce: A Story About South Korea and the Philippines,” published on December 16 by Kie-Duck Park, examines the historical relationship between Seoul and Manila, compares the political environment in each capital, and outlines the lessons of the 2010 Philippine elections for South Korea.
“Is the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement a Tool for China Containment?,” published on November 15 by Kisoo Kim, analyzes China’s claim that Japan’s bid to join the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP) is an attempt by Japan and the United States to marginalize China. It also examines the global economic strategy of the United States and other economic and finances levers used to pressure China.
“Assessment and Prospect of the 2nd US-DPRK Bilateral Talks: Will the U.S. Revise ‘Strategic Patience’?” published on November 1 by Soon-Bo Moon, evaluates talks between the United States and North Korea held on October 24 in Geneva, Switzerland. It assesses their impact on the future of Six Party talks, future U.S. strategy towards Pyongyang, and the prospect of North Korean denuclearization.
“Sino-Russian Relations: Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s visit to China,” published on October 18 by Eunsook Chung, analyzes the consequences of the Russian prime minister’s November trip to Beijing. It traces the development of the Sino-Russian Strategic Partnership, initiated in 1996, examines Chinese-Russian economic and political cooperation, and assesses the alliance’s impact on South Korea’s security.
The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA, Sri Lanka) issued two new reports. “Land Issues in the Northern Province: Post-War Politics, Policy, and Practices,” published on December 6 by Bhavani Fonseka and Mirak Raheem, critiques and provides alternatives to land and related issues in the post-war Northern Province of Sri Lanka. The report examines the dynamic nature of land in the region, and explores issues such as governance, development, and the role of marginal groups and their relevance to land in the area. It also documents key trends such as militarization, centralization, and politicization, and makes a strong case for reform.
“Freedom of Expression on the Internet in Sri Lanka,” published on November 22, examines digital liberties in the country, and highlights specific cases and practices that restrict freedom of expression on the Internet with respect to regulation, legislation, and arbitrary action. The report proposes national and international advocacy to ensure that the government addresses the issue of reform and adheres to international standards of freedom of expression.
The Access to Information Program (AIP, Bulgaria) created and launched its Public Registers Information system, a web portal that facilitates public access to datasets held by Bulgarian authorities. The portal incorporates the results of a review of 131 laws and more than 150 secondary legal acts related to the creation and maintaining of public registers in Bulgaria, and will inform citizens about how government bodies perform the functions of registering, licensing, and controlling the actions and operations of both citizens and companies.
The Center for Democracy and Human Rights (CEDEM, Montenegro) released its December 2011 Political Public Opinion poll, conducted in 16 municipalities throughout Montenegro. Among its findings are that 47.2 percent of those polled think Montenegro is on the “right path,” 60.5 percent are “very satisfied” or “mostly satisfied” with the current government of Prime Minister Igor Luksic, and that 66 percent of Montenegrins believe the country should join the European Union. The full results of the poll can be found here.
The Center for Liberal–Democratic Studies (CLDS, Serbia) published a new report, “Social Assistance and Activation in Serbia: In Search of Inclusive Policy Options,” by Marina Petrovic, which assesses the impact of the new Law on Social Welfare passed by the Serbian government in April 2011. It presents the findings of a survey on the labor market status, job search activities, and activation potential of social assistance beneficiaries in Serbia, commissioned by the joint program Youth Employment and Migration in Serbia (YEM) in July 2011, to examine the impact of the law on economically marginalized citizens. The survey suggests that the beneficiary group most susceptible to mobilization is Serbians between the ages of 15 and 29, because young people are more likely to return to mainstream formal education or participate in training programs than other age groups.
The Center for Policy Studies (CPS, Hungary) published a new Working Paper, “The Embodiment of (In)Tolerance in Discourses and Practices Addressing Cultural Diversity in Schools in Hungary. The Case of the Roma,” by Zsuzsanna Vidra and Jon Fox. The authors address two issues of major importance to the development of tolerance and diversity in contemporary Hungary: the segregation of Roma children in the educational system and how questions related to the Roma minority are reflected in the content of the educational curriculum. The paper explores how experts and stakeholders view the issues of segregation, integration, and cultural accommodation of the Roma, and how their discourses and justifications relate to the concept of tolerance.
The Center also published a new Policy Research Report, “Dynamics of European Migration. A Comparative Assessment of Croatia, Bulgaria, and Hungary,” by Blagovesta Chonkova, Andras Horvath, and Gorana Misic, in which the authors conduct a quantitative analysis of migration statistics and a qualitative assessment of relevant domestic regulations in Croatia, Bulgaria, and Hungary. It outlines a common analytical narrative to underpin the relationship between migratory trends and regulation, and establishes that a number of asylum applications and illegal border crossings can be meaningfully explained by domestic regulations that are induced by the process of EU integration.
The Centre for the Study of Public Policy (CSPP, United Kingdom) recently published several new issues of its Studies in Public Policy Series. “A Matrix Model Turnout. The 2009 European Parliament Election,” by Richard Rose and Gabriela Borz, introduces a matrix model to account for variations in turnout as a function of the interaction between individual attributes and perceptions and stimuli from political mobilization and government performance.
“Representation in Parliamentary Democracies: The European Parliament as a Deviant Case,” by Richard Rose argues that the European Parliament is a abnormal case of representative democracy because it is a unicameral parliament in which the principle of one European citizen, one vote, one value is explicitly rejected by the application of degressive proportionality in relating seats to national population.
Mathieu Petithomme’s paper, “Designing Low-Cost Campaigns? The Effects of Party Finance on National Parties in European Elections,” empirically compares party finance in European election campaigns in France, Spain, Great Britain, and Ireland between 1994 and 2009. Finally, “Democratizing the Measurement of Democratic Quality: Public Attitude Data and the Evaluation of African Political Regimes,” by Carolyn Logan and Robert Mattes, investigates the degree to which public evaluations can be deployed to also measure the procedural and substantive dimensions of responsiveness within the quality of democracy framework.
The Democratization and Rule of Law Program of FRIDE (La Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior, Spain) published Challenges for European Foreign Policy in 2012. What Kind of Geo-Economic Europe? edited by Ana Martiningui and Richard Youngs. The volume features chapters by FRIDE staff members who address the challenges likely to dominate the EU’s foreign policy agenda in 2012, with geo-economics serving as the unifying thread of these issues. The authors claim that the Euro crisis and shifts in global power require a more assertive focus on immediate economic interests affecting Europe.
FRIDE also released numerous Policy Briefs. These include, “EU Human Rights and Democratization Assistance to Central Asia” by Vera Axyonova; “The Multiple Challenges of Libya’s Reconstruction” by Barah Mikaïl; “The EU’s Approach to Fragility in Guinea Bissau: Between Ambition and Coherence” by Oladiran W. Bello; “Understanding India” by Gauri Khandekar; “What Does 2012 Hold for the Arab-Israeli Conflict?” by Helene Michou; “Militaries, Civilians and Democracy in the Arab World” by Rut Diamint and Barah Mikaïl; “Transition Challenges in the Arab World” by Susanne Gratius, Kristina Kausch, Manuel Manrique, and Barah Mikaïl; “The Role of New Media and Communication Technologies in Arab Transitions” by Manuel Manrique and Barah Mikaïl; and “Pakistan's Crisis: What Role for the EU?” by Clare Castillejo.
The Institute for Development and Social Initiatives (IDIS) “Viitorul” (Moldova) published a report, “Moldova on the EU Visa Liberalization Path: Taking Stock of Achievements and Failures,” by Leonid Litra on February 7. The report is part of “Paving the Road Towards Visa-Free Travel Between the Eastern Partnership Countries and the EU—the Case of Moldova,” a project of PASOS (Policy Association for an Open Society), supported by the Local Government and Public Service Reform Initiative (LGI) of the Open Society Foundations. It examines how recent visa reforms will affect illegal immigration, document security, external relations, and public order and security in Moldova.
The Institute of Public Affairs (ISP, Poland) held a presentation on January 16 to examine the activity of the Polish members (MEPs) of the 7th European Parliament (EP). The participants analyzed the efficacy of MEPs and assessed the use of online tools in their work. The discussion coincided with the release of “Polish Members of the 7th European Parliament: Midterm Report,” which concludes that the active involvement of some MEPs in Polish politics and the dearth of Polish MEPs on important EP committees complicate their impact on European parliamentary decisions.
The Quality of Government Institute (QoG, Sweden) published four Working Papers. “Why Pay Bribes? Collective Action and Anti-Corruption Efforts,” by Monika Bauhr and Naghmeh Nasiritousi, suggests that the effectiveness of current anticorruption policies suffer from a focus on the scale of corruption, instead of the type of corruption. It develops three propositions about the relationship between corruption and institutional trust, and the effects of anticorruption policy: that greed corruption can coexist with high institutional trust, and that it thereby may not follow the expected, and often confirmed, negative relationship between corruption and institutional trust; that greed corruption may not produce civic engagement against corruption; and that increased transparency may not produce the expected benefits in low need corruption contexts, since it can disproportionally alter expectations about the entrenchment of corruption in a society.
“Does Corruption Cause Aid Fatigue? Public Opinion, Sustainable Development, and the Paradox of Aid,” by Monika Bauhr and Maghmeh Nasiritousi, explores the impact of corruption on support for foreign aid and the conditions under which corruption causes aid fatigue. Building on studies of the motives for foreign aid and the social acceptability of corruption, the authors suggest that the relationship between corruption and aid fatigue depends on fundamental beliefs about the role of foreign aid.
Staffan I. Lindberg’s paper, “MPs, Clientelism, and Collective Goods,” indicates that Ghanaian MPs act on implications of accountability and that voters evaluate their political leaders not only on personal and clientelistic goods but also on the provision of small and large-scale collective goods. It asserts that Ghanaians are demanding greater impartiality not only from the bureaucracy, but also from legislators, and that citizens use the electoral mechanism to achieve their goals.
“Taxation and Government Quality: The Size, the Shape, or Just Europe 300 Years Ago?” by Rasmus Broms, analyzes the claim that taxation functions as a booster of state capacity and quality of government in a sub-Saharan context. By using new taxation data, and through multivariate regression analysis, the paper shows that taxation rates—in particular direct and indirect taxation—as a share of GDP seem to be associated with higher levels of quality of government, although this relationship is at times weak.
The Center for the Implementation of Public Policies Promoting Equity and Growth (CIPPEC, Argentina) released two public policy documents written by Lucio Castro and Paula Szenkman, which focus on transportation subsidies in Argentina. Noting that spending on transportation subsidies quadrupled as a percentage of GDP between 2003 and 2010, “El ABC de los subsidios al transporte” (The ABCs of Transportation Subsidies) discusses the costs and benefits of the current system of transportation subsidies in an effort to inform government debate on subsidy reform and develop a policy that better targets services to the poorest sectors of society. “Políticas de transporte de calidad para la equidad: No te subas tan rápido al SUBE” (The Politics of Quality Transportation for Equality: You Won’t Ride as Fast with SUBE) suggests three different policy options for the government as it moves towards a Single Electronic Ticketing System (SUBE) in order to make the public transportation system in Buenos Aires more equitable and efficiently regulated. Both reports can be downloaded from CIPPEC’s website here.
The Center for Opening and Development in Latin America (CADAL, Argentina) held its 2012 Latin American Forum in Punta del Este, Uruguay in January, which focused on Uruguayan president José Mujica’s governing priorities through 2014, and discussed the themes of public security, competitiveness, and government reform. Presentations on each theme were given by Pablo Montaldo, a member of CADAL’s advisory committee, Alvaro Garce, Penitentiary Commissioner for Uruguay’s legislative branch, and S.E. Hans-Ruedi Bortis, the Ambassador of Switzerland to Uruguay. The event received press coverage from several television and radio stations based in Uruguay, and videos of presentations given by the event’s three main speakers are posted on CADAL’s website.
Congresso Visible (CV, Colombia) posted a number of new entries on its Ágora blog that will be of interest to DRN readers. The most recent article entitled “Uribe y Santos: divorcio de un matrimonio tormentoso,” (Uribe and Santos: Divorce from a Stormy Marriage) by Jorge Andrés Hernández discusses the growing differences between current Colombian president Juan Manuel dos Santos, and his predecessor, Alvaro Uribe, whose policy of “democratic security” strengthened the role of the military and paramilitaries in Colombian politics.
The Instituto de Ciencia Política (ICP, Colombia) recently released the January 2012 Perspectiva. The current issue focuses on Brazil and its emergence on the world stage as a global player, and includes articles by Sergio Fausto on the challenges facing Brazil as it considers a role as a regional leader, an interview with former Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso by Gabriel C. Salvia, and, among others, an article by Héctor Ricardo Leis and Eduardo Viola that argues that despite Brazil’s ability to maintain a stable economy during the global recession, the institutions supporting economic growth remain fragile. In addition to articles examining Brazil’s role in the world and in the Western Hemisphere, the January issue includes an article by María Laura Depetris entitled “Road to Irrelevancy? Ten Years after the Signing of the Inter-American Democratic Charter” which reflects on the achievements of the Charter and considers what possible reforms could make it a more effective tool for protecting democracy in the Americas.
On November 24, ICP cohosted an event with Fedesarrollo and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung centered on Colombia’s congressional debate over the “Ley Orgánica de Ordenamiento Territorial: perspectivas de la descentralización y la autonomía territorial” (Organic Law of Territorial Organization: Perspectives on Decentralization and Territorial Autonomy). The purpose of the conference was to generate a national discussion about the potential effects of the reorganization law. ICP executive director Marcela Prieto argued that while the law attempts to provide a legal structure for decentralization, the legislation signals a rethinking of policy by the current dos Santos administration regarding the powers of the central government versus the role of local governments. A report of the event’s debate can be downloaded from ICP’s website.
The State of the Nation Program (Programa Estado de la Nacion, Costa Rica) recently launched the publication of the Seventeenth Annual State of the Nation Report on Sustainable Human Development in Costa Rica. The report provides an annual assessment of Costa Rica’s performance in economic, social, environmental, and political affairs and is divided into four corresponding sections on Equality and Social Integration, Stability and Economic Solvency, Harmony with Nature, and Strengthening Democracy. For this edition, the report also added a fifth special section examining challenges to primary and secondary education in science and technology. The Seventeenth Annual Report, focused on the events of calendar year 2010, determined that although Costa Rica saw some overall economic improvement in the aftermath of the global recession, economic recovery was not distributed evenly across the population; the government’s performance was unable to keep up with demand for social services; and inequality has increased as a result.
Grupo Faro (Ecuador) founder and executive director Orazio Belletini was interviewed in January by the Think Tank Initiative’s “On Think Tanks” blog reflecting on his motivations for establishing Grupo Faro, the organization’s role in influencing public policy in Ecuador, and the challenges in setting up a think tank and determining how to develop an effective organizational agenda. The interview is available on Grupo Faro’s website.
The Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) released two versions of its monthly Peace Index, a joint project of IDI’s Guttman Center and the Evens Program in Mediation and Conflict Resolution at Tel Aviv University. The December 2011 Peace Index explores Israeli attitudes towards “price tag” actions—inflammatory attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinians and the Israel Defense Forces in retaliation for perceived Israeli government appeasement towards the Palestinians—in the West Bank, and asks whether a Jewish majority within the State of Israel is more important than the West Bank remaining in Israeli control. Full results of the Index can be found here.
The November 2011 Peace Index explores Israeli perceptions of the Arab Spring and gauges Israeli opinion of recent Egyptian parliamentary elections, the possibility of peace with Palestinians, and the prospect of a nuclear Iran. Fifty-one percent of those polled believe that Egypt will not abrogate its peace treaty with Israel but expect relations to deteriorate. Sixty-one percent said that Israel should make special efforts to renew negotiations with the Palestinians. Full results can be found here.
IDI also recently published three issues of its monthly Terrorism and Democracy Newsletter. The January 2012 issue features articles on “IDF Issues Administrative Restraining Orders Against Twelve Settlers;” “Supreme Court Rejects Tort Claim Following Targeted Killing Operation;” “HCJ Approves Separation Barrier Route within Jerusalem Municipal Borders;” and “The Israel Security Agency’s Use of Temporary Detention Orders Restricting Judicial Review: An Update.”
The December 2011 issue contains articles on “Supreme Court Approves MAG’s Decision Not to Initiate Criminal Investigations into Operations ‘Rainbow’ and ‘Days of Penitence;’” “Military Court Rules That Palestinian Security Forces Are Not Entitled to POW Status;” “Supreme Court Rejects Claim that Israel Must Serve to Iran an Enforcement Notice Concerning a U.S. Verdict Awarding Compensation to Terror Victims;” and “Hamas Marks 24 Years of Activity and Presents Accumulated Statistics.”
The November 2011 issue features articles on “The IDF Military Court Annual Activity Report—2010;” “District Court Accepts State’s Request for Collateral in ‘Operation Cast Lead’ Tort Claim;” “Jerusalem District Court Rejects State’s Appeal on Combat Action Immunity;” and “Nazareth District Court Rejects Israeli Citizen’s Petition Against Denial of a Passport.” A full archive of Terrorism and Democracy is available here.
The Lebanese Center for Policy Studies (LCPS, Lebanon) launched a new Policy Brief series in November 2011. The goal of the initiative is to address key political, economic, and social issues as well as to provide policy recommendations to a wide audience of decision makers and the public at large. The first Brief, “The Independent Municipal Fund: Reforming the Distributional Criteria,” argues that distributional criteria used to allocate funds across municipalities are in fact increasing inequity among local units, provide no incentives for higher local tax collection, and fail to properly allocate resources. The Brief also claims the criteria have consequently benefited wealthier municipalities at the expense of poorer ones. It argues that the criteria should be altered to include resident population levels, socio-economic needs, and the efficiency of raising local taxes, and that the transfers should be issued on time in order to facilitate planning and investment. Please write to email@example.com for more information about these publications.
In January, the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) released its “Palestinian Public Opinion Poll No. 42,” in which the pollsters found that electoral support for Hamas remains unchanged despite increased public confidence in and appreciation of the organization in the aftermath of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange swap; the Palestinian public opposes a return to peace negotiations with Israel without terms of reference or a settlement freeze; and increased support for a permanent status compromise. Full results of the poll can be found here.
PSR, in partnership with the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, conducted a “Joint Israeli-Palestinian Poll” in December. Results of the poll show increased support for the Clinton permanent settlement framework: 58 percent of Israelis and 50 percent of Palestinians support a permanent settlement package along the Clinton parameters, while 39 percent of Israelis and 49 percent of Palestinians oppose such a settlement. At the same time, both Palestinians and Israelis perceive the other side as opposing such an agreement (61 percent of Palestinians and 53 percent of Israelis). About two thirds on both sides do not believe it is possible to reach a final status settlement given the current environment and see the feasability of the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in the near future. Details of the poll can be found here.
The Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies (BISS) released a December 2011 Polling Memo that highlights the important economic and political trends in Belarus in 2011. Among the most important developments is the formation of a new majority of Belarusians in the political “middle” who are represented neither by the incumbent, nor the opposition. In late 2011, 70 percent of respondents thought it was important to have change in Belarus, while less than 20 percent of respondents felt it was important to maintain the current state of affairs. Two-thirds of respondents said Belarus needs market-oriented reforms. Additionally, 58 percent of respondents said things in Belarus were moving in the “wrong direction,” while “right direction” answers dropped from 54 percent in 2010 to 26 percent in 2011. The complete polling analysis can be downloaded here.
BISS also released its Belarus’ Foreign Policy Index No. 5, which appraises the country’s foreign policy in November and December 2011. The Index discusses recent Eurasian integration, which strengthened the relationship between Belarus and Russia and further isolated Minsk from the rest of Europe. It also analyzes Belarus’s relations with China and Ukraine and developing nations in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and calculates the trajectory of Belarusian foreign policy in 2012.
“Where Do EU Sanctions Lead?,” published by Dzianis Melyantsou on January 25 as part of the BISS Blitz series, discussed the January 23 decision by the Council of the European Union to broaden the criteria for applying personal sanctions against Belarus. It questions the efficacy of sanctions and visa restrictions, and argues that the best way to promote reform, transparency, and human rights in Belarus is to expand cooperation with the country in all sectors.
The Carnegie Moscow Center (Russia) recently published two new books. Russia in 2020: Scenarios for the Future by Maria Lipman and Nikolay Petrov, argues that while Vladimir Putin is unlikely to relinquish power any time soon, the political and economic system he created is incapable of dealing with Russia’s rapidly changing conditions, and crises are likely unavoidable unless Russia changes and modernizes.
In Change or Decay: Russia's Dilemma and the West's Response, by Lilia Shevtsova and Andrew Wood, the authors assert that two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the West has yet to adjust to the post-Soviet reality and Russia has not settled on its relationship with the rest of the world. In a series of lively and candid conversations, the authors analyze how relations are shifting between Russia and the world, and explain how the Russia of Putin and Medvedev emerged from the ashes of the Soviet Union. Finally, the authors predict the trajectory of Russia’s relations with the West.
The Center’s December 2011 Policy Outlook, “The Russian Protests and Putin’s Choices,” by Matthew Rojansky, argues that Putin’s chances of maintaining power in Russia are strong, but claims he will need to accept a more open and competitive electoral process to avoid further alienating those who are sympathetic to the protest movement.
The Center also published a Policy Brief in November 2011, “The North Caucasus: Russia’s Internal Abroad?,” by Alexey Malashenko, that argues that Russia is responsible for many of the problems in the North Caucasus. Among the Brief’s conclusions are that, despite being economically and politically a part of Russia, the region’s internal situation is increasingly regulated by its own local traditions; none of the plenipotentiary presidential representatives in the region have ever had full-fledged control over the local elites; and the situation in Chechnya depends essentially on two people—Putin and Ramzan Kadyrov—and the departure of either from the political stage would have unpredictable consequences for both Chechnya and Russia.
The International Centre for Policy Studies (ICPS, Ukraine) published four versions of its bi- monthly ICPS Newsletter: “Ukraine & Reforms in 2011: An Assessment by ICPS Analysts,” (January 25); “100 Social Innovations from Finland,” (December 6); “Black Sea Region Cooperation Threats and Opportunities: What They Mean for Ukraine,” (November 22); and “Subregional Cooperation with the EU, or How Can Ukraine Not Miss the Integration Boat?,” (November 8). A full archive of the newsletter can be found here.
The Democratic Initiatives Foundation (DI, Ukraine) continues to publish its weekly Focus on Ukraine. Recent topics include “Agreement of Opposition on Joint Actions: A Step Towards Unity or Empty Declarations?” “ PACE Resolution: Sanctions Without Repercussions?” “New Minister of Finance Valeriy Khoroshkovskiy: Premier to Be?” “Ukraine-EU Summit on December 19: They Came, The Spoke, Onward Ho;” and “Parliamentary Elections in Russia: Lessons for Ukraine’s Government and Opposition.” The November 28 issue of Focus on Ukraine will be of interest to DRN readers for its topic, “7th Anniversary of the Orange Revolution: Have We Seen Any Fundamental Changes?” A complete archive of DI’s Focus on Ukraine is available here.
The Applied Research Center at IFES (ARC, United States) published a White Paper, “Breaking the Mold: Understanding Gender and Electoral Violence,” which introduces a groundbreaking framework that furthers the understanding of gendered electoral violence and accounts for commonly-used forms of violence committed by and against women in both the public and private spheres. It suggests improved coordination and learning between development sectors, enhanced pre-election technical assessments and other analytical tools, and long-term projects in support of gender rights, conflict mitigation, and civic education.
IFES also released two Briefs. “Elections and Electoral Processes to Watch in 2012,” published in January 2012 by Michael Svetlk, highlights elections in five countries—Yemen, Russia, Burma, Mexico, and Kenya—that will play a significant role in shaping the health and trajectory of democracy in the coming year. “Kyrgyzstan’s Ground-Breaking Presidential Election,” published in November 2011 by Anthony Clive Bowyer, argues that the historic Kyrgyz presidential election on October 30, 2011, that replaced outgoing interim leader Roza Otunbayeva (who assumed the presidency after the ouster of Kurmanbek Bakiyev in April 2010), not only tested the country’s ability to transfer presidential power peacefully, it also tested its parliamentary system of government—the first in Central Asia.
IFES held an event “Elections Worth Dying For?: Maintaining the Peace During Elections in Africa,” on December 9, 2011, which gathered five prominent election and Africa experts to assess the role of election management bodies in addressing election-related violence, how women and youth are uniquely positioned to mitigate conflict in Africa, the use of technology in preventing the causes of violence, and the coordination of civil society to discourage electoral strife.
Rights & Democracy (International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development, Canada) released its “Human Rights Impact Assessment Guide,” which attempts to measure the gap between the human rights commitments of the state (human rights in principle) and the actual enjoyment of these rights by rights-holders (human rights in practice). The guide allows assessment teams to take stock of the potential positive and negative impacts of a hypothetical investment project on human rights and provides additional reference documents on human rights, examples of research techniques, and relevant websites.
Scholars associated with Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL, United States) published two new articles. “The Return of History,” by Francis Fukuyama in the January/February Foreign Affairs, traces how the rise of liberal democracy through the 20th century led to the growth of the middle class. It cautions that recent economic and social trends—from globalization to the growth of high-tech service economies—threaten the future of the democratic model. With the leftist agenda in retreat, the article calls for a new narrative to guide the future of history.
CDDRL Director Larry Diamond published “China and East Asian Democracy: The Coming Wave,” in the January 2012 Journal of Democracy, in which he argues that any improvement in democratic prospects during this decade will likely emanate from East Asia. He explains that forty percent of East Asian states already are democracies and significant prospects for democratic change exist within the remaining authoritarian regimes. The article discusses the anomaly of Singapore—the most economically developed non-democracy in the history of the world—and cites encouraging economic and political trends in Malaysia, past democratic experiences in Thailand, and the recent opening of Burma as reasons to be optimistic about the potential for democracy in the region. Finally, he also asserts that China is ripe for democratic reform due to rising prosperity, modernization, expanding ties with Taiwan, and the ossified nature of the Chinese Communist Party.
CDDRL’s Poverty and Governance program launched a Policy Brief Series that will summarize the main findings and policy implications of the program’s research projects for dissemination to the academic and policy-making communities. The first Brief in the series, “Changing Relationships Between Police and Society: What Inspiring Experiences in Rio de Janeiro, Medellín and the United States Can Teach Mexico,” discusses innovative policing experiments in the Americas and the policy implications—particularly for Mexico—drawn from these successful programs in Brazil, Colombia, and the United States. The program anticipates that this series will be useful as Mexico and other Latin American countries explore new approaches to solve their development challenges.
In December, CDDRL held three events: a December 1 seminar, “After the Arab Spring: The Current State of the Internet & Democracy Debate” featuring Evegeny Morozov; a December 6 conference, “In the Middle of the Storm: Development and Governance in the Arab World” attended by Tamara Wittes, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs and Mohammad Safadi, Minister of Finance for the Republic of Lebanon; and a December 8 program, “Collecting, Protecting, and Analyzing Human Rights Data” which featured Jeff Klinger. Papers or video of these events and a complete archive of all CDDRL events are available here.
The International Forum for Democratic Studies (United States) published the January 2012 Journal of Democracy, which features four articles on the prospect of democracy in East Asia and China, four essays on Turkey under the AKP, and a cluster of articles that debate electoral systems. The table of contents, as well as full text of three articles is available here.
In cooperation with the University of Florida's Political Science Department, the Forum also published the January 2012 APSA-CD, the newsletter of the Comparative Democratization section of the American Political Science Association. The issue features a lead article, “Turning Points and the Cross -National Diffusion of Popular Protest,” by David Patel and Valerie Bunce, and a cluster of articles on “Subnational Democracy,” as well as a bibliographic listing of new literature on democracy. Full text of the newsletter can be found here.
Finally, three of the Forum’s Reagan-Fascell Democracy fellows recently hosted events: “From Ujamaa to Demokrasia: Reflecting on 50 Years of Independence in Tanzania and the Way Forward,” by Ibrahim Lipumba; “Youth Activism in Russia: Can A New Generation Make a Difference?,” by Timirlan Kurbanov; and “What Is To Be Done With Pseudo-Democracies: The Case of Azerbaijan,” by Hikmet Hadjy-zadeh. A complete archive of Forum events can be found here.
The Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies (United States) held numerous recent events, including the November 15 program, “Setting the Boundaries of Participation in Post-Authoritarian Democracies: Lessons from Post-War Europe” featuring Giovanni Capoccia; a November 9 lecture, “The First Free Post-Soviet Generation: Youth in Russia, Ukraine, and Azerbaijan” by Nadia Diuk; a November 2 presentation, “On Again, Off Again: Freedom of Speech in Russia” featuring by Victor Shenderovich; and the October 26 speech, “The Future of Europe” by Leszek Balcerowicz.
The Centre for the Study of Democratic Citizenship (Canada) recently cosponsored a workshop on “Duty and Choice: Participation and Preferences in Democratic Elections.” The workshop was organized in honor of André Blais. Paper-givers included Christopher Achen, John Aldrich, James Fowler, Don Green, Richard Johnston and Richard Niemi. Papers can be accessed here. Recent speakers at the Centre include Lilach Nir (Hebrew University), Arthur Spirling (Harvard), and Tom van der Meer (Amsterdam).