-Democracy Research News-September-October 2005
Welcome to Democracy Research News, the quarterly 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.wmd.org/ndri/ndri.html. To submit comments or to inquire about joining the Network, please write to Thomas Skladony ().
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NDRI Washington Workshop: The International Forum for Democratic Studies hosted the second NDRI Washington Workshop for Think-Tank Managers from September 19-23, 2005, in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the workshop was to strengthen NDRI members as institutions and to improve the administrative skills of key staff members. Twelve participants, selected through a competitive application process, spent a full week visiting many of the most important policy-research centers in Washington, including the Brookings Institution, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Heritage Foundation, Woodrow Wilson Center, and others. They met with top administrators responsible for fundraising, budgeting, book publishing, communications and outreach, Web-site development, and networking. Participants in this year's workshop included Ilse Toerien (Institute for Democracy in South Africa), Yanyan Yip (Civic Exchange, Hong Kong), Thawilwadee Bureekul (King Prajadhipok's Institute, Thailand), Rashko Dorosiev (Centre for Liberal Strategies, Bulgaria), Robin Gosejohann (European Stability Initiative, Turkey), Agnes Batory (Center for Policy Studies, Hungary), Emanuel Rauta (Romanian Academic Society), Hana Lyons, (Institute for Public Affairs, Slovakia), Ilko Kucheriv, (Democratic Initiatives Foundation, Ukraine), Alicia Athié Martinez (FUNDAR, Mexico), Hani Hourani, (Al Urdun Al Jadid Research Center, Lebanon), and Olfat Hammad (Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, Palestine).
New Master's Degree Program in Democracy Studies: The Center for Democracy and the Third Sector (CDATS, United States) and Georgetown University's Department of Government announced the creation of a new master's degree program in democracy studies that will begin in fall 2006. The program will address the diverse needs of a growing population working in the field of democracy promotion, with a specific focus on issues of democracy and development, and on improving the quality of democratic life around the world.
NDRI Member Nominated for Prize: Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, director of the Romanian Academic Society (SAR, Romania) was one of six writers nominated as European journalist of the year by European Voice magazine "for providing reliable analysis of Romanian political and economic events, so helping to combat corruption and promote good governance."
The Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) has issued a call for written submissions to two forthcoming edited volumes on democracy and the media. The first will focus on online reporting in Israel; the second will examine the tension between the right to privacy and freedom of the press. Additional details and submission requirements are available 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):
. Lebanese Center for Policy Studies (LCPS, Lebanon), an independent, nonprofit institution, founded in 1989, that conducts research on democratic development and civil society in Lebanon and throughout the Middle East
. Independent Institute of Socio-Economic and Political Studies (Belarus, IISEPS), an independent think tank established in 1992 whose mission is to promote the development of democracy, civil society, and a market economy in Belarus through the study of the socio-economic and political processes of transition, and to promote the values and principles of liberalism
Michael Bratton, one of three codirectors of the Afrobarometer and Wonbin Cho, his colleague at Michigan State University, published Electoral Institutions, Partisan Status, and Political Support: A Natural Experiment from Lesotho," No. 49 in the series of Afrobarometer Working Papers. The 29-page study used survey data to measure mass satisfaction with democracy and public trust in political institutions in Lesotho, where the authors found that the recent transition from a majoritarian to a mixed electoral system has led to increased levels of citizen support for the country's state and regime.
The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD, Nigeria) published "Togo Presidential Elections," a report of the West African Civil Society Forum Observation Mission that monitored Togo's April 24, 2005 elections. The 20-page report analyzed the legal and institutional structures established to promote free, fair, and transparent elections and evaluated the roles of civil society and the media in supporting democracy in Togo.
The Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD) organized public forums in twenty-four of that country's electoral constituencies in the run-up to the 2004 elections at which parliamentary candidates presented their policy platforms and debated current issues. The forums were designed to help the electorate make more informed choices and to encourage candidates to develop issue-based campaigns. In April 2005 the Ghana Center published an 85-page "Report on CDD-Ghana's Candidates' Debate Forum for Aspiring Parliamentary Candidates-2004 General Elections."
The Center also released the results of the Ghana Afrobarometer Round Three Survey in July 2005. The study found that despite popular enthusiasm for politics and democracy, most Ghanaians appear to be poorly informed about public issues: 64 percent of the respondents said they found political events and government actions too complicated to understand. Reducing unemployment and income inequality, and eliminating corrupt practices in business and government topped the list of issues citizens want the government to address. Brief summaries of the research visit are available here and here.
Chris Landsberg, director of the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS, South Africa), and David Kalete of CIVICUS prepared "The Africa Commission: A Critical Assessment," a discussion paper on the March 2005 report of the international Commission for Africa that was launched in 2004 by Tony Blair, British prime minister, to "examine Africa's past, present, and future" and to assess "the situation in Africa and policies towards Africa." That Commission's 400-page report, entitled "Our Common Interests," addressed the question, "What can the rest of the international community do to support successful African development?" Messrs. Landsberg and Kalete published their response to highlight issues that merit additional attention in the African development debate.
"The history of the post-independent African state is that of monumental democratic and developmental failures." So began "A Democratic Developmental State in Africa?" by Omani Edigheji, a 22-page Research Report published by CPS in May 2005. The report serves as a concept paper and develops the research agenda for a new CPS project that will study whether African states can be both democratic and developmental under conditions of globalization.
Steven Friedman, senior research fellow at CPS, and Mark Robinson of the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) wrote "Civil Society, Democratization, and Foreign Aid in Africa." The 58-page paper, published in April 2005 by IDS, summarized the findings of a comparative research project that examined how civil-society organizations in South Africa, Uganda, and Ghana attempted to influence public policy and to increase opportunities for citizen participation in public life. The study also assessed "the impact of foreign aid on the political efficacy and internal governance of civil society organizations to determine the extent to which these attributes are shaped by external support," the authors wrote in their summary of the research.
In June 2005 CPS published a special issue of its journal Policy: Issues and Actors entitled "Trajectories for South Africa: Reflections on the ANC's 2nd National General Council's Discussion Documents." Edited by Omano Edigheji, the special issue included essays by eleven South African scholars who responded to the ruling party's policy papers by contributing their own proposals for fostering democratic development in South Africa.
The Political Information Monitoring Service (PIMS) program at the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (Idasa) released a "Report on Equality Courts,"a 28-page report by Shameela Seedat that examined the functioning of the judicial bodies created to offer legal recourse to victims of discrimination, harassment, and hate speech.
Idasa devoted the March 2005 issue of ePoliticsSA, the PIMS electronic newsletter, to "Debating the Transformation of the Judiciary: Rhetoric and Substance," an analysis of draft legislation then under consideration in South Africa that would transform the country's judicial system.
In partnership with the Institute for Security Studies Organised Crime and Corruption Programme, Idasa has also launched www.whofundswho.org.za, an Internet Web site that its organizers call "a comprehensive resource on the private funding of South African political parties."
The June 2005 issue of Idasa's Democracy in Action newsletter featured articles on judicial reform, budget transparency, active citizenship, and civil society.
2.2 ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
On May 19-20 the Centre for Democratic Institutions (CDI, Australia) convened its forum on Stable and Effective Parliamentary Governance in Vanuatu, at which local parliamentarians, political activists, public servants, and representatives from civil society studied and debated principles of good governance.
The May 2005 issue of CDI News, the Centre's bimonthly newsletter, reported on several recent CDI workshops designed to strengthen parliamentary democracy in the Asia-Pacific region and provided updates on a number of CDI projects, including a forthcoming volume of essays on political parties in the Pacific.
Civic Exchange (Hong Kong) recently published "Views and Proposals on Methods for Selecting the Chief Executive and for Forming the Legislative Council in 2008," a 11-page policy paper responding to a government task-force report on electoral reform. The paper expressed a preference for direct elections with universal suffrage but, acknowledging the impossibility of achieving that in the near term, then developed a detailed set of procedural reforms of the current electoral system that the authors claimed would reduce public cynicism and increase transparency.
The May-August 2005 issue of the Journal of East Asian Studies, edited at the East Asia Institute (EAI, South Korea) and published by Lynne Rienner Publishers, included articles on "Public Diplomacy and North Korea Policy: Diverging Effects of U.S. Messages in the United States and Korea" by Jongryn Mo and Kyu S. Hahn; "Southeast Asia's Hybrid Regimes: When Do Voters Change Them?" by William Case; and "From Technocracy to Aristocracy: The Changing Career Paths of Japanese Politicians" by Christopher Titus North, plus reviews of new books on Korean and Japanese politics.
The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA, Sri Lanka) released the results of its March 2005 "Peace Confidence Index," an opinion poll conducted in twenty-two administrative districts to gauge public confidence in the current peace process in Sri Lanka. The 43-page study also contained a chronology of key national and international developments affecting Sri Lanka from January to March 2005.
The Independent Institute of Socio-Economic and Political Studies (Belarus, IISEPS), the newest NDRI member, was ordered to close its doors and to cease operations by a decision of the Supreme Court of Belarus on April 25, 2005. Instead, the Institute registered as a nongovernmental organization in neighboring Lithuania, and continues its work under the same name with the same mission.
In March and April 2005 IIEPS conducted opinion polls of a select group of policy makers, academic experts, and business people; and in May 2005 the Institute conducted a nationwide public opinion poll. The surveys asked respondents to rank the country's political leadership and institutions on a numerical scale of approval or disapproval, to vote for candidates in hypothetical electoral matchups, and to assess the quality of life in Belarus. The results are summarized in the June 2005 IISEPS News. The issue also includes an essay entitled "The Consolidation of Democratic Forces is a Ground for Optimism" by Alexander Milinkevich and a review essay by Uladzimer Rouda.
The Access to Information Program (AIP, Bulgaria) published its annual report on "Access to Information in Bulgaria 2004." The 77-page document summarized the year's most important developments in right-to-know legislation and included practical recommendations for improving access to public information in Bulgaria.
AIP also publishes an electronic newsletter that reports on current court cases and legal developments involving the public's right to know.
The Centre for Liberal Strategies (CLS, Bulgaria) organized a May 10, 2005 conference to present the results of the CLS Task Force on Organized Crime in Bulgaria, which had worked from October 2004 to February 2005 to document the extent of organized crime, especially as it relates to government branches and agencies.
The Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS, Bulgaria), the Caucasian Institute for Peace, Democracy, and Development (CIPDD, Georgia), and the Institute for Development and Social Initiatives (Moldova) completed a year-long collaborative project whose results were published in an IRIS book entitled Democracy Audit in Bulgaria, Georgia, and Moldova (and available in Bulgarian-English or Romanian-English bilingual editions). The project teams examined the functioning of national parliaments and of municipal governments in the capital cities of each country, then commissioned surveys of citizen's opinions of these institutions according to criteria of accountability, transparency, and good governance.
In cooperation with Freedom House and with the Institute for Democracy, Solidarity, and Civil Society, IRIS has launched a project on "The Process of Decentralization in Macedonia: Prospects for Ethnic Conflict Mitigation, Enhanced Representation, Institutional Efficiency, and Accountability".
The European Stability Initiative (ESI, Germany and Turkey) published "Breaking out of the Balkan Ghetto: Why IPA Should Be Changed" in June 2005, a policy paper recommending that the European Union extend eligibility for pre-accession assistance both to official and potential candidates for EU membership. Providing countries in the Western Balkans the same assistance that was made available to Romania and Bulgaria in the 1990s would accelerate the reform process, increase the EU's influence, and increase stability and prosperity in the Balkans region, the authors asserted.
The Summer 2005 Turkish Policy Quarterly, an ESI partner publication, was a special theme issue entitled "Democracy in the Middle East: Inevitable or Impossible?"
The Center for Policy Studies (CPS, Hungary), Center for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation (University of Warwick), and the European Vice-Presidency of the World Bank organized an April 2005 workshop entitled "Research Bank on the World Bank," whose participants included advanced doctoral students, senior scholars, and World Bank staff.
On June 5-7, 2005 CPS and TIRI, a London-based network-building organization, conducted the second consultation of the Public Integrity Education Network, a joint CPS-TIRI initiative to promote collaboration among more than twenty universities worldwide that offer academic courses on public integrity and corruption control. This year's meeting, hosted by Tsinghua University in Beijing, focused on "the role of law enforcement in implementing anticorruption measures and strengths and weaknesses of existing measurements of corruption."
CPS and TIRI then conducted a two-week academic seminar on "Strategic Corruption Control and Organizational Integrity," which met from July 4 to 15 at the Central European University in Budapest.
A CPS research team will participate in a new project on "The European Future of Turkey and Ukraine" that will analyze policy debates in Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic on the desirability of enlarging the European Union to include Turkey and Ukraine. A special focus of the project will be to assess differences between elite and mass attitudes in the four new EU member states. The project will be coordinated by the Policy Association for an Open Society, a network of research centers in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia that includes several NDRI members, including the Institute for Contemporary Studies (Albania), Center for Policy Studies (Hungary), Institute of Public Affairs (Poland), Strategy Center (Russia), Institute for Public Affairs (Slovakia), and International Centre for Policy Studies (Ukraine).
The Interuniversity Research Centre on Southern Europe (CIRES, Italy), the University of Florence Center of European Excellence, and the Instituto Italiano Scienze Umane cosponsored a conference entitled "Europeanization and Democratization: The Southern European Experience and the Perspective for New Member States of the Enlarged Europe" on June 16-18, 2005 in Florence. The meeting featured panel discussions on general patterns of Europeanization, how Europeanization shaped democratization, and the successful transitions of new EU member states, plus focus sessions on Turkey, Morocco, Serbia and Montenegro, Romania, and Ukraine.
The Institute of Public Affairs (ISP, Poland) published several new studies in its Analyses and Opinions series, including "Schengen Integration as a Challenge to Polish Visa Policy towards Eastern Neighbours" by Piotr Kazmierkiewicz and "New EU Borders: Poland-Ukraine-Belarus: How to Take Advantage of the Experience of Polish/German Trans-Border Cooperation" by Marzenna Guz-Vetter.
The Instituto de Estudos Politicos (IEP, Portugal) convened its thirteenth International Meeting in Political Studies from June 29-July 2, 2005 in Cascais, Portugal, where the theme was "The Trans-Atlantic Relationship in a Global World." Scholars, writers, and government officials from Europe and the United States participated in roundtables and panel discussions of democracy and world politics, the international impact of the U.S. presidential election, the Middle East after the Iraqi election, and the role of think tanks in the promotion of the Lisbon Agenda.
In May 2005 the Romanian Academic Society (SAR) published "The New Government in Office: Performance Assessment after the First Five Months" as the latest in its Policy Warning Report series. The 41-page study assessed the foreign and domestic agendas of President Basescu's government, as well as the possible impact of EU accession on regional disparities in Romania. A final section examined Romania's relations with neighboring Moldova following the former country's accession to NATO.
SAR also organized an international conference on "Europe as a Democracy Promoter" in Mamaia, Romania, July 4-6, 2005. Panel topics included the strengths and weaknesses of EU conditionality, cooperation among international democracy promotion organizations, and case studies of Serbia and Montenegro. Featured speakers and panelists included political leaders from Romania, Macedonia, and the European Parliament, plus NDRI members Marin Lessenski (Institute for Regional and International Studies, Bulgaria) and Gerald Knaus (European Stability Initiative, Germany/Turkey).
The Spring 2005 issue of SAR's biannual Romanian Journal of Political Science, whose theme was "From Democratization to Normal Politics," included essays on public-private partnerships, political elites, party systems and voting behavior in Eastern Europe, and the EU candidacy of the Balkan countries.
Boris Begovic, vice president of the Center for Liberal-Democratic Studies (CLDS, Serbia and Montenegro) wrote "Post-Conflict Reconstruction in Serbia: A Political Economy View," in which he identified problems that plague the Serbian economy, such as rent-seeking, corruption, and the weak rule of law. The brief essay was published by the Center for International Private Enterprise.
In May 2005 the Center for Democracy and Human Rights (CEDEM, Serbia and Montenegro) published an update to its "Political Public Opinion in Montenegro" survey with new data on citizens' confidence in government institutions, politicians, and the media.
The May 2005 issue of the CEDEM newsletter contained an article entitled "Quest for 'International Standards'" by Srdan Darmanovic, the results of recent CEDEM opinion polls, and updates on other Center activities.
The Institute for Public Affairs (IVO, Slovakia) published "Electoral Behavior of Slovak Voters in the First Euro-Elections and Broader Context of EU Membership Perception" by Olga Gyárfásová and Marián Velsic, a report on Slovakia's first elections for the European Parliament, which featured especially low voter turnout. IVO also published "Slovak and Czechs 1994-2004: Rapprochement of View since the 'Velvet Divorce'" (in Slovak) by Zora Bútorová and Olga Gyárfásová.
Eight Iraqi political and civil-society leaders participated in a week-long IVO seminar entitled "Assisting Democracy Building in Iraq." The program, which was supported by the International Republican Institute, included lectures, training sessions, and workshops on democratization, political party building, human rights, and constitutionalism.
The Democratisation and Rule of Law Program of FRIDE (Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior, Spain) and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace have partnered to launch a new Web site entitled "Arab Political Systems: Baseline Information and Reforms." The site includes key facts about the political systems of eight Arab countries (with more to come), plus links to official documents and other Web sites on human rights, politics, governance and transparency, election results, constitutional revisions, and anticorruption activities in the Arab world. The organizers expect to enlarge the site and to update it regularly.
Susanne Gratius, a researcher at the Democratisation and Rule of Law Program, published "Can the OAS Play a Bigger Role in Democracy Promotion?"
On May 26, 2005 the Democratisation and Rule of Law Program convened a forum on "Political Reform in the GCC States" featuring Jill Crystal of Auburn University. In July 2005 FRIDE also published Ms. Crystal's 19-page paper, "Political Reform and the Prospects for Democratic Transition in the Gulf," a review of the past decade's most significant developments in the Gulf Cooperation Council, concluding with recommendations on how to promote democratization in the region.
The Human Rights Centre (United Kingdom) cosponsored "Catalyst 2005: Global Perspectives on Successful Implementation of Human Rights of Women," a May 6, 2005 forum at which leaders of women's rights organizations discussed domestic and international strategies to confront such problems as violence against women, domestic abuse, the poor representation of women in public life, and international trafficking in women.
2.4 MIDDLE EAST
In July 2005 the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies (ICDS, Egypt) published Civil Society and Democratization in the Arab World: Annual Report 2004, a survey of political rights and civil liberties in nineteen Arab countries that also assessed the prospects for democratic change.
To celebrate the second anniversary of the Center's reopening, ICDS convened its second annual Conference on Political and Religious Reform on June 29-30, 2005. More than 100 prominent scholars and political activists participated in the event, which culminated in a final declaration expressing fourteen specific demands and suggestions for greater political liberty.
ICDS also participated in the Independent Egyptian Committee for Monitoring Elections, a consortium of six civil-society organizations that monitored the May 25, 2005 referendum on amending the Egyptian constitution to allow for multicandidate presidential elections. The event produced a five-page report presenting the group's findings and recommendations for making Egyptian elections more free and fair.
The Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) released The Media and Israeli Democracy at a June 15, 2005 book launch event at IDI. The new study (published in Hebrew and forthcoming in English) found that in the past three years, the level of trust that Israeli citizens have in their domestic media has remained steady, while trust in other public institutions has declined. Print and broadcast journalists at the meeting debated media independence and neutrality, and discussed the difficulties of reporting such stories as terror attacks and the then-impending Israeli pullout from Gaza.
IDI also published a Hebrew translation of Hans Kelsen's classic work On the Essence and Value of Democracy. The prolific Austrian-born author, a professor of law and a constitutional-court judge in Germany before fleeing the Nazis, addressed questions of perennial concern to parliamentary democracies in this study originally published in 1929.
"Fighting corruption and improving economic conditions were the top two priorities" for Palestinian voters in the May 5, 2005 local elections, according to an exit poll conducted by the Survey Research Unit of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR). The research also found that 73 percent of voters "support an immediate return to negotiations with Israel."
A June 2005 PSR poll explored citizens' attitudes toward political factions and personalities, including president Mahmoud Abbas, and provided an early estimate of the expected outcome of the next parliamentary elections in Palestine.
PSR also partnered with the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to conduct a "Joint Israeli-Palestinian Public Opinion Poll" in June 2005. The research focused on attitudes in both communities toward the then-forthcoming dismantling of Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip and in parts of the West Bank, and on public expectations for future developments in Palestinian-Israeli relations.
The Lebanese Center for Policy Studies (LCPS, Lebanon) convened ten focus groups in May 2005 in which citizens discussed the coming legislative elections and the main challenges facing the country. An executive summary of the research is available (in Arabic only) here.
LCPS and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung cosponsored a June 2005 conference entitled "The New Media and Socio-Political Change in the Arab World." The event included panel sessions on such topics as the proliferation of new satellite media, media responsibility, and the impact of print and broadcast media on recent political events in Lebanon. The Center will publish papers from this conference in book form later in the year.
The Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) convened an international symposium in Istanbul entitled "Empowering Women in Public Life and Democratic Development in the BMENA Region" on June 20-21, 2005. More than 120 participants from twenty-three countries-representing a wide range of civil-society groups and government agencies-discussed ways to overcome societal norms that isolate and subjugate women, how to empower women without disrupting family relations, and whether positive discrimination is needed to redress past injustices. The final session-entitled simply "The Future"-developed an action agenda for participants and colleagues in their home countries. A 12-page summary report-which noted that "empowering women in public life.has direct influence on the quality and viability of democracy"-is available here.
In April 2005 TESEV published "Quo vadis Cyprus?" by Mensur Akgun, Ayla Gurel, Mete Hatay, and Sylvia Tiryaki, a 66-page working paper that endorsed the plan proposed by Kofi Annan, secretary general of the UN, to establish a new federal entity called the United Cyprus Republic, consisting of Greek and Turkish Cypriot states.
In partnership with the Sociological and Marketing Research Center of Yerevan, Armenia, TESEV also published "Armenian and Turkish Citizens' Mutual Perceptions and Dialogue Project," the 71-page report of a joint project that surveyed citizens in both countries about their historical knowledge of the "Armenian Question"-the killing of large numbers of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey in 1915-and that also attempted to gauge the extent of stereotypes and prejudices that Turks and Armenians hold of each other. Ferhat Kentel and Gevorg Poghosyan directed the project.
2.5 RUSSIA AND THE FORMER SOVIET UNION
Rights & Democracy (International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development, Canada) recently published "Democratic Governance: Challenges and Opportunities for Strengthening Asia-Canada Relations" by Iris Almeida. This 83-page study outlined the major challenges facing large parts of Asia in three key areas: economic development, the protection of human rights, and the development and consolidation of democratic pluralism. The author provided numerous examples of how these challenges are manifested in particular countries, and concluded with specific recommendations for action by Asian and international civil-society organizations and by the Canadian government.
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