Journal of Democracy, Volume 23, Number 3, July 2012

jorunal democracyArticles
The Transformation of the Arab World
Olivier Roy pp. 5-18
Abstract (summary)
The demonstrators referred to no Middle Eastern geopolitical conflicts, burned no U.S. or Israeli flags, offered no chants in favor of the main (that is to say, Islamist) opposition parties, and expressed no wish for the establishment of an Islamic state or the implementation of shari'a. [...]despite the Western media's frantic quest to put a face on events by talking up some of the protests' astonishingly young and modern spokespersons, the demonstrators produced no charismatic leaders. [...]the Arab Spring belied the "Arab predicament": It simply would not follow the script which holds that the centrality of the Arab-Israeli conflict is fostering an ever-growing Islamization within Arab societies, a search for charismatic leaders, and an
identification with supranational causes.
Implosion, Atrophy, or Revolution?
Lilia Shevtsova pp. 19-32
Abstract (summary)
 [...]recently, the Kremlin's constant clampdowns and discrediting campaigns prevented the opposition from gaining strength. At both the elite and popular levels, the country is replete with powerful rent-seeking groups that benefit from the existing system and can be expected to fight for it. [...]the postcommunist elites have built a system that deliberately lacks constitutional and political means for resolving conflicts and deadlocks.
An Autopsy of Managed Democracy
Ivan Krastev, Stephen Holmes pp. 33-45
Abstract (summary)
 [...]we are only now, for the first time, able to look inside the political mystery of managed democracy and explain how it actually worked. Surveys show that even as a cadre of diehards is still regularly taking to the streets to protest the regime, the number of those who tell pollsters that they are ready to protest has precipitously declined.) In any case, in order to coax voters to the ballot boxes, Putin was forced to confess that his power was endangered by an internal threat.
The Strange Alliance of Democrats and Nationalists
Nicu Popescu pp. 46-54
Abstract (summary)
In 2011, Prime Minister Putin laid flowers on the grave of a Russian football fan whose death after a brawl with some men from the North Caucasus sparked nationalist riots near the Kremlin walls. According to official figures, Russia's population fell from 148 million in 1992 to 142 million in 2010.
The Protesters and The Public
Denis Volkov pp. 55-62
Abstract (summary)
Yet there were warning signs, including internal conflict in Russia's political system and growing civic activism. Since the global economic crisis began to hit Russia in 2008, Russians have had a growing sense of uncertainty about the future, coupled with a feeling that the country is moving in the wrong direction. Authorities tend to ignore problems until citizens' frustrations spill over into (not necessarily peaceful) protest, at which point officials adopt some mixture of repression plus halfhearted measures to redress grievances, hoping that unrest will subside and the public mood will improve. [...]protest is a given, even if saying exactly where, when, and
how the next one will break out is difficult in a partly closed society such as Russia's, where civic problems and social stresses are not openly discussed.
Can There Be a Color Revolution?
Sharon L. Wolchik pp. 63-70
Abstract (summary)
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The development, implementation, and diffusion of this model involved transnational networks of both domestic actors (the political opposition and civil society activists) and international democracy supporters (the governments of the United States and several European countries, the EU, and numerous private foundations). The basic elements of the model included 1) a more united political opposition committed to supporting a common candidate; 2) energetic campaigns by civil society groups to register voters, get out the vote, and inform citizens about issues and their rights; 3) the development of some form of independent media or plans to counteract the state's monopoly on communication; 4) pressure on incumbents to make the
electoral playing field more level by increasing opposition representation on electoral
commissions and allowing the deployment of domestic and international election observers; 5) the use of exit polls and parallel vote counts; and 6) when incumbents refused to vacate office, mass protests and demonstrations.5 Typically, the model also included innovative campaign activities by opposition candidates and parties, such as bus and bicycle tours, marches, meetings with citizens, and door-to-door canvassing in order to reach previously apathetic or alienated voters, especially those outside the capital.
Turkey and Thailand: Unlikely Twins
Duncan McCargo, Ayşe Zarakol pp. 71-79
Abstract (summary)
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[...]they are unlike Western states in that they had to adapt quickly to an international system whose rules they had little part in shaping. [...]despite the absence of formal colonization, both the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Siam had experiences with European intrusion that might fairly be called highly traumatic. 3 As a result, in both countries there emerged, first within the monarchy and then within the newly Westernized military-bureaucratic establishment, a reformist outlook that doggedly equated independence with state-led modernization and national cohesion-a cohesion that, given the heterogeneity of both societies at the turn of the twentieth century, could not be passively assumed but had to be aggressively
achieved. [...]after brief experiments with insular foreign policies, both countries moved squarely into the Western camp, following state-led but nonsocialist development strategies throughout the twentieth century.
African Elections: Two Divergent Trends
Kennedy Ochieng’ Opalo pp. 80-93
Abstract (summary)
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According to Biya, he won the October 9 voting by a landslide of 78 percent. 1 Fraud charges were widespread.2 These two elections are symptomatic of the divergent trends that are now affecting the prospects of democratic consolidation in Africa. [...]the findings do not seem to apply much beyond Africa, and authoritarianism has thus far defied electoral competition in Africa, so closer study is needed to determine what mechanisms (if any) might make repeated elections a source of democratization.4 To pursue this inquiry, it will be helpful to analyze both
broader trend data and particular case studies. [...]it will be important to examine emerging trends in democratization (or authoritarian reversion) in Africa, with special attention to the manner in which ruling parties have dominated national legislatures over the last twenty years and stopped opposition parties from gaining footholds in these bodies.
Oil, Politics, and Ghana’s Democracy
E. Gyimah-Boadi, H. Kwasi Prempeh pp. 94-108
Abstract (summary)
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Ghana is not new to resource wealth. Since the early colonial period, it has depended heavily on proceeds from the export of gold and other minerals, timber, and cocoa beans. Ghana's pre- oil record of exceptional democratic progress is widely acknowledged. Since democratic government was restored in 1993, the country has held five free and fair elections and twice transferred power peacefully from one party to the other (in 2001 and 2009).
The DRC’s Crumbling Legitimacy
Mvemba Phezo Dizolele, Pascal Kalume Kambale pp. 109-120
Abstract (summary)
 [...]for both the Congolese government and the international community, the stakes were high. From compilation centers across the country came reports of improprieties-including threats to exclude ballots that had been torn or that came from polling stations that been burned down, as well as rumors of more ballots being flown in from abroad. [...]counting took place as opposition charges of massive fraud echoed through local and international media.
Senegal: What Will Turnover Bring?
Catherine Lena Kelly pp. 121-131
Abstract (summary)
 [...]the country's regime would be better described as competitive authoritarian-democratic rules exist, but "incumbents violate those rules so often and to such an extent . . . that the regime fails to meet conventional minimum standards for democracy. Wade also distributed ample patronage in order to tilt the playing field in favor of the ruling party, reviving old packable institutions, such as the Economic and Social Council (in February 2008) and the Senate (in January 2007), and filling their salaried posts with PDS allies. [...]by using his access to the state to pay monthly salaries, dispense diplomatic passports, and grant government employment to politicians who joined the PDS's ruling coalition, Wade chipped away at
opposition unity.
How Things Went Wrong
Jacques Rupnik pp. 132-137
Abstract (summary)
The suspicion is well founded, for the new basic law and its enabling acts have turned what are supposed to be politically neutral bodies such as the Constitutional Court, the Central Bank, and the offices of the Ombudsman and the Public Prosecutor into arms of the ruling party. [...]Orbán and his lieutenants have downgraded or done away with the checks and balances that are widely considered essential for the rule of law.
Disabling the Constitution
Miklós Bánkuti, Gábor Halmai, Kim Lane Scheppele pp. 138-146 |
Abstract (summary)
The Constitutional Court, before it could be packed with a working majority of new judges, struck down this tax as unconstitutional.4 Parliament responded by amending the constitution to take away the Court's power over fiscal matters.5 Now the Court can no longer review for constitutionality any laws about budgets or taxes unless those laws affect rights that are hard to infringe with budget measures (rights to life, dignity, data privacy, thought, conscience, religion, and citizenship). There are numerous other troubling aspects of this new constitutional order: the gerrymandering of election districts, which makes it hard for any other party to win
an election in the foreseeable future; the removal of the statute of limitations for crimes committed during the Soviet period, which opens the door to selective prosecution of the political opposition; an unwisely large number of "cardinal" laws (that is, laws requiring a two- thirds vote in parliament) that fix details of state policy on issues such as taxes, pensions, and family protection; the troubling constitutional preamble, which gives constituent power to ethnic Hungarians both at home and abroad while leaving out all other citizens; the references to the historic constitution, which invite (among other things) revisiting the 1920 Treaty of
Trianon (which set Hungary's borders after the Habsburg Empire was defeated in the First World War); the sudden deregistration of more than three-hundred churches that had operated in Hungary for years; and incursions on the independence of the Hungarian Central Bank.
Can Outsiders Help?
Erin K. Jenne, Cas Mudde  pp. 147-155
Abstract (summary)
Yet a number of factors hamstring outsiders' ability to persuade Fidesz to reverse its illiberal policies. Because Fidesz came to power through free and fair elections and Orbán is not a radical right-wing ideologue like the late Jörg Haider in Austria, the EU has had difficulty framing a valid legal argument against the Fidesz leadership. Orbán has consistently claimed democratic legitimacy, while noting the lack of democratic accountability in the EU and IMF.\n Thus foreign support for the opposition would risk discrediting the movement altogether. [...]even if the opposition succeeded in taking back the government in the next elections, Fidesz has achieved a grip over the country's public institutions so tight that it will likely require more than a mere
change in political leadership to unclench it.
The Surprising Success of Multiparty Presidentialism
Carlos Pereira, Marcus André Melo pp. 156-170
Abstract (summary)
Indonesia has been stable as a multiparty presidential regime since the fall of Suharto's authoritarian New Order and the transition to democracy in 1999. Since 2004, the governing coalition there has consisted of five parties with seats in congress plus eighteen supporting but unseated parties.3 The unexpected stability of multiparty presidential regimes demands further research. [...]will this tendency not become all the more worrisome when such executives enjoy only weak support from parties and face fragmented legislatures? [...]constitutional-design experts viewed strong presidencies as terrible things to introduce into multiparty systems. 6 In
the 1980s, comparativists went part of the way toward correcting this bias.