May 2006 - Ten years after the adoption of the Dayton Accords, the awkward, redundant, expensive and often ineffective institutional structure that resulted from that process is largely still in place today. Careful not to give too much power at the federal level to any one ethnic group, the Dayton Accords divested power from the center to local governing bodies. Among other problems, the nearly powerless central government was not granted authority over crucial state interests—such as defense, taxation and the environment—which are necessary for Bosnia and Herzegovina to accede to the European Union.
February 1998 - In May 1998, Hungary's third, free, parliamentary election will be held. Hungary's first free election in 1990 changed the political system, and the former Communists lost. In 1994, Hungarians voted for a change in the government, and the post-Communists won. This year, the major question facing voters is the composition of the next government coalition. To understand the present political situation, it is helpful to analyze the results of the recent public surveys.
Democracy and legitimacy are closely linked. Legitimacy to govern is tested through elections, of course, but the challenge should not end there: throughout their terms, politicians’ legitimacy is linked to their ability to adhere to constitutional and legal constraints. State institutions are similarly held to account. Courts must ensure that remedies are provided to disputing parties and all cases are judged fairly; the legislature must operate according to predetermined rules for adopting laws; ministries must follow their protocols; and all of the branches of government must operate under the checks and balances envisioned by the Constitution. The media, oversight institutions, opposition political parties and NGOs maintain a careful watch on leaders and state institutions to ensure that people with power continue to operate within the law. In a democracy, maintaining legitimacy is as important as the elections themselves.
On November 15, Professor Anatoli Mikhailov, one of the leading personalities fighting for democracy in Belarus, will be awarded the Ion Ratiu Democracy Lecture Award at the Wilson Center. His lecture is entitled, "Democracy as a Challenge". This event is open to the public.