Democracy Publications

Pilfering the Peace: The Nexus Between Corruption and Peacebuilding

Jul 12, 2011
How might the best practices of peacebuilding be applied to anti-corruption? Based on interviews with trainers and staff of the Burundi Leadership Training Programme (BLTP) of the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, this article explores possible answers to that question in light of a successful peacebuilding effort. The author also flags ideas for future projects and research at the nexus of the two fields.  more

Central America Trip Report

Security and Trade in Central America

Jul 07, 2011
The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars sponsored a congressional study trip to El Salvador and Guatemala from April 13 through April 18, 2009. It was organized by the Wilson Center on the Hill Program and the Latin American Program at the Wilson Center. The trip focused on two issues that are critical for the United States’ relationships with countries across Central America – security and economic development. more

308. Framing the Gap between International and Local Perspectives on Addressing Organized Crime and Corruption in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Jul 07, 2011
December 2004 - A careful look at the nature of the ongoing discussions about organized crime and corruption in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) between internationals and locals forces the observer to ask why there appears to be such a marked difference between the ways each side describes and understands the problems. The international community (IC) talks about BiH's organized crime and corruption problems in terms of institutional weakness and failure. International approaches separate organized crime and corruption from larger society as illicit, parasitic predators on an otherwise democratic state. In response, the international community conceives aggressive institutional solutions, which appear ineffective and land on deaf ears in the local communities affected by them. Local professionals—opinion makers, legal personnel, and business persons—describe the problems in terms of their connectedness to larger structural issues. They talk about how organized crime and corruption are part of a broader set of social, political and economic circumstances, in which the international community is a part. In the course of interviewing 266 local professionals, I discovered some important characteristics of the shape and scope of this discontinuity. The following is a short discussion about these findings. more

154. Hungary's Upcoming Elections; Political Prospects & The Economic Dimension

Jul 07, 2011
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. more

38. Transition to What? Publics Confront Change in Central and Eastern Europe

Jul 07, 2011
This paper seeks the publics' answer to the question "transition to what?" While public opinion is only one piece of the complex mosaic necessary to understand the changes in the region, the revolutions of 1989 have certainly shown that mass publics cannot be ignored. Based on over thirty national surveys in Central and East Europe commissioned by the United States Information Agency (USIA) over the last three years, the authors examine public beliefs about the role of the individual and the state, the degree of public support for market reform, and attitudes toward ethnic rights as well as assessments of "outsiders." After consideration of each of these dimensions, they present a typology classifying countries based on public attitudes. more

Decentralization and Democratic Governance in Latin America

Jul 07, 2011
This volume explores one of the crucial intersections of political and economic change: how the reform of the central state in the form of policies of decentralization has affected democratic governance in different countries and at different levels of society.The book is a product of a two-year project on decentralization which included both national-level and comparative research. more

306. The End of Postcommunism

Jul 07, 2011
September 2004 - On May 1, 2004, ten countries joined the European Union (EU). On the day of the accession, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary all had Central-Left governments in power. One day later, Leszek Miller, the Polish premier was forced to resign. In June, Czech social democrat Prime Minister, Vladimir Spidla followed suit, and in August, the head of the Center-Left government of Hungary, Peter Medgyessy, was also forced to resign. "Too weak," "lacks energy," "cannot communicate effectively"—these were some of the accusations lodged against them. In spite of the fact that all three leaders where very popular at the beginning of their terms, it appeared that the initial success of their materialist-redistributive politics faded quickly. None of these countries was in bad shape economically—on the contrary, they were experiencing economic booms—yet political observers sensed that there was a crisis in the leadership. This situation had clear ties to EU accession. A national consensus supported the European accession almost everywhere: EU membership seemed logical and would clearly serve the common good. So, once the long-held goal of EU accession was achieved, why did these governments collapse? Was it just coincidence that all three were replaced by much younger prime ministers with very different outlooks from their predecessors? The answers to these questions are directly related to the fact that EU enlargement has brought the region to a new stage in its development, and one in which the former communists need to redefine their political roles. Indeed, this stage could be interpreted as the end of postcommunism. more

152. The 1997 Parliamentary Elections In Poland: How Much DÉJA VU?

Jul 07, 2011
February 1997 - Observers of Polish Politics may feel a strong sense of déja vu. Like the historic election of 1989 which precipitated the collapse of Communist regimes across Eastern Europe, Solidarity emerged victorious from the parliamentary elections of September 1997, a showdown between the former Communists and the Electoral Action Solidarity (AWS). The AWS, a coalition of the trade union "Solidarity" and several minor parties, won decidedly, with 33.8% of the votes and 201 of the 460 seats in the Sejm. The post-Communist Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) finished second with 27.1% of the votes and 164 seats. A distant third was the Freedom Union (UW) party, dominated by the former Solidarity intellectual elite, with 13.4% of the votes and 60 seats. It was followed by the Polish Peasant Party (PSL), the 1993-97 coalition partner of the SLD (7.3% and 27 seats), and the Movement for the Rebirth of Poland, another party with Solidarity roots (5.6% and 6 seats). The remaining two seats were won by the Silesian Germans, exempt from the 5% threshold as a national minority. Among those who didn't clear the threshold was the leftist Labor Union (UP) with 4.7%. more

22. Eastern Europe: Back to the Future?

Jul 07, 2011
Fidelity to traditional values has generated a peculiar approach to politics as such throughout Eastern Europe. The author found in Poland that the criteria people used to judge political excellence, or political leadership, had little to do with programs and performance, and almost everything to do with morals and ethics. Poles tended to judge leaders not by whether they were or were likely to be effective at moving the country in a given direction, but by whether they were good or bad men: decent or indecent, strong or weak, kind or brutal, loyal or disloyal. The author's conclusion was that this moralization of politics made swinstwo--swinishness--the primary category for political condemnation. This paper then analyzes this phenomenon throughout the region as a whole. more

New Voices in the Study of Democracy in Latin America

Jul 07, 2011
This publication contains papers from the two years of a competition which gave grants to PhDs to write papers on democracy. Chapters in this book shift the focus of studies on institutions to questions of efficiency and accountability, examine how democracy functions at subnational levels, and explore how concerns over gender and race affect our understanding of democratic governance. more

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Dialogue

The Future of Higher Education

Mar 26, 2014Apr 02, 2014

Jeff Abernathy and Richard Morrill discuss how colleges and universities are dealing with rapidly rising costs and how the United States can still compete for students in a globalized environment.