Democratic Transition

Forecasting Instability: The Case of the Arab Spring and the Limitations of Socioeconomic Data

All stable countries are alike, but all unstable countries become unstable in their own ways. Not surprisingly, the World Bank’s report on the causes of the Arab Spring noted that standard development indicators failed to predict the outburst of popular anger that catalyzed the unrest and revolutions of 2010 and 2011.

Ukraine Quarterly Digest: April – June 2017

The second quarter of 2017 was rather quiet in Ukraine: good news prevailed over bad. Ukrainians obtained the long-awaited visa-free regime with the most of the EU member states, Kyiv successfully hosted the European song competition Eurovision, and the International Monetary Fund agreed to provide another loan tranche. However, little progress was made in the Donbas negotiations and the peacemaking process, and military crises affected the economy.

Ukraine Four Years after the Euromaidan

It has been four years since the mass protests in Ukraine, which eventually led to regime change, began. People protested against a foreign policy shift to Russia; they were eventually beaten up by the police. As the violence escalated and protesters did not give up, despite sustaining numerous casualties, Yanukovych fled the country, and the regime fell.

Futile Effort, New Maidan, or Neither? October Protests in Kyiv

A new political season has opened. This fact was made abundantly clear to Kyiv residents on October 18, as the police patrol had increased its presence downtown. The reason? Mass protests that started a day earlier near the Ukrainian parliament building.

The Unfinished Business of the 1989 East European Revolutions

Recent developments in Ukraine can be viewed as a third attempt to complete the unfinished business of the 1989 East European revolutions. These revolutions succeeded in Central Europe and the Baltics, but brought mixed results in the Balkans and the former Soviet Republics. Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia remain the only post-Soviet states defying authoritarian tendencies. Dr. Riabchuk examined what could be done to complete the unfinished business of 1989 and strengthen democratic institutions in these former Soviet states.

Mexico's 2018 Presidential Race: What the Past May Tell Us About this Election

It is far too early to offer concrete or foregone conclusions about the upcoming Mexican presidential race. The most important variable to keep in mind, based on the three previous presidential races since 2000, is that elections matter and they do alter the outcome. That was especially the case in 2000, when Vicente Fox defeated the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate, Francisco Labastida, who began with a 10 percent lead in that race.

To Rebuild Democracy: The Premises

​In this first essay, I lay out the premises. Even the most basic ones are not obvious right now. Rage against the party system is so widespread, and so frequently justified, that it is appropriate to mention them again. Other ones are more controversial, but it is indispensable to make them all explicit.

Podcast | Duncan Wood on the Start of the 2018 Mexican Election Cycle

Chance and Opportunities

In an exercise in which I participated in Boston years ago, the teacher who organized the event raised the possibility of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky collaborating. The question he asked the audience was: Will it be "war and punishment” or “crime and peace?" The purpose of the exercise was to force the participants to think “outside the box” and to look for solutions other than the conventional ones in each one’s affairs. These days of earthquakes made me remember that adventure and observe the government in a different way.

Elections 2018: Mexico's Governability is at Stake

Every election year introduces frictions into the Mexican political system that if not resolved appropriately complicate the country’s governability. The perception of voter fraud prevalent in Mexican elections has created an environment of distrust among the various political parties and their supporters.

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