From 1970-2000, "only 13 percent of countries with a very young age structure had fully democratic governments, compared with 83 percent of countries with a mature age structure," says Elizabeth Leahy, who compares age structure to conflict in Nigeria, Ethiopia, Iran, and Pakistan.
A decade has passed since the extraordinary events that led to the collapse of the Leninist regimes of East and Central Europe. The decade has been filled by high expectations, noble dreams of justice and freedom, as well as by frustrations, neuroses, and painful disappointments. Throughout the last ten years of the twentieth century, some countries of East and Central Europe have initiated and consolidated viable democratic practices and institutions. Others have lagged behind and are still quasi-democracies with little prospects to be accepted into the much coveted and often idealized Western "club."
Stemming from a conference held in June 2008, this report provides a spectrum of opinions on the successes and challenges faced by El Salvador's President Mauricio Funes in his first year in office.
October 1997 - Over the course of 1996, economic collapse and prolonged political malfeasance seriously shook the integrity of the Bulgarian body politic. As a result, the government of the "new democratic majority," elected in April 1997, has taken a number of extraordinary measures to recapture the confidence of the population and the international community. Top priorities for the new cabinet of Ivan Kostov have been to attempt to liquidate organized crime, to rebuild the macro-economic and the state institutional frameworks, and to aid the population, which has been battered by economic decay. Public perceptions have made these tasks all the more difficult. The government has had to push for reforms before a population that for years has been exposed to the schemes of many previous "reformers."
63. Decentralization and Regionalization after Communism: Lessons from Administrative and Territorial Reform in Poland and the Czech RepublicJul 07, 2011
While the regional level of authority has gained much attention in recent years in Western Europe, Eastern Europe is still emerging from decades of centralization and homogenization under communism. Several post-communist countries, however, have taken steps toward administrative decentralization and territorial regionalization. This article explores possible reasons for taking these steps and traces the progress of administrative and territorial reform in two post-communist cases: Poland and the Czech Republic. The conclusion considers several implications of these reforms for domestic politics and foreign relations.
A conference was hosted on November 9, 2000 to discuss the implications of regional integration, drawing on the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) as a case study. This volume includes several papers presented at the conference that address MERCOSUR's development, economic and political importance, and efforts to effect a "relaunching" of the common market enterprise.
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.
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.
January 2004 - Over the past decade, international organizations and development NGOs have broadened their efforts to nurture democratic governance from the centers of power in capital cities to local government. Local government is the first tier of public authority that people confront in their everyday lives. Good local governance provides services to diverse populations, facilitates the development of political institutions and cross cutting social networks and fosters economic development. At the same time, effective local government has the capacity to resolve conflicts at an early stage, preventing them from escalating into violence. In this light, the circumstances enhancing the sustainability of post-conflict local democracy command great interest.