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  • Author: Princeton N. Lyman, Jon Temin, Susan Stigant
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Ongoing negotiations to end the South Sudan crisis cannot simply return the country to the previous status quo. For lasting peace, the negotiating parties and mediators will need to reach beyond national political elites and those bearing arms and invite active involvement of the international community. South Sudan needs to build national cohesion and address fundamental issues of governance, democracy, and human rights. Restarting the stalled constitution-making process presents an opportunity to achieve these objectives. Following negotiations, a broad-based, inclusive, interim government that includes a degree of joint South Sudanese-international community administration and management should govern and ensure preparations for new elections.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Poverty, Power Politics, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: Jean-Christophe Host
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: This Africa Policy Brief will look at the Kenyan elections of March 4th 2013 and examine what lessons can be learned from them. The argument that will be developed throughout this paper is that, although the violence was contained, the elections were not a success, because the drivers of conflict in Kenya remain untouched. The underlying reason being that the informal power of the political class still outweighs all the formal institutions and plans put in place. The ruling elite has acknowledged the drivers of conflict in Kenya for years but has shown very little interest in resolving them, because that could influence the drivers of their power.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Democratization, Governance
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Author: Hans Hoebeke
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Mali, from model of democracy to a deep political, institutional crisis and war in the course of a few months. This policy brief offers an analysis of the Malian conflict looking into the national political dimension as well as the entire region where already present dynamics were reinforced by the Libyan war of 2011. It also looks into the regional and international response mechanisms.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Democratization, Islam, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Africa, Libya, North Africa
  • Publication Date: 02-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: On 4 March Kenyans will vote in highly anticipated elections. These elections will be Kenya's first since widespread violence following the December 2007 presidential election shocked the country and world. The 2007/8 violence lasted two months, during which time 1,133 Kenyans were killed, over 600,000 driven from their homes and more than 110,000 private properties were destroyed. The stakes during the upcoming elections are high and, while not inevitable, there is a serious risk of a recurrence of widespread violence.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Civil Society, Democratization, Human Rights, Human Welfare, Governance
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Puntland is the first of Somalia's federal units to attempt transition from clan-based representation to directly-elected government, but poor preparations and last-minute cancellation of local elections in July underline the challenges of reconciling competing clan interests with a democratic constitution. Cancellation pragmatically averted violence, but societal tensions remain unaddressed. The presidential vote by a clan-selected parliament in January 2014 will thus be fraught. Weak political and judicial institutions will struggle to mediate, risking involvement by partisan arms of the state. Direct elections are no panacea for reducing the conflict risks, but hard-won incremental progress on the constitution and local democratisation must not be abandoned. The cancelled ballot's lessons should be instructive for promised elections in the rest of Somalia. Better technical preparations matter, but Puntland's experience shows that donors and other international actors also need to be heedful of local political realities, including support of elites, robustness of institutions and viability of electoral districts.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Civil Society, Democratization, Development, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Africa, Somalia
  • Author: Danielle Resnick
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: When, why and how has foreign aid facilitated, or hindered, democracy in recipient countries? Focusing on sub-Saharan Africa, this policy brief examines the impact of foreign aid on supporting transitions from one-party to multi-party regimes, preventing democratic breakdown and the erosion of civil liberties, enhancing vertical and horizontal accountability, and enabling competitive political party systems. Particular attention is given to the trade-offs and complementarities between different types of foreign aid, namely democracy assistance and economic development aid. Select policy recommendations are offered to improve aid effectiveness at bolstering democratic trajectories within the region.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Development, Economics, Human Rights, Political Economy, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Mathurin C. Houngnikpo
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: A spate of military coups from 2008 to 2010 in Mauritania, Guinea, Niger, and Madagascar raised the specter of a return to military rule in Africa. While the subsequent resumption of civilian government in Guinea and Niger has reduced these concerns, evidence of military influence in politics remains widespread across the continent. This is prominently in view in Egypt where, in the midst of political transition, the military is attempting to maintain a privileged role for itself despite the widespread demands for genuine democratic reform.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Politics, Armed Forces
  • Political Geography: Africa, Egypt, Guinea, Mauritania
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Although the mayhem following the disputed December 2007 elections seemed an exception, violence has been a com­mon feature of Kenya's politics since the introduction of a multiparty system in 1991. Yet, the number of people killed and displaced following that disputed vote was unprecedented. To provide justice to the victims, combat pervasive political impunity and deter future violence, the International Criminal Court (ICC) brought two cases against six suspects who allegedly bore the greatest responsibility for the post-election violence. These cases have enormous political consequences for both the 2012 elections and the country's stability. During the course of the year, rulings and procedures will inevitably either lower or increase com­munal tensions. If the ICC process is to contribute to the deterrence of future political violence in Kenya, the court and its friends must explain its work and limitations better to the public. Furthermore, Kenya's government must complement that ICC process with a national process aimed at countering impunity and punishing ethnic hate speech and violence.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization, Government, International Law
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Despite marked improvements, numerous grievances that plunged Liberia into bloody wars from 1989 until President Charles Taylor left in August 2003 (originally for exile in Nigeria) remain evident: a polarised society and political system; corruption, nepotism and impunity; a dishevelled security sector; youth unemployment; and gaps and inconsistencies in the electoral law. The November 2011 election was the country's second successful postwar voting exercise but exposed its deep fault lines. The re-elected president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, needs to use her relatively weak mandate to focus on reconciling a divided nation.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Poverty, Natural Resources, Fragile/Failed State, Youth Culture, Governance, Law Enforcement
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Lori-Anne Théroux-Bénoni
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: After the November runoff of the 2010 presidential elections in Côte d'Ivoire, the country's Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) announced that in the preliminary results, Alassane Ouattara, candidate of the Rassemblement des Républicains, had won. The Constitutional Council cancelled the results from several northern electoral areas favourable to Ouattara, however, and declared Laurent Gbagbo, the incumbent president who ran for La Majorité Présidentielle, the winner.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, United Nations, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Dr. Cengi Günay
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: The “January 25 Revolution” was not a classic revolution. President Mubarak's fall did not entail the overthrow of the regime, neither alter the elites or destroy their institutions, nor reverse the social situation. Although power structures and economic patterns were not removed, Mubarak's fall set an end to exclusive authoritarian despotism and initiated a process of power sharing; a so called passive revolution characterised by the absorption of the “enemies' elites” into the system. From this perspective, legalisation has been only a further step in the Islamists' long and rocky road of integration through moderation. Initially based on tactical considerations, shifts in methods and behaviour usually also evoke a shift in emphasis from ideological conceptions to political pragmatism. The absorption of the Islamist elites supported a process of embourgeoisement and de-­â€ ideologization. This did not entail a departure from Islamic tenets, but rather from ideological conceptions which seemed more and more unrealistic in a globalized world. The integration of de-­â€radicalised and moderated socially conservative Islamist groups with market economy and parliamentary democracy promises not only the prevention of political and economic turmoil, but also guarantees the reinforcement of the existing patterns of domination.
  • Topic: Democratization, Islam, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Africa, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who had not been seen in public for several months, was announced on 20 August 2012 by Ethiopian state television. The passing of the man who has been Ethiopia's epicentre for 21 years will have profound national and regional consequences. Meles engineered one-party rule in effect for the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) and his Tigrayan inner circle, with the complicity of other ethnic elites that were co-opted into the ruling alliance, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). The Front promised freedom, democracy and ethnic devolution but is highly centralised, tightly controls the economy and suppresses political, social, ethnic and religious liberties. In recent years, Meles had relied ever more on repression to quell growing dissent. His successor will lead a weaker regime that struggles to manage increasing unrest unless it truly implements ethnic federalism and institutes fundamental governance reform. The international community should seek to influence the transition actively because it has a major interest in the country's stability.
  • Topic: Democratization, Ethnic Conflict, Politics, Social Stratification
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Author: John Campbell
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: As Zimbabwe moves closer to elections, the prospect for political violence, even civil war, grows. President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) are wrangling over a new constitution and the timing of upcoming elections. The eighty-eight-year-old Mugabe is suffering from cancer and wants elections soon to ensure his "liberation" legacy. At the same time, Mugabe-allied military factions, flush with off-the-books cash from Marange diamonds mined in the eastern part of the country, are mobilizing to stay in power when Mugabe dies. Political murder is on the upswing and Zimbabwe is as tense and divided now as it was during the run-up to the violent 2008 elections.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Corruption, Democratization, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, South Africa, Zimbabwe
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The April 2011 general elections – if credible and peaceful – would reverse the degeneration of the franchise since Nigeria returned to civilian rule in 1999, yield more representative and legitimate institutions and restore faith in a democratic trajectory. Anything similar to the 2007 sham, however, could deepen the vulnerability of West Africa's largest country to conflict, further alienate citizens from the political elite and reinforce violent groups' narratives of bad governance and exclusion. Flawed polls, especially if politicians stoke ethnic or religious divides, may ignite already straining fault lines, as losers protest results. Despite encouraging electoral preparations, serious obstacles remain. Many politicians still seem determined to use violence, bribery or rigging to win the spoils of office. In the remaining weeks, national institutions, led by the Independent National Election Commission (INEC), should redouble efforts to secure the poll's integrity, tackle impunity for electoral crimes, increase transparency and bolster safeguards, including by publicising results polling station by polling station and rejecting bogus returns.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Civil Society, Democratization, Human Rights, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Dorina Bekoe
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The political stalemate in Côte d'Ivoire following the November 28, 2010, presidential election continues. The majority of the international community recognizes Alassane Ouattara as the winner, but Laurent Gbagbo, the sitting president, insists he won. Financial and diplomatic sanctions imposed on the Gbagbo administration have thus far not forced Gbagbo from power. Maintaining international pressure and focus is critical to resolving the Ivorian crisis, but African states are increasingly divided on how to proceed. The power-sharing arrangement settled on by five African nations in recent elections sets a dangerous precedent. Losers with a strong militia may find it easier to use threats of violence or actual violence to retain a critical power role, thus subverting the intent of the election. African states will continue to experience violence during elections until the security sector is reformed, states refrain from holding elections while militias remain mobilized and armed, elections can be clearly and independently verified, institutions are politically independent, and policies exist to discourage the violent acquisition of power.
  • Topic: Democratization, Politics, Post Colonialism, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Lars Buur
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Mirroring an international trend, the new Danish development strategy has support to fragile states as one of its five priority areas. In line with this commitment, and as a relative novelty, the development strategy emphasizes the need to take risks and operate in risky environments. This is clearly important, not only for fragile state engagement and post-conflict reconstruction efforts, but for aid delivery more generally. Nonetheless, this also potentially creates a double-bind situation when risk-taking clashes with the consequences of risk-taking, particularly when tax payers' hard-earned revenue is at stake and politicians become nervous about negative media coverage and bureaucrats fear for their careers. In such a situation, risk-taking is politically and bureaucratically fraught. Development aid in general, and aid to fragile states in particular, is indeed a risky business, circumscribed by processes of rent-seeking, corruption, primitive accumulation and political favouritism; besides the more mundane – but no less risky – policy, planning and implementation failures where “white elephants” can easily be nurtured. Fragile states come in many shapes and supporting them requires considerable flexibility, independence, responsiveness, and local and political knowledge in order to seize the moment of golden opportunity.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Humanitarian Aid, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Good governance and free elections are often described as preconditions for growth and poverty alleviation. But recent research tells a different story. Although elections motivate political elites to be responsive to popular demands the effects are ambiguous. This has implications for how donors should support policy initiatives in the productive sectors.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Arthur Boutellis, Guillaume Lacaille
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: As they prepare to discuss the renewal of MONUSCO's mandate six months ahead of general elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the members of the UN Security Council are facing a dilemma. Should they limit the role of MONUSCO to the continued protection of civilians in eastern Congo, as agreed with President Joseph Kabila, or should they expand its mandate in an attempt to enforce democratic principles before the elections at the risk of confronting the incumbent regime? This issue brief argues that MONUSCO should be limited to a technical role in the election—as requested by the Congolese authorities—but only on the condition that the international community reengages President Kabila in a frank political dialogue on long term democratic governance reforms.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Democratization, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Author: Gaelle Bausson
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Six months after the resolution of the post-electoral stand-off in Côte d'Ivoire that followed the contested presidential elections of 28 November 2010, a humanitarian crisis of significant proportions remains. Whilst more than 500,000 have returned to their place of origin since the end of the conflict in April, approximately 450,000 Ivoirians remain displaced inside Côte d'Ivoire and in neighbouring countries, and both groups remain in need of enhanced humanitarian assistance and protection.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Dorina Bekoe
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Nigeria's 2011 general election received high praise for being well-managed. But post-election violence claimed 800 lives over three days in northern Nigeria and displaced 65,000 people, making the elections the most violent in Nigeria's history.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Africa