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  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Ecuador has been Latin America's most unstable democracy for a decade. Starting with the ousting of President Abdalá Bucaram by Congress and street protests in 1997, weak, temporary governments have been the rule. In 2000, Jamil Mahuad was toppled by a civilian-military coup, and in 2005, protests brought down Lucio Gutiérrez, who had helped oust Mahuad. The government of Rafael Correa of the Alianza País(AP) movement, who took office in January and enjoys record-high approval ratings, is applying "shock therapy" to overwhelm the discredited opposition and pave the way for a constituent assembly (CA) intended to produce "profound, radical and fast change". This triggered one of the sharpest clashes between branches of government since the return to democracy in 1979, including the Electoral Court's firing of 57 opposition members of Congress in March, accompanied by street violence. To restore stability to the troubled country, Correa will need to pay more attention to upholding the rule of law, ensuring a level CA playing field and building consensus for fundamental reforms.
  • Topic: Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: South America
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Haiti's security and stability remain fragile. President René Préval has endorsed national policies for security, police, justice and prison reform, but a weak state and decades, if not centuries, of institutional abandonment, make implementation slow, difficult and uneven. His first real success has been the dismantling of the toughest gangs in Port-au-Prince, but for this to be sustainable a community-friendly Haitian National Police (HNP) needs to be built under the security umbrella provided by the UN peacekeepers (MINUSTAH), infrastructure and economic opportunity must appear in the capital's poor neighbourhoods, and comparable recovery and reconstruction have to be extended across the country.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Haiti
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Nigeria's democracy is in crisis. The April 2007 elections were supposed to move the country to a higher rung on the democratisation ladder, create a more conducive environment to resolve its many internal conflicts and strengthen its credentials as a leading peacemaker, but instead generated serious new problems that may be pushing it further towards the status of a failed state. The declared winner, Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, assumed the presidency on 29 May with less legitimacy than any previously elected president and so with less capacity to moderate and resolve its violent domestic conflicts. He must act urgently to heal wounds, redress electoral injustice and punish the most grievous voting frauds, including those by officials of the agencies directly involved in administering the elections. To salvage his government's legitimacy, he needs to pursue policies of inclusiveness and restraint in relation to the opposition, accept the decisions of the tribunals (including the Supreme Court if need be) reviewing the petitions of defeated candidates, and embark on a vigorous electoral reform program.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Oil and gas are proving as much a burden as a benefit to Central Asia. The three oil and gas producers in the region – Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – are showing signs of the “resource curse” under which energy rich nations fail to thrive or develop distorted, unstable economies. Geography and their history in the Soviet Union have bound them to Russia, through which most of their energy exports must be transported. Moscow is proving to be an unreliable partner for foreign consumers as it has been willing to cut off pipelines to apply commercial or political pressure. Low investment, corruption and gross mismanagement in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan may mean that their supplies run low before they can diversify their links to markets or their economies. Central Asia is likely to see energy create instability within the region; the chances are low that it will be a factor in improving European energy security any time soon.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Soviet Union, Moscow, Turkmenistan
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: South East Maluku (Maluku Tenggara, commonly abbreviated Malra), a district in a remote corner of the Indonesian archipelago, is about to be divided in two, and many residents are worried about the possibility of conflict. Attention by provincial and national officials to latent communal tensions, equitable distribution of development funds and even-handed prosecution of corruption, as well as dissemination by neutral parties of information about the division, would help ensure that all remains peaceful.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Southeast Asia
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Nepal's Maoists have changed their strategy and tactics but not yet their goals. In 1996 they launched a “people's war” to establish a communist republic but ten years later ended it by accepting multiparty democracy; their armed struggle targeted the parliamentary system but they are now working alongside their former enemies, the mainstream parties, in an interim legislature and coalition government. Their commitment to pluralistic politics and society is far from definitive, and their future course will depend on both internal and external factors. While they have signed up to a peaceful, multiparty transition, they continue to hone alternative plans for more revolutionary change.
  • Topic: Communism, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Asia, Nepal
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The debate on Kosovo's future status has reached a crucial point. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has begun to consider elements of a draft resolution to determine the entity's future, which could be put to a vote in the coming weeks. The best way of ensuring regional peace and stability and lifting Kosovo out of an eight-year-long limbo, with a tired, temporary UN administration and an undeveloped, low-growth economy, is a resolution based squarely on the plan of UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari. This would supersede UNSC Resolution 1244 (1999), define Kosovo's internal settlement and minority-protection mechanisms, mandate a new international presence and allow for supervised independence.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, United Nations
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: With peace negotiations due to restart in the southern Sudanese town of Juba on 26 April, the ten-month-old peace process between the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and the Ugandan government still has a chance of ending one of Africa's longest, most brutal conflicts. The present process is more structured and inclusive than previous efforts to end the twenty-year-old conflict, benefits from greater – if still inadequate – external involvement, and has made some significant gains, notably removing most LRA fighters from northern Uganda. And the implementation of the agreement to end Sudan's north-south civil war has reduced both the LRA's and the Ugandan army's room for manoeuvre.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, Sudan
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: After years of political deadlock and continued economic and humanitarian decline, a realistic chance has at last begun to appear in the past few months to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis, by retirement of President Robert Mugabe, a power-sharing transitional government, a new constitution and elections. Both factions of the divided Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) opposition and powerful elements of the Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party support the concept in outline. Although many of his party's leaders are pressing him to retire in twelve months, when his term expires, Mugabe seeks to extend his tenure to 2010 by a constitutional amendment to harmonise presidential and legislative elections in that year. Increased pressure and intervention including from the regional organisation, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and the West, in the run-up to the mid-year parliamentary session, could lead to a new political order, but concessions to ZANU-PF should only be made in exchange for true restoration of democracy.
  • Topic: Development, Humanitarian Aid, Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zimbabwe
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: It has been a year since Hamas formed its government – and what a dismal year it has been. The Islamists thought they could govern without paying an ideological price, Fatah that it could swiftly push them aside and regain power. By imposing sanctions and boycotting the government, the Quartet (U.S., European Union (EU), Russia and UN) and Israel hoped to force Hamas to change or persuade the Palestinians to oust it. Washington promised security and economic aid to encourage Fatah to confront Hamas and help defeat it. The illusions have brought only grief. The 8 February 2007 Saudi-brokered Mecca Agreement between the Palestinian rivals offers the chance of a fresh start: for Hamas and Fatah to restore law and order and rein in militias; for Israelis and Palestinians to establish a comprehensive ceasefire and start a credible peace process; and for the Quartet (or at least those of its members inclined to do so) to adopt a more pragmatic attitude that judges a government of national unity by deeds, not rhetoric. The adjustment will not be comfortable for anyone. But the alternative is much worse.
  • Topic: Development, Government, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel