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  • Publication Date: 07-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The Emergency Loya Jirga, or grand national assembly, held from 10 to 21 June 2002 in Kabul was a small but critical step in Afghanistan's political development. It was an opportunity to accord national legitimacy to the peace process begun at Bonn in November 2001 but it produced mixed results. From a narrow perspective, it was a success: representatives from across Afghanistan came together to elect, or rather anoint, a head of state, and the major armed factions kept their hats in the political ring rather than resort to violence. Given the last three decades of war and turmoil, this is significant.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia
  • Publication Date: 05-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The immensity of the task of rebuilding Afghanistan into something resembling a coherent state cannot be over-estimated. Nearly three decades of political instability – including many years of savage warfare, the wholesale destruction of political and physical infrastructure and the inflammation of ethnic divisions – are layered on top of a nation that was among the poorest and weakest governed even in its "golden age" before King Zahir Shah was deposed in 1973. Afghanistan's transition back to a minimum level of political and economic stability will require many small but crucial steps to keep it on course.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Since the 1988 uprising and 1990 election in Burma/Myanmar, foreign governments and international organisations have promoted democratisation as the solution to the country's manifold problems, including ethnic conflict, endemic social instability, and general underdevelopment. Over time, however, as the political stalemate has continued and data on the socioeconomic conditions in the country have improved, there has been a growing recognition that the political crisis is paralleled by a humanitarian crisis that requires more immediate and direct international attention. Donors face a dilemma. On the one hand, the humanitarian imperative raises difficult questions about the sustainability of international strategies based on coercive diplomacy and economic isolation, which have greatly limited international assistance to Myanmar. On the other hand, there is widespread concern that re-engagement, even in the form of limited humanitarian assistance, could undermine the quest for political change and long-term improvements.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Burma, Southeast Asia, Myanmar
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: With the continuing military campaign in Afghanistan, the international community has fundamentally shifted its policies toward Pakistan. The government of President Pervez Musharraf has been repeatedly praised as a key ally in the war against terrorism, and the U.S. alone has indicated that it will offer Pakistan more than one billion dollars in assistance. This briefing explores some of the most important dynamics underpinning the international community's revised approach to Pakistan and suggests that much of the conventional wisdom relies on dangerously faulty assumptions with important implications for future policy and regional security.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, War
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, South Asia
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The Socialist Party's decision on 21 August to nominate Ilir Meta for another term as Prime Minister closed out the longest election in Albania's turbulent post-communist history. Voting for the parliament was held, extraordinarily, in four rounds on 24 June 2001, and 8, 22 and 29 July due to accusations of electoral fraud in various forms. It was, nevertheless, peaceful and produced a decisive victory for the ruling Socialist Party (SP). The Socialists, who have held power since 1997, won 73 seats in the 140-member legislature, against 46 for the Union for Victory (UfV) coalition, led by the Democratic Party (DP). The remaining 21 seats were allocated among five small parties, each of which gained the necessary 2.5 per cent of votes, and two independent candidates who won direct mandates. The results gave the Socialists a sufficient majority to form a new government and, crucially, with the aid of likely allies, to elect a new president in 2002 when the term of the incumbent, Rexhep Meidani, expires. Formation of that government, however, was delayed further weeks until the SP's General Steering Committee gave Meta an overwhelming victory in his bitter personal battle with the party chairman, Fatos Nano, who backed his own man for the prime minister's chair.
  • Topic: Democratization, Nationalism, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Albania
  • Publication Date: 07-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: In the fall of 2000, for the first time of their history, the people of Kosovo are being promised the opportunity to participate in democratic, internationally supervised local elections. The elections offer the people of Kosovo the opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to democracy. They also present the international mission in Kosovo with a test of its resolve to overcome the political and practical problems associated with holding elections in a territory still suffering from the physical and the political scars of war.
  • Topic: Democratization, Human Rights, International Cooperation, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo
  • Publication Date: 05-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The recent crackdown by the Belgrade regime on Serbia's independent media and political activists suggests that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic is more vulnerable than it would appear. Since the Kosovo war ended, Milosevic has proven unable to expand his support base and must struggle with diminishing resources to keep restive constituencies intact. Despite its recognised weakness, the Serbian opposition is capable under certain conditions of removing Milosevic from power and offering better governance. The message of numerous public opinion polls over the past eight moths is that there is an anti-Milosvic majority in Serbia, but that the opposition must work together in coalitions to exploit it.
  • Topic: Democratization, Non-Governmental Organization, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Serbia
  • Publication Date: 03-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Electoral reform is on the agenda this year in Bosnia and Herzegovina. For too long the country has been ruled by leaders who draw support from only one of the three main ethnic groups. These leaders have been unable to co-operate on even the simplest matters, inhibiting the implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA) and forcing the international community to micromanage the country. Electoral reform offers one promising way to allow Bosnians to choose less confrontational leaders, and so start to accept responsibility for their own future.
  • Topic: Democratization, Ethnic Conflict, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Herzegovina, Eastern Europe