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  • Author: Enrico Calossi
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Although much progress has been achieved in the last sixty years, the European Union still lacks a unique electoral system and a proper party system. Recently some changes have been proposed or introduced in order to homogenise the national electoral systems of the EP and to strengthen political parties at the EU level. Andrew Duff’s proposal for a transnational party list; the establishment of European political foundations in 2007; the updating of the Statute of the European political parties in 2014; the designation of the Spitzekandidaten by Europarties were all useful attempts. More could be done. National democracies can become sources of inspiration for new proposals. Some suggestions may require new formal regulations. Others are more informal or political, and would give political actors new opportunities on voluntary bases.
  • Topic: Democratization, Political Economy, Regional Cooperation, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-72-9
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Francesco Cavatorta
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The survival of the Moroccan monarchy during the Arab revolts did not come as a surprise. Once the King reclaimed political leadership through the launch of a constitutional reform, the protest movement faded and whatever challenge to the pre-eminence of the monarchy in the political system might have existed ended quickly. A number of different and interlinked explanations have been advanced for the survival of authoritarianism in Morocco, but they generally rehash conventional wisdoms about Moroccan politics that may not be as valid as they were in the past. This paper looks beyond such traditional explanations, focusing on less obvious factors that contributed to the survival of the monarchy. A more sophisticated explanation for the survival of the regime can serve as a more insightful guide to what Morocco might look like in the future and what are the challenges and opportunities ahead.
  • Topic: Democratization, Governance, Authoritarianism, Popular Revolt, Reform
  • Political Geography: North Africa
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-67-5
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Maryam Ben Salem
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Tunisia is the only Arab Spring country which has succeeded so far in its democratic transition. Now that all the democratic institutions have been put in place, and after the legislative and presidential elections of 2014, the chances of democratic consolidation remain to be seen. Yet the regime faces serious challenges that cast doubt on its survival capacity. The political dynamics at play after the 2014 elections, which allowed Nidaa Tounes to come to power, cannot be understood without taking into account the conditions surrounding the political transition itself. The National Dialogue, hosted by the Quartet who were recently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, is key to understanding the ongoing process of democracy consolidation. Taking into account both contingent and structural factors, this paper analyses how the current context is likely to shape the choices of the presidency of the Republic and of the Essid government, as well as the implications in terms of their legitimacy.
  • Topic: Democratization, Islam, Regime Change, Popular Revolt
  • Political Geography: North Africa
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-65-1
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Zoltan Barany
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Burma’s upcoming elections will be a test of how much the country’s political scene has changed since the generals’ tentative liberalisation programme began five years ago. The National League for Democracy, led by democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, is likely to win big. Still, it may not get the two-thirds of the parliamentary seats open for competition that it needs to form a government. If it does not, it ought to blame itself, for the NLD has been unwilling to enter into coalitions either with much-respected civic organisations or with the increasingly vocal and well-organised ethnic parties. At the same time, the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party has led a smart campaign just short of breaking the electoral laws. Both the USDP and ethnic parties might do better than expected and cost the NLD – dominated and controlled by Suu Kyi – a crucial opportunity to advance democracy.
  • Topic: Democratization, Ethnic Conflict, Political Economy, Authoritarianism, Reform
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-63-7
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Neera Chandhoke
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The current elections, which gave to the BJP a majority in Parliament, have brought back the one-party dominant system that was once used to describe the hegemony of the Congress party, and the lack of an opposition. The "new" one-party dominant system is however dramatically different from the original one. The BJP unlike the Congress is a cadre based party and subscribes to a distinct ideology. It is also headed by the powerful figure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose image looms larger than the party and his colleagues. India will witness a qualitatively different style of governance in the next five years.
  • Topic: Democratization, Power Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: India, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Mohammed Hashas
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Compared to Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, Morocco's political development looks like an oasis of tranquillity. "Moroccan exceptionalism" is often drawn on as a positive status, the result of at least one decade of reforms implemented by the monarchy, long before the Arab Spring events. An alternative view is offered by some civil society movements inside the country and by the 20 February Movement, born amidst the waves of the Arab Spring, which are critical of this exceptionalism and call for more reforms. By making reference to the constitutional reforms undertaken by the country since 1908 and by assessing the most recent reform efforts, this paper argues that "Moroccan exceptionalism" is yet to go through the test of the implementation of what is often referred to as a "promising constitution" that should in its intentions pave the way for a genuine constitutional monarchy in Morocco. "Moroccan exceptionalism," as the paper concludes, is not the description of a "final" political situation; rather, it is merely "a phase" in the political life of a country undergoing transition. It is then the outcome of this "phase" that will determine whether "exceptionalism" takes on a positive or a negative meaning and whether the two contrasting narratives about "exceptionalism" can ultimately be reconciled.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Political Economy, Reform
  • Political Geography: Libya, North Africa, Ethiopia, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia
  • Author: Ebru Oğurlu
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Over the last few years, the Eastern Mediterranean has been increasingly fraught with growing competition between regional players, most notably Turkey, Cyprus, and Israel, signalling an apparent return of power politics in regional relations. Of all actors involved, Turkey stands out for being both an ever more influential power and a source of serious concern to other countries in the region due to its greater assertiveness and perceived hegemonic ambitions. Against the backdrop of recent regional developments and their international implications, including the dispute over drilling rights off Cyprus' coasts, Turkey's image as a constructive and dialogue-oriented country, a critical achievement pursued by a generation of Turkish politicians, diplomats and officials, risks being replaced by one of an antagonistic/assertive power. Facing the first serious challenge to its claim to embody a benign model as a secular Muslim democracy and a responsible international actor, Turkey should not indulge in emotional reactions. It should opt instead for a more moderate and balanced approach based on the assumption that only cooperation and constructive dialogue, even with rival countries, can help it realize its ambition of being the regional pivot.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Democratization, Development, Islam, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Israel, Greece, Asia, Colombia, Cyprus
  • Author: Fabienne Zwagemakers
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Through the inclusion of human rights and democracy clauses in the trade and association agreements of its common external trade policy, the European Union seeks to promote and transmit the values of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law globally. However, trade partners from the developing world often feel that these clauses offend their national sovereignty, and sometimes resort to alternative agreements offered by countries notorious for cutting corners. This working paper offers an assessment of the motives for non-compliance and sketches out how the EU could engender compliance. The paper concludes that there is a pivotal role to be played by education, civil society, business, and political parties in the nexus between economic growth, democracy, and the respect for human rights. The EU must target these factors directly, as they largely determine the domestic enforcement of HR clauses. In addition, the EU should develop a human rights strategy coordinated with global, regional, and local actors.
  • Topic: Democratization, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe, India, Sri Lanka
  • Author: Daniela Huber
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: For the last two decades, the EU has sent mixed signals concerning democracy and human rights to its Mediterranean neighbourhood. Has this changed since the outbreak of the Arab Spring? After observing the EU's response to the revolutions in two key countries, Tunisia and Egypt, this paper finds that signalling to Tunisia has become more coherent, while it remains ambiguous towards Egypt - a trend reinforced by US foreign policy in the region. In order to send a coherent message, the EU has to outline more concretely, what are the benchmarks and rewards for progress. For signalling to be effective, bilateral and multilateral dialogues are key. While bilateral dialogue platforms do exist, they should meet more frequently and at the highest levels. A multilateral dimension is conspicuously missing in the array of instruments set up by the EU in response to the Arab Spring, but would be crucial not only in order to understand the different democracy languages spoken, but notably also to anchor reform and set regional standards for it.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Democratization, Human Rights, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Europe, Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Anar Valiyev
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: As Azerbaijan celebrates its 20th anniversary of independence, democratic development remains a key challenge facing the country. Despite the fact that Azerbaijan successfully coped with immediate problems such as poverty reduction and economic and political stability, the need to reform the public administration and decentralize governance has become particularly urgent. The main problems, however, remain the same: low public trust in institutions, the absence of a democratic political culture and the lack of bridging social capital. In this regard, the assistance of the Transatlantic Community is necessary. The European Union and the United States should pursue a developmental approach to democracy promotion in Azerbaijan, which has higher chances to succeed than a more explicitly political approach, considering the weak institutional capacity in the country.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Economics, Poverty, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Azerbaijan