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  • Author: Emad Drimly, Fares Akram
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: PalThink For Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: GAZA, Hamas parliamentary bloc has recently approved the financial budget for Hamas’ government in the Gaza Strip, officials said on Monday. The Hamas-dominated Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) approved the budget, although other parliamentary blocs, including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement, boycotted the session. The budget for the fiscal year is 428 million U.S. dollars and it applies only in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, excluding the West Bank which is ruled by the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) led by Abbas. Fatah says the PLC sessions have been illegal since June 2007 when Hamas routed pro-Abbas forces and seized control of the coastal strip. The approval of the budget took place as Israel still keeps a tight blockade on Gaza and amid vagueness and controversy over Hamas’ financial resources. In the West Bank, the Western-backed Abbas government goes through fiscal crisis despite financial support from the international community.
  • Topic: Democratization, International Political Economy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Gaza
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: Abstract It appears from his decision to replace Abdelilah Benkirane with Saadeddine Othmani as head of the government that Moroccan King Mohammed VI does not want to deviate from the requirements of the constitution and democratic methods. He is attempting to use his constitutional powers to find an acceptable solution to end the stalemate and form a government. Othmani has succeeded in reaching a tentative agreement to form the government and is likely to succeed in its formation and leadership. However, he will head a heterogeneous government afflicted by many contradictions, which may implode if it falls under excessive pressure. The government would then be in crisis, which it would have to overcome with a cabinet reshuffle to avoid a complete collapse, especially given the strong position of the king who wants the Justice and Development Party to continue leading the government in future.
  • Topic: Democratization, International Affairs, Governance
  • Political Geography: Morocco
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: The Supreme Electoral Council of Turkey has officially announced that the Yes camp has won the constitutional amendments by just over 51 per cent, in contrast to the camp rejecting the amendments which received just over 48 per cent, although these results are not yet final. Surprisingly, an overwhelming majority of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), though its leadership and the majority of its parliamentary bloc supported the amendments, voted ‘no’. The five major cities – Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Adana and Antalya – all voted ‘no’. The Kurdish vote clearly played a very important role in the Yes supporters’ victory. In other words, those who said ‘yes’ to the changes in cities with a significant Kurdish population exceeded the total votes of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the MHP in the recent parliamentary elections. In the external sphere, the referendum’s outcome is not expected to have a direct impact on heated regional issues, particularly in Syria, as well as most regional issues.
  • Topic: Democratization, International Security
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: The Justice and Development Party (AKP) could not possibly have received approval for the proposed constitutional amendments in parliament and needed the Nationalist Movement Party’s support in order to carry out a referendum. A difficult election campaign for the amendments awaits the two opposing parties; however, there is no way to be certain before the announcement of the referendum results. Nevertheless, the most important issue relates to the long-term consequences for the AKP, particularly in terms of its Kurdish base. In terms of ethnicities, the AKP is considered the party of Turks, Kurds, Arabs, Circassians and all other Turkish ethnic groups, while the Nationalist Movement Party has traditionally been committed to the most severe position against the Kurdish Nationalist Movement, including its armed and unarmed wings.
  • Topic: Democratization, Constitution
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: Following the ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, many had high hopes not only for democratization but also for transitional justice to address the myriad abuses that had taken place in the region, both during the uprisings and for decades prior to them. Despite these hopes, most of the transitions in the region have stalled, along with the possibility of transitional justice. This volume is the first to look at this process and brings together leading experts in the fields of human rights and transitional justice, and in the history, politics and justice systems of countries such as Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, Bahrain and Morocco. While these countries have diverse histories, political institutions, and experiences with accountability, most have experienced non-transition, stalled transition, or political manipulation of transitional justice measures, highlighting the limits of such mechanisms. These studies should inform reflection not only on the role of transitional justice in the region, but also on challenges to its operation more generally.
  • Topic: Democratization, Human Rights, Law, Arab Spring
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) is making steady progress on the ground in Raqqa, ISIS’ main stronghold in Syria. The alliance of militias recently announced that they retook 70% of the city from the terrorist group following a successful plan to divide the city into an eastern and western zone and storm the city from both sides. The SDF militants advancing from the eastern and western parts of the city linked up for the first time on August 11 prevent- ing ISIS from reaching the Euphrates River and keeping its fighters with civilians who remain besieged by both groups.
  • Topic: Democratization, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Hari Sastry
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Ambassadors Review
  • Abstract: The world we live in today is more interconnected than ever before—though we may not share soil or language, religion or currency, we are neighbors in this global community. Together, we face challenges that are more complex than any we have ever encountered: violent extremism that threatens our core values of democracy, equality, and freedom; conflicts and natural disasters that devastate and displace; diseases that unroll in waves across entire regions.
  • Topic: Democratization, Globalization, Religion, International Affairs, Freedom of Expression
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Suthan Krishnarajan, Jørgen Møller, Lasse Lykke Rørbæk, Svend-Erik Skaaning
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Varieties of Democracy Institute (V-Dem)
  • Abstract: An influential body of scholarship has associated both democracy and democratization with civil war. Important findings include the so-called inverted U-shaped relationship between democracy-levels and civil war onset and that propensity for democratic openings to spark internal violence. However, most of these findings have been challenged, particularly by scholars pointing to problems with the aggregate nature of the analyses and the data sources used. Against this background, we enlist new, fine-grained data from the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) Project. We discuss how the new data can be used to disaggregate regime variables in order to better understand the causal dynamics that link the regime form and regime change to civil war onset, if any. Guided by these considerations, we use the new data to reassess the ‘inverted U-curve’. Our analysis shows that this relationship is driven by ‘liberal’ aspects of democracy such as freedom of assembly and freedom of speech rather than by the ‘electoral core’ of democracy. The relationship between clean elections and civil war onset is approximately linearly decreasing, and at the indicator level of the clean elections attribute we find several different patterns.
  • Topic: Civil War, Democratization, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Tim Haesebrouck
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Romanian Journal of Political Science
  • Institution: Romanian Academic Society
  • Abstract: What explains democratic participation in United Nations peacekeeping operations? Although the division of the burden of UN peacekeeping operations has attracted a considerable amount of scholarly attention, neither the impact of domestic variables, nor the interaction between the domestic and international determinants of peacekeeping contributions has been systematically analysed. This article aims to fill this gap in academic research. First, insights from research on peacekeeping burden sharing, democratic peace theory and integrated decision models are combined in a multi-causal framework. Subsequently, two-step fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis is used to assess whether this model explains diverging contributions to the 2006 enhancement of the UNIFIL operation. The results of this analysis show that contributions result from a complex interplay between domestic and international conditions. Two combinations of international level conditions allowed for large contributions. In the absence of significant military engagements, military capable states and states with a high level of prior involvement in UNPOs had an incentive to participate. Actual contributions, however, only materialized if such a conductive international context was combined with favourable domestic conditions: only states governed by a left-leaning government that was not constrained by either proximate general elections or a right-leaning parliament with extensive veto powers participated in the operation.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Democratization, Politics, United Nations, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: After two meetings between Turkey’s President Erdogan and Prime Minister Davutoglu in the span of less than a week, Davutoglu announced his resignation as head of government and head of the AKP party on 5 May 2016. This policy brief examines the key points of contention between Erdogan and Davutoglu, the republic’s governmental crisis, the impact of Davutoglu’s resignation on the Justice and Development (AKP) Party and the possibility of constitutional reform that will change the country’s system of governance.
  • Topic: Democratization, Political Power Sharing, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Turkey