Democracy

Islamists and Secularists Adjust to Work Together

It is encouraging to watch how Rachid Ghannouchi and Nahdha, the largest and most popular Islamic political party in Tunisia which is now widely expected to come to power again in the next election, have been transforming over time. Recently Ghannouchi astonished the world by declaring that “We will exit political Islam”, meaning that the country would be working to separate religious work from politics. Coming from one who once advocated Sharia law in governance, this change is amazing. Ghannouchi's leadership of remaining flexible, without compromising fundamental values and principles of Islam, has played a major role in helping Tunisia to become a vibrant democracy today, when other countries in the region have failed.

Political Crisis Looms in Nicaragua in Run-Up to Elections

The seventh consecutive nomination of Daniel Ortega as the governing party’s candidate to the presidency in Nicaragua, and the withdrawal from the race of a large part of the opposition, alleging lack of guarantees for genuine elections, has brought about the country’s worst political crisis since the end of the civil war in 1990.

Collective Indifference or Silent Acceptance?

When blogger Rajib Haider was killed in 2013, the outcry was tremendous. But, over the next three years, at least 38 more were added to the list of those murdered, which includes writers, publisher, foreigners, religious minorities and LGBT rights activists. There have been reports about alleged IS involvement, and last week, the security forces launched a drive that resulted in the arrest of 194 'militants'. But the collective outrage over people being murdered seems to have mellowed.

The Environment: Latin America’s Battleground for Human Rights

2015 was the deadliest year on record for the killings of environmental activists around the world, according to a new Global Witness report.

Asia’s Rising Prosperity, Climate Change Taking Toll on Food Security

Asia’s economic growth over the last decade has been relentless, bringing with it a rising population and an influx of people from the countryside to the cities in search of prosperity. These trends are not expected to abate.

Unmet Expectations

Donald Trump’s rise in America, a wave of pro-Brexit and xenophobic sentiment in the UK, mass demonstrations in France and Brazil, a political crisis in South Africa, communal polarisation in India, and religious zealotry coupled with anti-corruption agitation in Pakistan. On the face of it, there’s very little that connects these disparate events. Each appears unique to a country’s history and its contemporary interaction of domestic and global events.

Fences and Walls: A Short-sighted Response to Migration Fears?

European nations from which millions once left to escape hardship and hunger – Greece, Ireland, Italy - are today destinations for others doing the same.

Unfounded Debt Fears Block Economic Recovery

Debt anxieties are not new, often fanned by political competition. But so is a double dip recession due to premature deficit reduction. For example, to seek re-election, President Roosevelt backed down from his New Deal in 1937, promising that “a balanced budget [was] on the way”. In 1938, he slashed government spending, and unemployment shot up to 19 per cent.

Political Contests Must not Push Kenya Over the Precipice Again

Kenyans, and friends of Kenya, are once again hoping that the five-yearly ritual of elections will not take the form of widespread ethnic violence and destruction of property. However, recent intransigent positions over the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) are a cause for apprehension and concern.

Addressing the Land Question

In a developing country such as Bangladesh, where the implementation of democracy still seems a far flung dream as national budgets blur the line between fantasy and expectation, land has come to be the defining issue of the day. It is of little surprise that a third-world country, caught in the throes of frantic industrial development, would have to deal with the issue of land. Add to it the fact that Bangladesh is the most densely populated country in the world and what you basically have is a recipe for development induced disasters. But even taking all of these challenges into account the current state of land rights in the country is appalling. Almost 56 percent of the entire population is functionally landless, getting by either through odd jobs or becoming part of the industrial division of labour. The average size of land holding is a meagre 0.6 hectare. For a country that is yet almost completely dependent on agrarianism as part of its economy, that is a terrible figure.

The Art of Covering Up in Somaliland

Amid the hustle and bustle of downtown Hargeisa, Somaliland’s sun-blasted capital, women in various traditional Islamic modes of dress barter, argue and joke with men—much of it particularly volubly. Somaliland women are far from submissive and docile.

‘Fujimorismo’ Defeated…But Still Powerful

It is finally official: Pedro Pablo Kuczynski won Peru's presidential elections by the thinnest of leads, and Keiko Fujimori once again just barely missed becoming president - although her party holds a solid majority in Congress, which means it will have a strong influence during the next administration.

‘What Can We Do for You?’ Aid Projects Pour Into Myanmar

International aid agencies, big and small, are beating a path to Myanmar, relishing the prospect of launching projects in a nation of 51 million people tentatively emerging from more than five decades of military rule.

Playing Pandu with Politics and Cricket Too

Writing in the British newspaper “Guardian”, columnist Owen Jones gave a succinct reason why politicians in this country are trusted even less than estate agents, a breed that hardly evokes public confidence and respect.

Fear of a Triumph by Keiko Fujimori, the Key to Peru’s Elections

Thousands of Peruvians took to the streets of Lima and other cities to protest the likely triumph in the Sunday Jun. 5 runoff election of Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of former president Alberto Fujimori, who is serving a 25-year sentence for corruption and crimes against humanity.

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