1. News and Announcements

Call for Applications for Summer School on “Political Parties in New Democracies”: The Center for the Study of Democracy (ZDEMO, Germany) is accepting applications for a Ph.D. summer school on “Political Parties in New Democracies.” The program, which runs from September 7 to September 13, 2014, and which will be hosted by ZDEMO at Leuphana University Lüneburg in Germany, is part of the European Consortium for Political Research. The program brings together leading senior academics and promising Ph.D. students with a research focus on political parties in a number of regions. A detailed academic and social program including information about funding and application forms is available on the ZDEMO’s website: http://www.leuphana.de/ecpr-summer-school. The deadline for applications is May 22, 2014. Successful candidates will be informed by the end of May.

Israel Democracy Institute Appoints New President: The Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) has appointed Yohanan Plesner as the successor to former IDI President Arye Carmon. The UK-born Plesner has experience as a consultant to major financial firms, in the software industry, and in government as Head of Special Projects in the Prime Minister’s Office under Ariel Sharon. A Member of the Knesset from 2007 through 2013, Plesner will resign from the Kadima party-list as well as from the Kadima party in keeping with IDI’s commitment to nonpartisanship. A March 19, 2014, press release on Plesner’s appointment can be found here.

IFES Launches Center for Applied Research and Learning: The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES, U.S.) recently launched a new Center for Applied Research and Learning. The Center’s work will combine academic approaches with practitioner perspectives, emphasizing real-world applications of research and international standards in democracy and governance assistance. Its areas of research will include electoral dispute resolution, electoral leadership, electoral integrity, political rights of indigenous populations, abuse of administrative resources, electoral violence, and technology in electoral administration. Video Interview with Lilia Shevtsova: “Russia Rewrites the Rules”: The International Forum for Democratic Studies (IFDS, U.S.) recently released a new Democracy Ideas interview with Lilia Shevtsova, chair of the Russian Domestic Politics and Political Institutions program at the Carnegie Moscow Center. In the interview, entitled “Russia Rewrites the Rules,” Shevtsova discusses Russia’s political transformation under President Vladimir Putin, the emergence of Russia’s new, illiberal political narrative, and how Russia’s foreign policy serves a domestic agenda. The full interview can be found here. Past interviews can also be found by visiting http://www.ned.org/research/democracy-ideas.

Call for Applications: 2014-2015 Hurford Youth Fellowship Program: The World Movement for Democracy is accepting applications for the 2014-2015 Hurford Youth Fellowship program in Washington, D.C. During their four-month fellowships, fellows will have the opportunity to build their leadership skills and benefit from and contribute to, the development of the World Youth Movement for Democracy. All fellows are in residence at the World Movement Secretariat at the National Endowment for Democracy. Youth leaders up to the age of thirty with a demonstrated interest in the advancement of democracy are welcome to apply. More information and application deadlines can be found here, and online application forms can be found here. The deadline for applications is May 23, 2014.

2. New Publications and Recent Events by NDRI Members

Africa In January 2014, Afrobarometer published two Working Papers. The first, entitled “Another Resource Curse? The Impact of Remittances on Political Participation” by Kim Yi Dionne, Kris L. Inman, and Gabriella R. Montinola, studies the impact of international remittances on the political level. By analyzing data from 27,713 individuals across twenty sub-Saharan African countries, the authors find that recipients of remittances are less likely to vote but more likely to contact government officials or join demonstrations. The second Working Paper published by Afrobarometer in 2014, “Social Desirability Bias and Reported Vote Preferences in African Surveys” by Elizabeth Carlson, uses a combination of experiment and survey data to test the reliability of surveys as measurements of voter preferences. The paper finds that many voters intentionally hide their ethnic voting tendencies, estimating that 15 percent of voters must do so in order to account for differences in the data. Afrobarometer has also published eight Briefing Papers thus far in 2014: “Zambia’s Economic Performance: A More Positive Verdict from Zambians” by Fison Mujenja; “Examining Government and Public Officials’ Accountability and Responsiveness” by Lena Thompson; “Chieftainship (Bogosi) Endures Despite Democratic Consolidation in Botswana” by Mpho Molomo; “Ghanaian Evaluations of Economic and Living Conditions in 2012” by Daniel Armah-Attoh, Robert Pwazaga, and Edward Ampratwum; “Basotho’s Difficulties Accessing Household Services from the Government” by Lipholo Makhetha; “Support for Democracy in Lesotho” by Lipholo Makhetha and Libuseng Malephane; “Are Malawian Adults Turning Pink? Exploring Public Opinion on Women’s Political Leadership” by Tiyesere Mercy Jamali; and “Examining the Relevance of Political Parties in Malawi” by Joseph J. Chunga. The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA, Kenya) published “Property Rights Regime in Kenya: Implications for Small Businesses” by David Owiro on February 18, 2014. The paper uses survey data from 125 small businesses in Nairobi to ascertain the challenges small business owners face in navigating the country’s property rights regime. It finds that trading-license requirements in Kenya are vague and contradictory, that many businesses continue to operate informally, and that many business owners are unaware of their rights as tenants. The author then makes recommendations for correcting these flaws, including increasing business owners’ awareness of legal rights and requirements and enforcing the use of licensed agents to rent property. The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD, Nigeria) convened two meetings in early 2014. During the second meeting of the Nigeria Political Party Discussion Series (NPPDS) on Party Funding, a conference sponsored by the International Republican Institute and held in Apo, Abuja, participants agreed that a stronger regulatory framework was needed to punish political parties found violating the electoral spending limit, that parties should be required to open their account books to citizens, and that an electoral commission should be established to scrutinize electoral offenses by private citizens. The group also debated the role of public funding in elections, with some arguing that this would increase electoral fairness while others believed it would make parties less accountable to the members that fund them. CDD Nigeria also held a Planning Meeting on the Crises of Democracy in West Africa, organized around the theme “Preventing Unconstitutional Change in Government: A Role for State and Non-State Actors.” Noting that West Africa has a troubled history of unconstitutional changes in government, the meeting was held to develop a research agenda promoting the establishment of durable democracy in the region. To this end, those present drafted a literature review on unconstitutional changes of government in West Africa, established a list of trends driving these changes, and identified possible gaps in the literature to which they could contribute. The group then settled on next steps, including commissioning three studies, drafting a policy brief, and leveraging those materials toward a future project proposal. The Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE, South Africa) released a new report in December 2013 entitled “Growth in a Time of Uncertainty: Does South Africa Have a Growth Plan?” Noting that economic growth is the best and fastest way to eliminate poverty, the report summarizes South Africa’s competing approaches to promoting growth. It finds that all three major government planning documents stress employment as the country’s main economic challenge. The report emphasizes the need for South African officials to produce an “agreed growth strategy” and to tackle “tough challenges” facing the implementation of any growth strategy, including the promotion of labor-intensive industry and an improved urbanization policy. The Democracy in Africa Research Unit (DARU, South Africa) recently released four working papers. The first, “The Implications of Social Context Partisan Homogeneity for Voting Behavior: Survey Evidence from South Africa,” was written by Collette Schulz Herzenberg in December 2013. The paper used data from the South African National Election Study to describe “the increase in the partisan heterogeneity of South Africans’ information networks between 2004 and 2009 and their implications for reducing partisan loyalty and increasing voter defection.” The second paper, “Political Budget Cycles and Intergovernmental Transfers in a Dominant Party Framework: Empirical Evidence from South Africa,” was published in March 2014 by Verena Kroth. The paper employs a panel dataset comprising South Africa’s nine provinces over the period 1995-2010 “to test the theory of context-conditional political budget cycles in South Africa’s dominant party framework” and demonstrates that provinces where the nationally dominant ANC faces greater electoral competition receive higher per capita transfers in the year before an election. In another paper, “Why CDFs in Africa?: Representation vs. Constituency Service,” published March 2014, authors Joel Barkan and Robert Mattes use data from both Afrobarometer and the African Legislatures Project to demonstrate that constituency development funds (CDFs) are established in African countries where people have been conditioned by single member district electoral systems to expect MPs to pay attention to local, rather than national, issues. While most MPs interpret these “localist orientations” as a demand for personal favors and development projects, most citizens actually want MPs to concentrate on listening to them and representing their interests in the national legislature. Finally, in “Youth and Democratic Citizenship in Post-Apartheid South Africa,” published in March 2014, Robert Mattes and Samantha Richmond respond to “periodic ‘moral panics’” among South African political analysts about the apparent ‘crisis’ of the youth and its corrosive effect on the country’s political culture. The paper reviews a wide range of longitudinal survey data spanning the first two decades of South African democracy and finds that there are a series of real problems with South Africa’s political culture, particularly in the area of citizenship. At the same time, the data clearly show that these problems are largely not peculiar to young people. Across a range of different indicators, Mattes and Richmond find consistently that there are no, or relatively minor, age profiles to most dimensions of South African political culture. The Institute for Security Studies (ISS, South Africa) released Conflict and the Post-2015 Development Agenda: Perspectives from South Africa on February 28, 2014. This collection of essays examines how South Africa can contribute to the stability and prosperity of the African continent in the post-2015 era. The collected works include “Peaceful and Stable Societies as a Prerequisite for Development in Africa,” by the Institute for Global Dialogue; “Conflict and Insecurity in South Africa: Causes and Responses” and “How Violence Against Women and Girls Affects South Africa, and How the Post-2015 Framework Can Help Address the Issue” by the Southern African Liaison Office; “South Africa’s Efforts to Build Peace and Wider Foreign Policy,” by the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes; and “Transnational Factors Affecting Security and Development in South Africa,” by ISS. The South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) released two issues of its Fast Facts newsletter. The first issue, published in January 2014, examines trends in South African politics relating to voter apathy and perceptions, protests within South Africa, and South Africa’s ranking in international indices. The second issue, published in February 2014, features a number of items examining the quality of South Africa’s education system.

Asia and the Pacific In December 2013, the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research (Malaysia) released a public opinion survey that found a significant decline in the Prime Minister’s overall approval rating among peninsular Malaysians. The survey, conducted after a September 2013 reduction in fuel subsidies, revealed a 52 percent approval rating for the Prime Minister, down from a 62 percent in August 2013. In one of the more striking findings, the survey demonstrated that a record level of Malaysians, 67 percent, believe that the state of the economy is the most important issue confronting the country. Other findings of the survey touched upon perceptions toward the government, general economic sentiments, and approval/disapproval of the overall direction of Malaysia. The Jinnah Institute (Pakistan) recently held the Delhi Dialogue III on March 13 and 14 in New Delhi, India. This ongoing initiative of the Jinnah Institute and the Center for Dialogue and Reconciliation aims to bring together policy experts, academics, and former military officials and diplomats to discuss a number of outstanding issues between India and Pakistan. Over the course of two days, participants discussed upcoming elections in India and expressed hope that a stalled dialogue process with Pakistan would be revived by the new Indian government. In addition, the Pakistani delegation stressed that a “cross-party consensus” on improving relations with India exists in Pakistan and that this presents an opportunity for both parties to advance dialogue. In a unanimously approved joint resolution, the Pakistani and Indian delegations declared that New Delhi and Islamabad must continue to press forward on outstanding issues such as Kashmir, terrorism, and improving trade and travel around the Line of Control. The Jinnah Institute also released “Negotiating with the TTP,” which was featured as part of its “Second Opinion” series. The Institute asked three policy experts for their perspectives on Islamabad’s security strategy, particularly at the end of a month-long cease fire with Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The first expert, Dr. Khalida Ghaus of the Social Policy and Development Centre, stressed that an incremental and inclusive approach would be most successful in uniting all stakeholders. Moeed Yusuf, South Asia Advisor at USIP, stated that it is necessary for the Pakistani state to engage with insurgents but that it should be careful not to accommodate them and in effect legitimize the actions of violent non-state actors. Finally, Huma Yusuf, a columnist for DAWN, voiced her concern about how various processes in Pakistan are allowing the TTP to establish itself as a legitimate political actor. Such a development effectively diminishes the TTP’s status as a terrorist organization, which can cause greater societal confusion over “the source of militancy in Pakistan.” The Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT) released three publications related to the ongoing Pakistan-Afghanistan Parliamentarians’ Dialogue sessions. The first, “Joint Strategy to Control Militancy & Pak-Afghan Conflict Resolution Post-2014,” is a background paper that was prepared for the Pakistan-Afghanistan Parliamentarians’ Dialogue–XI that recently took place in Kabul in December 2013. Authored by Professor Ijaz Khan of Peshawar University, the paper evaluates the challenges of insurgency, extremism, and terrorism in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Despite facing similar challenges, negative perceptions between both countries abound and the level of trust is low. In an effort to chart a new path and clear misperceptions, this paper addresses current issues in both countries and ultimately argues for a regional approach that contains regional competition until concrete policies for stronger bilateral relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan emerge. In its second report, “Pace and Progress of Pakistan-Afghanistan Official Dialogue,” PILDAT measured significant milestones in Afghanistan-Pakistan relations from September 2013 to December 2013. This report, also prepared in advance of the Pakistan-Afghanistan Parliamentarians’ Dialogue–XI, included mention of several high-level meetings between the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, and the President of Afghanistan, Mr. Hamid Karzai. In addition, the report references certain areas of progress in bilateral relations, such as both countries’ long-term commitment to stability and peace in the region. PILDAT’s third publication, a progress report titled “Implementation Status on Recommendations from the Pakistan-Afghanistan Parliamentarians Dialogues since 2011,” examines the state of affairs between Pakistan and Afghanistan’s parliamentary leaders and is meant to provide important background information to those MPs joining the Dialogue. The report examines the progress made on over 31 recommendations since 2011 and includes a brief description of concrete measures that have been taken on those recommendations that have been acted upon. The recommendations cover a number of issues ranging from enhancing people-to-people exchange and improving coordination on counter-terrorism operations. The report also contains appendices which includes a number of Joint Statements made at previous Dialogue sessions since 2011. All three of PILDAT’s recent publications are available in Pashto and Dari. The East Asia Institute (EAI, South Korea) released two publications. The first, a Working Paper of the MacArthur Asia Security Initiative entitled “Roles of Middle Power in East Asia: A Korean Perspective” was authored by Professor Songbae Kim of Seoul National University and examines South Korea’s role as an important middle power capable of using its unique position to enhance its strategies in the region. In this Working Paper, Kim attempts to create a theoretical framework that would help account for South Korea’s overall diplomatic strategy as a middle power. The paper is comprised of three sections, with the first section examining the meaning of South Korea’s position within its existing network. The second section includes a focus on three ideas—structural holes, positional power, and translation strategies—to help understand the “roles of middle powers in a dynamic sense.” Finally, the third section includes empirical cases from northeast Asian regional politics. The Working Paper concludes by listing some of South Korea’s existing “middle power diplomacy” opportunities in the region. Released in February 2014, EAI’s second publication, “Prospects for North Korea 2014: Hermeneutic Interpretation of the New Year’s Address,” presents an analysis of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s New Year’s address to the North Korean people. Authored by Young Sun-Ha, chairman of the East Asia Institute, the paper argues that North Korea’s New Year’s addresses are “far from mere propaganda statements,” and in fact serve to convey deep meaning. Sun-Ha argues that a hermeneutic method known as the “fusion of horizons” should be employed to garner a deeper understanding of these addresses, and notes that the “discourse structure” has remained remarkably constant for many years. In employing this discourse structure to the 2014 New Year’s address, Sun-Ha’s method of analysis demonstrates that the North Korean regime is likely to continue its current course on domestic, regional, and international affairs. The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA, Sri Lanka) recently issued a “Statement on Arbitrary Detention of Human Rights Defenders,” which calls for the immediate release of three human rights defenders arrested and detained under the provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). In the statement, CPA maintains the innocence of the three human rights defenders in question and believes the Sri Lankan government should either repeal or amend the PTA to “bring its provisions in line with Sri Lanka’s own constitutional standards.” Moreover, CPA argues that the continued enforcement of the PTA threatens to derail peace efforts and that the government is ultimately responsible for guaranteeing the human rights of all citizens irrespective of ethnicity, religion, or political belief. The statement is also available in Tamil and Sinhala. CPA also issued a critique in anticipation of the release of the Department of Census and Statistics’ “Census on Human and Property Damages Due to Conflict – 2013” report. Iromi Perera, Head of Social Indicators at CPA, offered a brief assessment on the government report, which included final figures on deaths and disappearances during the war in Sri Lanka. Perera stated that there are several issues people should keep in mind when reviewing the figures released by the government report, owing to the sensitive and militarized environment surrounding those individuals who were questioned by government officials in the northern and eastern parts of the country. The report’s methodology y has also criticized for inadvertently excluding some families from the survey. Finally, CPA issued a second critique on the Sri Lankan government’s progress report on the implementation of recommendations from the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC). Luwie Ganeshathasan, a researcher with the Legal and Constitutional Unit at CPA, points out that the national action plan that was drafted in 2012 to help carry out the LLRC’s recommendations has not been wholly successful in achieving its objectives. In addition, other recommendations that were added to this action plan in July 2013 did not include specifics on the implementation process, key performance indicators, or mention timelines. Another area of concern is that of the government’s understanding of the LLRC recommendations, one of which is the appointment of institutions that are independent of executive control. Ganeshathasan, nonetheless, states that the LLRC offers an “important starting point for post-war reconciliation” in Sri Lanka. King Prajadhipok’s Institute (KPI, Thailand) has organized a series of “Public Deliberative Forums on Thailand’s Future,” which are meant to enhance public participation, strengthen mutual understanding, and construct a more democratic culture. The deliberative forums consist of two groups of participants: the first group is comprised of a random selection of voting-age citizens, and the second group includes representatives of youth groups, local government politicians, and NGOs. At the forums, participants debate their vision for Thailand and their role in promoting positive change in the country. KPI hopes to encourage this concept of deliberative democracy to the Thai government to help foster greater awareness of public participation and conflict management techniques. Additional deliberative forums will take place in various Thai provinces in the near future. For more information, please contact Thawilwadee Bureekul at beebureekul@hotmail.com.

Europe The Access to Information Program (AIP, Bulgaria) published its 2014 Active Transparency Index, which measures access to information in all bodies of the executive and municipal branches, public-law bodies obligated to provide information, entities financed by Bulgaria’s public budget, and regional governors and local government bodies. The Index ranks the openness of these institutions using a set of over fifty indicators. The results based on these indicators and the entities measured, as well as a transparency map, are available here. Ivan Krastev, chairman of the board of the Centre for Liberal Strategies (CLS, Bulgaria) published “Russian Revisionism: Putin's Plan For Overturning the European Order” in the March 2014 Foreign Affairs. In the article, Krastev argues that “Russia’s willingness to violate Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty is the gravest challenge to the European order in over half a century” and that its invasion of the country raises questions about Western security guarantees made to Ukraine after it gave up its nuclear weapons in 1994. He also argues that Russia’s aggression was not an “opportunistic power grab,” but an attempt to politically, culturally, and militarily resist the West. Finally, Krastev warns that it will be difficult to counter Putin. He ends his article with this ominous message about Putin: “He has refused to play by Western rules. He seems not to fear political isolation; he invites it. He seems not worry about the closing of borders; he hopes for it. His foreign policy amounts to a deep rejection of modern Western values and an attempt to draw a clear line between Russia’s world and Europe’s. For Putin, Crimea is likely just the beginning.” In January, Center for the Study of Democracy (ZDEMO, Germany) Member Christian Welzel delivered the keynote lecture to mark the opening of the Q-Step Center at the University of Edingburgh. Welzel’s lecture, “Human Empowerment: A Framework to Analyze Social and Political Change,” presents a general theory of emancipation that informs a framework to study past and current trends in economic, social, and political change. Video of the lecture is available here. The Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI, Germany) released its signature publication, which analyses and evaluates the quality of democracy, a market economy, and political management in 129 developing and transition countries. The 2014 BTI finds that “social polarization and the influence of religious dogmas rose considerably, while the capacity of effective conflict management diminished.” Furthermore, poverty and inequality remain structurally engrained in more than half of the countries studies. A better-networked and more confident civil society is increasing its resistance to mismanagement, autocratic trends, and corruption in response to these developments. The BTI predicts that the persistence of democratic deficits and social inequalities makes it highly likely that the wave of revolts and protests will continue in the years to come and recommends a more constructive and meaningful dialogue with protest movements and citizens. Global findings, the complete report, 120 country reports, and regional findings can be found here. The Center for Policy Studies (CPS, Hungary) recently published three new Working Papers as part of their 'Employment 2025: How Multiple Transitions Will Affect the European Labour Market (NEUJOBS)” project. The papers, written by Attila Bartha, Olena Fedyuk, and Violetta Zentai, are entitled “Gender Equality and Care Choices in the Light of Population Aging,” “The Role of Migrant Labour in Meeting European Care Demand” and “Migrant Domestic Care Workers: State and Market-based Policy Mix.” The Centre for Public Policy "PROVIDUS" (Latvia) published “Victim’s Rights to Legal Aid in the Criminal Proceedings in Latvia,” by Gatis Litvins, in which the author argues that the state has to establish a support system for a wholesome return of a crime victim back into the community, ensuring emotional, financial and legal aid in due time and advocates for psychological services, a victim’s compensation system, and legal support through that state’s legal aid system. PROVIDUS also published “Opportunities for the Organized Civil Society to Influence EU Decision-Making via National Positions,” by Iveta Kažoka, Indra Mangule, David Král, Barbara Audycka, Aleksander Fuksiewicz. In February, the Institute for Development and Social Initiatives (IDIS) 'Viitorul' (Moldova) published a study on “Causes and Effects of the Referenda from UTA Gagauz-Yeri,” by Veaceslav Berbeca. The author analyzed two referenda that took place in the Administrative-Territorial Unit Gagauz-Yeri, in which residents of Gagauzia were asked if they were in favor of Moldova joining the European Union or the Russia-Belarussia-Kazakhstan Customs Union and if they agree that Gagauzia would exercise its right to external self-determination if Moldova lost its independence. Viitorul also published “Inertia of European Integration in the Republic of Moldova,” by Corneliu Ciurea, in which the author analyzes the European integration policies promoted by the authorities and how civil society perceives and supports them. Ciurea finds that support of the European idea is continuously decreasing and that the level of support is now lower than it was during the country’s communist period. The Belgrade Centre for Policy Study (BCPS, Serbia), the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights, and the Centre for Development Policy and Cooperation recently published a Collection of Papers on Police Reform in Serbia. Topics covered in the collection include the mental health of police officers, the legal framework for combating organized crime, and the importance of police education and training in the field of human rights. BCPS also published a Policy Brief entitled, “Integration or Isolation? Northern Kosovo in 2014: Electoral Limbo” by Filip Ejdus, Leon Malazogu, Milan Nič, and Tomasz Zornaczuk. The Brief analyzes the outlook for implementing the Brussels Agreement in 2014 and the possible implications of upcoming elections in Serbia, Kosovo, and the EU on this process. The authors focus on the latest developments with regard to the Association of Serbian Municipalities in Kosovo, caution against a number of risks, and provide recommendations to reduce the persistent potential for inter-ethnic conflict. The Institute for Public Affairs (IVO, Slovakia) published Alternative Politics? The Rise of New Political Parties in Central Europe, edited by Grigorij Mesežnikov, Zora Bútorová, and Oľga Gyárfášová. The volume contains contributions from Czech, Slovak, Polish, and Hungarian authors who address the phenomenon of new political parties, their ideological and programmatic profile, political activities, and electoral support. IVO also recently published Odkiaľ a Kam. 20 rokov samostatnosti (From Where to Where: Twenty Years of Independence), edited by Martin Bútora, Grigorij Mesežnikov, Zora Bútorová, and Miroslav Kollár. The volume contains contributions by sixty-one authors who examine developments encountered by Slovak and Czech societies after the division of Czechoslovakia. Finally, IVO researchers Olga Gyárfášová and Grigorij Mesežnikov contributed to a paper entitled “The Conspiratorial Mindset in the Age of Transition: Conspiracy Theories in France, Hungary, and Slovakia—Survey Results” published by the Political Capital Institute in Budapest, Hungary. The paper is the culmination of research conducted for a project on “Combating Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories as Tools for Extremist Political Mobilization.” In February, the Democratisation and Rule of Law Program of FRIDE (La Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior, Spain) published a Working Paper entitled “Game Over? The EU’s Legacy in Afghanistan,” by Edward Burke, in which the author argues that the European Union and other international actors need to reassess their activities in Afghanistan. Burke also analyses the legacy of the resources the EU has committed to the country and offers recommendations for the future role of the EU in Afghanistan. In January, FRIDE published a new annual publication, “Challenges for European Foreign Policy in 2014: The EU’s Extended Neighbourhood,” by Giovanni Grevi and Daniel Keohane. The paper calls for a paradigm shift in the EU’s approach to its neighbourhood, building on a broader definition of its geographic scope and focusing on the political and security trends connecting different regions. It also examines the foreign politics of pivotal regional actors such as Iran, Russia, and Turkey and at the projection of external powers in the regions surrounding Europe. In December, FRIDE published a Working Paper on “The Gulf Goes Global: The Evolving Role of Gulf Countries in the Middle East and North Africa and Beyond,” by Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, in which the author notes that the role of the Gulf countries in influencing the processes of change in the region has evolved substantially and that Western organizations must find common ground and operating procedures if they are retain influence and relevance. Finally, a December Policy Brief entitled “Democracy and Islamists: What Is Next?” by Ibrahim El Houdaiby argues that democracy without Islamists is now inconceivable in the Middle East and that their exclusion from any democratic process would put the legitimacy and sustainability of the entire process at stake. Mathias A. Färdigh, a lecturer at the Quality of Government Institute (QoG, Sweden) published What’s the Use of a Free Media? The Role of Media in Curbing Corruption and Promoting Quality of Government, in which he presents three independent empirical studies that contribute to an understanding of the role of the media in curbing corruption and in promoting and generating high quality political institutions. QoG also recently published several Working Papers: “The Importance of Institutional Trust for Regime Support” by Stefan Dahlberg and Sören Holmberg; “Roba Perod Hace? An Experimental Test of the Competence-Corruption Tradeoff Hypothesis in Spain and Sweden” by Peter Esaiasson and Jordi Muñoz; “Does Compliance Correlate with Political Support?” by Peter Esaiasson and Mattias Ottervik; “Conceptualizing and Measuring State Capacity: Testing the Validity of Tax Compliance as Measure of State Capacity” by Mattias Ottervik; and “Paradise Islands? Island States and the Provision of Environmental Goods” by Sverker C. Jagers, Marina Povitkina, Martin Sjöstedt, and Aksel Sundström. Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem, Sweden) has made online graphing and analysis for sixty-eight countries available to the public. Five new democracy indices, several democracy-component indices, and data on more than three hundred democracy indicators can be examined using several online analysis tools. V-Dem plans to provide access to data for the remaining countries of the world by fall 2015, which will increase the number of data points on democracy available to more than 20 million. On March 6, the Legatum Institute (LI, United Kingdom) organized a panel discussion entitled “London, Kiev, Ukraine: What Next?” that examined current events in Ukraine and their impact on London and Moscow. Participants discussed Putin’s intentions, Ukraine’s political future, and the international community’s options in deescalating the situation, including financial sanctions. A full event summary and video are available here. The Legatum Institute, the Centre for Development and Enterprise (South Africa), Centre for Policy Research (India), and Instituto de Estudos do Trabalho e Sociedade (Brazil) have been cooperating on a project entitled “Democracy Works.” The project examines how, since the 2008 economic crisis, the appeal of Western-style democracy in the developing world has declined and how the large group of democratic market economics beyond the industrialized world can add to global debates on democracy, markets, and growth. The project focuses on three large and important democratic developing countries: India, Brazil, and South Africa. In the past year, the three partner organizations have conducted three workshops that resulted in fifteen research papers focusing on inclusive economic growth, corruption, and innovation. The papers, along with further information about the project, are available on LI’s website. An event to mark the launch of this project at the National Endowment for Democracy is scheduled for May 19.

Latin America The Center for the Implementation of Public Policies Promoting Equity and Growth (CIPPEC, Argentina) published a report, “Promoting a National Policy Forum: CIPPEC and the Presidential Agenda 2011-2015 Project,” to share the organization’s experience working with other think tanks and civil society organizations in Argentina to promote a national public policy dialogue during the country’s presidential campaign in 2011 and beyond. The report documents CIPPEC’s efforts to develop a series of presidential memoranda as a tool for generating public debate and raising specific policy issues with presidential candidates and other politicians. CIPPEC hopes that documenting their experiences as a case study will help other civil society organizations consider the potential role that think tanks can play during electoral campaigns and offer a guide for think tank involvement in this topic. CIPPEC also published a Policy Brief on “The Implementation Gap of Decree 1172 on Access to Information,” by Sandra Elena, Ana Pinchón Riviére, and Ana Belén Ruival. Noting that Argentina does not have a law guaranteeing the public’s access to public information, the authors examine how Argentina’s only access-to-information regulation is implemented in practice by sending requests for information to fourteen public enterprises. Through their research, the authors find that the existing regulation is insufficient to guarantee the rights of Argentine citizens to access public information, and officials lacked a commitment to adequately respond to information requests because of a bureaucratic culture of secrecy. The Center for Opening and Development in Latin America (CADAL, Argentina) celebrated the launch of a new book, A Political Balance at 30 Years Since the Return to Democracy in Argentina, by organizing a December 2013 event featuring a discussion by the authors about how Argentina’s democracy has evolved since the military dictatorship ended in 1984 and the opportunities and challenges facing Argentina’s democracy in the years ahead. Photos and a video of the event are available on CADAL’s website. In February 2014, CADAL also released their annual index, “Global Development: Democracy, Markets, and Transparency 2013,” with a special feature on Australia. The ranking includes 167 countries around the world, ranking each in terms of political rights and civil liberties, economic freedom, and perceived levels of corruption. Of the 21 countries in Latin American, eleven were ranked below the global average and only three countries received an ideal score on civil liberties and political rights: Chile (14), Uruguay (21) and Costa Rica (41). They are also the only countries in the region to be ranked within the top fifty. Summaries of the report findings are available on CADAL’s website in English. Congresso Visible (CV, Colombia) created a web feature called Candidatos Visibles 2014 to provide Colombian citizens with information about candidates running for office during the country’s March 2014 legislative elections. The web application allows Colombians to filter through lists of candidates, view candidate profiles, and learn about their positions on important areas of legislation. In addition to posting the application on their website, Congreso Visible also created a widget and application program interface (API) to allow other individuals and organizations to add the application to other webpages. The project is also supported by Fundación Corona and the United Nations Development Program. More information about the widget and API is available on Congreso Visible’s website here.

The Observatory for Policy and Strategy in Latin America (OPEAL), a project of the Instituto de Ciencia Política’s (ICP, Colombia) has been following the peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas over the last year. As part of this process, the Observatory has organized several events to discuss the characteristics of a post-conflict period that may be brought about through the peace negotiation process. In November, with the support of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in Colombia, the Observatory held an event, “Between Transition and Restoration: Challenges for the Colombian Post-Conflict Society.” Video from the event can be found on ICP’s website here. In March, the Observatory continued to explore this topic by hosting an experts’ roundtable discussion entitled “The Participation of Governmental and Non-Governmental Actors in the Colombian Post-Conflict Scenario” in Bogotá, in which several local and regional decision-makers participated. Grupo Faro (Ecuador) published its fifth issue of Lupa Fiscal, a series of reports seeking to collect and synthesize official data about the value of petroleum products generated by the petroleum industry in Ecuador, the resulting income, and the distribution of state petroleum income at the local level. In addition, Grupo Faro generated a handbook, “Manual for Just, Democratic, and Sustainable Cities,” describing the stages and elements of the organization’s Sustainable Amazonian Cities initiative in a clear and accessible format. Incorporating charts, graphics, and photos, the handbook focuses on building citizen networks and generating capacity to monitor and influence local public management. Grupo Faro is also working on a large research initiative entitled “Strengthening Relations Between Think Tanks and Universities in Latin America” with the Center for Comparative Politics in Education and Diego Portales University in Chile. The goal of the project is to better understand the relationship between think tanks and universities in Latin America in order to strengthen capacity for public policy research, promote collaborative thinking, and generate a debate about these important relationships. The initiative will consider case studies of think tank and university collaboration in ten countries in Latin America, and researchers will post updates and blog posts about their research over the course of the project.