Democracy without Parties

The Philippines in the Patronage Trap

During the mid-term elections in the Philippines on 13 May 2013, as expected the old patronage parties came out on top. Once again, the electoral system offered the opportunity for candidature nearly exclusively to well-known personalities and wealthy families during the country-wide senatorial election. Similarly, the elections for the Lower House and local elections were dominated by political clans and dynasties. Vote-buying and controlled voting in polling stations turned the election into a farce.


In June, Iran elected a new President, and in May, parliamentary elections took place in Pakistan. Events in Egypt however have demonstrated that it is too early to celebrate democratic progress when one election has proceeded successfully and in line with international standards. The examination of election campaigns and the elections as well as the final official results does not provide much of an insight into the democratic development of a country by itself.

Elections and Transitions in the Islamic World

International Reports 8|2013

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Progress and Setbacks in building the Rule of Law in South East Europe

The endeavours of South East European states to pursue European integration have generated enormous challenges. Beyond democratisation and the substitution of market economics for the failed policies of a socialist planned economy, the process of state-building needed to be tackled. There were successful efforts to adopt democratic constitutions and to develop the institutions of democracy. Yet the region requires a commitment from the Western community of nations to support the initiated judicial reforms.

The Election of Hasan Rouhani as Seventh President of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Just a few weeks ago, most commentators in Iran and abroad were united in their belief that the Iranian elections would produce no real surprises. Rouhani’s election was greeted with cautious optimism. His success is based on several factors. These include his reformist rhetoric that united with the cohesive support of the reform camp and the associated desire for change amongst the public. He was also able to benefit from internal and external factors for which Ahmadinejad was blamed.

The Historical Context of the 2013 Parliamentary Elections in Pakistan

Pakistan held parliamentary elections on 11 May 2013, representing nothing short of a substantial turning point in this crisis-ridden country’s history: A democratically legitimate, civilian government took over following a full legislative period through largely free and fair elections for the first time since Pakistan’s independence in 1947. Such a conventional, peaceful power shift under the rules of a parliamentary democracy is a completely new experience for Pakistan, one that brings with it great hope for the future.

The Role of Saudi Arabia and Iran During and After the Upheaval in the Arab World

The upheaval in the Arab world has challenged the traditional roles of the two leading powers in the Gulf, Saudi Arabia and Iran. Both nations must now reassess their relationships with regional actors. For both nations, long-standing alliances are at stake. While the upheaval in the Arab world holds both opportunities and risks for the Saudi regime, Iran, with the support of the Assad regime, is increasingly finding itself in quite a strategic quandary. Further developments in the region will significantly define the future balance of power in Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The Territorial Conflict Between the Central Iraqi Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government

The territorial disputes between Iraqi governments and the ethnic Kurds living in the north and northeast of the country go back a long way. During the past few decades, these frequently resulted in crises and violent clashes with devastating consequences. Once the agreements, namely the provisions defined in Article 58 of the provisional constitution, are properly implemented sometime in the future, the “Kurdistan-Iraq rapprochement” will surely be considered a landmark event in the Middle East.

Alienated Neighbors

The Integration of the Russian-speaking Minority in Latvia

During the Soviet era, ethnic Latvians became only a scarce majority of the population due to massive immigration into Latvia of people from other Soviet republics. After the restoration of independence, most of them decided to stay in Latvia, so becoming a part of society and politics in the newly re-established state. Although Latvia has not had massive outbursts of violence, like Estonia, interethnic relations are far from excellent as of today.


In June, an Egyptian court handed down jail terms of several years to two employees of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. Our office in Egypt was declared permanently closed. Yet we still consider it our mission to foster democratic developments, provide support to political parties and actors of civil society and facilitate dialogue in an atmosphere of trust. Of course, minorities being given an opportunity to be heard and to participate forms a part of this.

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Dr. Gerhard Wahlers



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