Democracy is not a matter of course, as a glance beyond our immediate horizon illustrates. To paraphrase Konrad Adenauer, democracy must be filled with life every day and, where necessary, defended vigorously, both internally and externally.
The Desire for Freedom Cannot Be Suppressed
Regarding the global state of democracy, there is indeed cause for concern. Nevertheless, one should not overlook the many positive developments made in advancing democracy and the rule of law that have taken place throughout the world since World War II.
A New Era of Competition
The Growing Threat from Authoritarian Internationalism as a Global Challenge to Democracy
With the benefit of hindsight, it is clear that democracies long failed to realize that a new era of competition was underway between autocratic and democratic states. Such competition is visible in a number of spheres, including geopolitics. But it is massive investments in their own autocratic forms of “soft power” that have enabled regimes in Russia and China to make dramatic inroads in challenging the integrity and prestige of the democratic systems of the West.
Between Aspiration and Reality
15 Years of the International Criminal Court (ICC)
The International Criminal Court (ICC) was created in 2002 as an instrument against atrocities “that have outraged the conscience of mankind”. More than 120 states have joined since then. The global criminal court continues, nonetheless, to struggle for acceptance. Influential stakeholders such as the USA, China and Russia have not joined the agreement to date, while others are already considering withdrawing from it. Now, where does the ICC stand 15 years after its founding?
On the Emergence of an Arab Democracy
Social Divides and Political Compromises in Tunisia
Hopes for a life in freedom and dignity, which had materialised in the “Arab Spring”, have long since been shattered in many places. Tunisia is the only country that has succeeded in undergoing democratic change since 2011. Social divides have been dealt with in a spirit of dialogue and consensus. In order to embed democracy and the rule of law with lasting effect, however, the gap between elites and citizens as well as the regional imbalances of power and development need to be overcome.
Young Continent, Old Rulers
What Does the Future Hold for Democracy in Africa?
The African 2016 “super election year” made both positive and negative headlines and demonstrated the heterogeneous paths the development of democracy is taking in Africa. Bearing in mind that many elections lacked democratic quality, and given that authoritarian tendencies are on the rise in numerous countries, one cannot speak of progress on the whole. The future development of African democracy will depend on various external and internal factors, which, while entailing certain risks to stability, will ultimately provide opportunities to provide new democratic incentives.
Finally on the Right Track?
In Latin America, the Desire for Greater Participation Is Swirling up the Party Systems
Excessive violence, rampant corruption and defective democracies still dominate Latin America’s image around the world. But the reality has, in fact, been somewhat different long since. Education, the internet and globalisation have produced a great deal of progress on the continent. Strong civil societies have developed, and they are calling upon their governments to provide answers to their problems. Politics is no longer the exclusive domain of the politicians. Citizens demand their say. Are the political parties ready for this? Can they reinvent themselves?
The Art of Transition
Will the Democratic Transition Bring Genuine Change to Myanmar?
In 2010, after decades of enforced self-isolation under a dictatorship, the country formerly known as Burma set out on a slow journey of opening up, reaching its peak to date in November 2015 with the first democratic elections in a quarter of a century. The government formed by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) is finding it difficult to manage the unfamiliar tasks of running the country and measuring up to the people’s and the international public’s expectations as well as meeting the innumerable challenges of the multi-ethnic country of Myanmar.