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Recent Democratic Developments

1 Feb — A second opposition leader in Kenya was killed today.  The official government explanation for the killing was that the opposition leader was involved in a “love triangle.”  Opposition supporters rioted and claimed that the killing was an assassination.  Read the whole article here


31 Jan — The former Chief Justice of the Pakistani Supreme Court circulated a letter denouncing President Musharraf’s illegal detention of him and his family and the quashing of an independent judiciary during the declared state of emergency last year.  Read the whole article here


31 Jan — U.S. efforts to monitor the upcoming the Pakistani elections were dealt a blow when the only U.S. group  of observers declared that they would not participate in elections because of security fears.  Furthermore, Pakistani intelligence and government officials are said to be interfering in the elections with threats of intimidation against opposition figures.  Read the whole article here


31 Jan — European election observers threaten to cancel monitoring of upcoming Russian election because of restrictions applied by Putin’s government on the observers activities.  Read the whole article here


30 Jan — Bush Administration applies financial sanctions on Zimbabwean intelligence chief, President Mugabe’s nephew and two companies that support the increasingly authoritarian regime of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe.  Read the whole article here    


30 Jan — Kofi Annan tries to negotiate a settlement between the two warring political factions in Kenya over the recently disputed presidential election.  Meanwhile, the politically motivated violence is further exacerbating the weak economic conditions in Kenya.  Read the whole article here


30 Jan — In depth article on the Kenyan opposition leader Raili Odinga.  Read the whole article here


29 Jan — In depth article from the Christian Science Monitor on what are the underlying causes for Kenya’s eruption into political violence.  Read the whole article here


28 Jan — Pakistani politician Imran Khan lobbies the U.S. government to use its influence to stop Pakistani elections in February.  Khan and other Pakistani political opposition leaders believe that it is more important to restore an independent judiciary in Pakistan first than hold elections.  Read the whole article here



12 Nov — Protests in Georgia Become Violent. Four years after the "Rose revolution," demonstrators were once again on the streets in Georgia last week. See slideshow here. Georgia’s opposition nominated the owner of a winemaking company today to face President Mikheil Saakashvili in early presidential elections, scheduled for Jan. 5.The candidate, Levan Gachechiladze, is a member of Parliament from the opposition New Rights Party and founder of Georgian Wines and Spirits. At a news conference today, he accused Mr. Saakashvili’s government of terrorizing political opponents. Read the whole article here

12 Nov — Opponents of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo filed a new impeachment complaint against her today, accusing her of corruption and illegal policies that they said have resulted in the death, torture and disappearance of hundreds of government critics. The complaint, the second against Mrs. Arroyo this year, includes accusations of several cases of abuse committed by state security forces. It also implicated Mrs. Arroyo in a corruption scandal arising from a contract between the government and the Chinese telecommunications company ZTE. Read the whole article here


11 Nov — Danilo Turk, a left-leaning independent and former diplomat, won Slovenia’s presidential runoff on Sunday, defeating a government-backed conservative, and he will lead the country when it takes over the European Union presidency in January. Preliminary results on the National Electoral Commission Web site showed that Mr. Turk, 55, a law professor supported by three center-left opposition parties, had 68.2 percent of the votes, with most of the vote counting completed. The conservative contender, Lojze Peterle, backed by most of the center-right government, had 31.8 percent of the votes. Read the whole article here


8 Nov — Gen. Pervez Musharraf told his national security council today that parliamentary elections would be held before Feb. 15 and that he would give up his military uniform before taking the oath of office for his new term as president of Pakistan. General Musharraf did not set a specific date for parliamentary elections, and it was unclear whether the new timetable would satisfy opposition parties and Western governments, which have been demanding bluntly that he end emergency rule, step down from his post as head of the army and allow elections to go ahead as planned. Read the whole article here

8 Nov — The president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, today called for a special presidential election on Jan. 5, saying he was willing to test whether he had retained a mandate a day after a police crackdown and clashes with opposition demonstrators ended with the government declaring a state of emergency. Mr. Saakashvili’s surprise announcement marked an effort to alleviate the domestic unrest and international concern over the police action in Tbilisi, the country’s capital, and the suspension of civil liberties that followed. The president also said that the state of emergency would end soon, although he did not set a date. Read the whole article here

8 Nov — Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of Myanmar’s stifled democracy movement, said in a statement released by the United Nations today that she was ready to “cooperate” with the military government.

The announcement came as state television in Myanmar said it would allow her to meet with executives of her political party, the first time in at least three years that this has been allowed. Read the whole article here

7 Nov — With a deadline for negotiations over the disputed province of Kosovo just a month away, the European Union gave pro-Western forces in Serbia a boost today, initialing with Serbia a deal that could lead to Serbia joining the 27-nation group. The deal, which must now be agreed upon by European Union member states, stipulates that Serbia must first arrest and turn over four war crimes suspects indicted in the Hague. But a leading human rights group quickly accused the European Union of caving in on years of demands that Belgrade turn over the suspects before any deals were made. Read the whole article here

7 Nov — Official campaigning for Thailand’s first general elections since last year’s military coup began

Wednesday as 18 parties registered for the Dec. 23 balloting. Thailand faces a sagging economy, a Muslim insurgency in the south and lingering divisions over the bloodless ouster in 2006 of the prime minister at the time, Thaksin Shinawatra. Read the whole article here


7 Nov — Belgium broke its own record for the longest period without a government as tensions continued among the country’s leaders, divided by language. Almost five months since national elections on June 10, Belgium marked 149 days without a government, beating a previous record set in 1988. As the deadlock continues, speculation is mounting that political divisions between the Flemish, who speak a form of Dutch and make up two-thirds of the population, and the Walloons, who speak French, could lead to Belgium’s splitting up. Read the whole article here


5 Nov — Israeli and Palestinian officials hope to reach a comprehensive peace agreement before the end of President Bush’s term, Israeli, Palestinian and American officials said Monday.

That goal fits with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s efforts to push the two sides toward a peace plan during her tenure. The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel said that they would use the coming Middle East peace conference in Annapolis, Md., to begin substantive talks on the four contentious final status issues that have bedeviled peace negotiators since 1979. Read the whole article here


4 Nov — A former army general who once took on the insurgency in Guatemala’s long civil war lost his battle for the country’s presidency on Sunday night, with voters rejecting his plan to use an iron fist, as well as the country’s military, to control a sky-high murder rate. The man who won was Álvaro Colom, a gawky policy wonk and businessman who made fighting poverty his campaign’s centerpiece. Read the whole article here

31 Oct—The system of international election monitoring in the states of the former Soviet Union appeared near collapse today after Russia formally declared its intention to cut sharply the number of monitors for parliamentary elections in December, and officials in charge of the mission refused to agree immediately to the change. Read the whole article here

31 Oct— YANGON, Myanmar (AP) -- More than 100 Buddhist monks marched peacefully Wednesday in a northern Myanmar town noted for its defiance of the country's military rulers, the first large protest since the junta violently crushed a wave anti-government demonstrations. Read the whole article here

29 Oct — Ali Mohamed Gedi, the prime minister of Somalia, resigned Monday after a long feud with the country’s president that was imperiling Somalia’s beleaguered transitional government. Read the whole article here

29 Oct — Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the wife of Argentina’s president, Néstor Kirchner, has become the first woman to be elected president in the country’s history. Read the whole article here

22 Oct— Italy: another false dawn. Walter Veltroni promises a new era of political reform in Italy led by the modernizing centre-left. Read the whole article here


17 Oct— China’s communist “princelings”: The distinctive experience of China's rising political generation may turn dynastic succession into real political reform. Read the whole article here


15 OCT— Senior members of China's Communist Party will put forth a blueprint for performing political institutions at a major congress this week, but the steps aim to strengthen one-party rule and will not copy Western democratic models, a spokesman said Sunday. The congress, held once every five years, is a crucial test of strength for president and party leader Hu Jintao. He is set to open it Monday with a speech laying out the policy agenda for what is expected to be his final five years in power. Previewing the gathering's agenda, congress spokesman Li Dongsheng said reforms were geared toward "improving socialist democracy" _ a catch-phrase for one-party rule.

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