Over the weekend, Cambodia’s opposition coalition, the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP), held a large rally in Phnom Penh to protest the national election commission’s ratifying of the results of this summer’s election. The national election commission—which is controlled by the long-ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP)—essentially said that all the results of the summer national election were valid, that Prime Minister Hun Sen’s CPP had won 68 seats in Parliament, enough to form a government, as compared to 55 for the CNRP.

Should we have democracy on demand? Spain, Turkey, Brazil, Egypt have experienced forms of it. What other country might be next to feel the wrath of people power? In the past few years, TV news cameras have gone from capital to capital to film the anger of people demanding change from their governments.

It is commonly known that monetary remittances, the funds that foreigners working abroad send back to their origin countries, make up an important part of many developing nations’ economies. Less commented on, however, are social remittances, or the influence migrants exert on their home countries’ politics. One of the most important mechanisms for social remittances is the absentee ballot. According to the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, 115 countries or territories now grant voting rights to their citizens living abroad.

In an influential 1997 essay, Fareed Zakaria coined the term “illiberal democracy” to describe those countries that hold elections (of varying fairness) to choose their leaders, yet restrict civil liberties and political freedom. At the time, such practices were common mostly in Asia and Africa, with a sizeable concentration of illiberal democracies among the ex-Soviet states. Zakaria described illiberal democracy as a “growth industry,” and he was right: in the past 15 years, it has come with full force to Latin America.

Social media, and Twitter in particular, enables people to follow news events in real time around the world. On 31 July 2013 and into 1 August, #ZimElections became a worldwide trending topic as the voting in Zimbabwe concluded, and Zimbabweans woke up to a state of limbo. The Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) was not to release the elections results until next Monday – an eternity in today’s connected world – but with a law prohibiting anyone from making pronouncements about the results, surely everyone would hold their tongues till that date?

July 19, 2013

Organized crime lurks behind many of the stories in the headlines today, though the connection rarely becomes explicit. Alexey Navalny, the Russian opposition leader who was just convicted on probably spurious charges of embezzlement, made a name for himself by targeting the corruption that is so deep-seated in today’s Russia that it’s often hard to see where the government leaves off and the mob begins. European Union law enforcement officials warned recently that mobsters are capitalizing on the European financial crisis by taking advantage of black markets in goods and services.

Regarding Argentine pressures on the economy and its inaccuracies campaign, the message read by Governor Nigel Haywood is enthusiastic about the reaffirmed support from the UK to the Falklands (the Queen’s speech opening Parliament), the recent overwhelming results of the referendum on the Falklands’ future and the Islands’ international public diplomacy strategy to explain to the world the Falklands’ right to self determination and the fact it is a democratic, modern community with a self sufficient successful economy.

President Barack Obama’s May 23rd speech at the National Defense University has been cited primarily for its assertion that the war against Al Qaeda has largely been won and that methods for countering violent extremism will change. The President stated that the United States “cannot use force everywhere that a radical ideology takes root,” and said that “the next element of our strategy involves addressing the underlying grievances and conflicts that feed extremism.”