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The crisis of democracy and the rise of authoritarianism across the globe, compounded by the coronavirus pandemic, highlight the importance of taking a more strategic and autonomous approach to supporting democracy worldwide – an objective often balanced against other external policy aims until now. Since the start of the current parliamentary term, the EU has reviewed its political guidance on democracy and human rights. It has adopted or is about to adopt important measures to strengthen support ...

Another revolution in Kyrgyzstan?

Glaustai 22-10-2020

Kyrgyzstan is the only ex-Soviet Central Asian country to have achieved a measure of democracy, but it is also highly volatile. Massive protests broke out after irregularities in the October 2020 parliamentary elections, toppling the government. Ex-convict, Sadyr Japarov, is now the country's prime minister and acting president. New parliamentary and presidential elections are planned for December 2020 and January 2021.

Azerbaijan is an authoritarian country in the southern Caucasus. Part of the Eastern Partnership, Azerbaijan has attempted to keep a pragmatic balance between the European Union (EU) and Russia. Rich in oil and natural gas, Baku's poor human rights record and consistent failure to hold free and fair elections have continued to hamper its ties with the EU. The 9 February 2020 snap elections in the wake of abrupt top-down reforms in late 2019 are not expected to substantially change the country's leadership ...

Bolivia: A test for democracy

Glaustai 16-01-2020

Bolivia's Evo Morales was probably the most successful among the presidents belonging to the left-wing movements that swept across the Latin American region in the early 2000s. However, his insistence on clinging to power in defiance of the Constitution and the will of the majority of Bolivians, including many of his former supporters, ultimately led to his demise and sparked political conflict. Nevertheless, the agreement reached between all parties to call new elections gives hope for the future ...

Ukrainians will be heading to the polls twice in 2019, five years after Ukrainians toppled the pro-Kremlin President Viktor Yanukovich, demanding a functioning democracy and an end to kleptocracy. On 31 March, Ukrainians will cast their ballot in the first round of the first presidential election since the Euromaidan revolution. In October, they will elect a new parliament. Amid Russia's ongoing hybrid war against Ukraine, the elections are a test case for the country's democracy, its unprecedented ...

The Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group (DEG) is responsible for coordinating the democracy support activities of the European Parliament (EP). Over the course of the eighth legislature, the DEG has aimed to bring strategic focus to its democracy support activities through the introduction of a Comprehensive Democracy Support Approach (CDSA). While the introduction of the CDSA has outlined a vision for more focused and strategic interventions around the electoral cycle, the implementation ...

As international isolation is no longer economically bearable, Zimbabwe has been searching for legitimacy on the global stage. The post-Mugabe transition government, from a ruling party fraction, committed itself to free and fair elections and invited international observers for first time in 16 years. But much-awaited change in Zimbabwe needs much more than a newly elected president and legislature. The country suffers from institutional dysfunction driven by years of a de facto one-party, military-backed ...

The EU's policy of external democracy support has gained momentum, particularly after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, which defined democracy as a fundamental principle of the Union, to be enshrined in all policies of external significance. Subsequently, several policy documents have outlined strategic orientations and sought ways to enhance implementation and policy coherence and effectiveness, a need often recognised by EU stakeholders and other players. The EU has deployed all the tools ...

Support to democracy, good governance and human rights is a central component of EU cooperation with Africa, and of EU development aid to the continent, under the different frameworks shaping relations with African countries, such as the ACP framework for Sub-Saharan Africa, the Neighbourhood Policy for North Africa, and the Africa-EU Joint Strategy for cooperation at continental level. EU support is all the more important as democracy in many African countries is recent and still fragile. Democratic ...

This study focuses on electoral reform in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, which have all concluded Association Agreements with the EU. Recent experience in all three countries has shown that political elites are changing (or not changing) the electoral system to hold onto power. Beyond the choice of electoral system, changes have often been introduced in a rush, without a genuinely inclusive, thorough and public debate. Frequent changes to legal frameworks, often made just prior to elections, have ...