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  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 10-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Compromise and accommodation are the watchwords of the new Indonesian government. During the past two weeks, the top legislative and executive positions have been distributed to the leaders of four of the country's five major political parties. The new cabinet, announced on October 26, continues this trend. Active and retired members of the military hold six seats, giving them a larger representation than any single political party. Not only President Abdurrahman Wahid, but all of Indonesia's political leaders, are hoping that by sharing power, rather than struggling for supremacy, conflict can be minimised and some measure of reform achieved. However, it is likely that governmental splits will emerge in the medium term.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 10-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Russia's military operations in the North Caucasus have, so far, received broad domestic support and enhanced the popularity of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. This stands in contrast to the 1994-96 conflict. The difference can be explained by the successful characterisation of the enemy as terrorists combined with the low level of conscript casualties. Moscow politicians have united broadly behind the military strategy, with opposition limited to extreme reformist groups. Two key consequences emerge from this situation. Firstly, Putin's political future is tied to the continued success of the campaign. Secondly, the nationalist fervour sparked by the conflict has reduced international investor confidence and led to domestic calls for increased defence spending.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, International Trade and Finance, Nationalism, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Caucasus
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 10-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Pessimism surrounding the Japanese economy has lessened as, against most expectations, recovery continues to take hold. Analysts who predicted further contraction in Japan's GDP during fiscal 1999 have altered to a more optimistic outlook. The reason for this turnaround is a general change in perception of the recession. Rather than the downturn being part of a decade-long stagnation persisting since the collapse of the bubble economy in 1991, the recession was in fact of more recent origin and, therefore, of a less intractable nature than commonly supposed.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Japan, East Asia
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 10-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Daily demonstrations calling for Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to resign have, over recent weeks, been poorly attended. In part this reflects the opposition parties' failure to resolve their differences. This has led to growing scepticism in the West about the Serbian people's ability to bring about political change. In these circumstances, the international community may alter its policy towards the country. However, greater efforts to support the democratic opposition could prove counter-productive in the short-to-medium term due to anti-Western sentiment in the aftermath of the NATO air campaign. In the longer term the West will need to reconsider its policy towards the Balkans if it wants to play a constructive role in regional democratisation.
  • Topic: International Relations, NATO, Democratization, Politics
  • Political Geography: Mongolia, Eastern Europe, Serbia, Balkans
  • Publication Date: 11-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The outright victory of the Alliance candidate, Fernando de la Rua, on the first round of voting in the presidential elections on October 24, reflects the desire for a change of political style. De la Rua's approach to government will be less personalist and more consensual than that of the outgoing president, Carlos Menem. While economic policy is unlikely to change in any fundamental way, the new government will be under pressure to root out corruption. It will be the first time since the return to civilian rule in 1983 that a government lacks a majority in either chamber of Congress, which may strengthen democratic institutions.
  • Topic: Corruption, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Argentina
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 09-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The Indonesian army has, so far, failed to derail President BJ Habibie's plans for East Timorese self-determination. Nevertheless, military leaders have reasserted themselves as key players in domestic politics by imposing a high cost on politicians who fail to take sufficient account of their agenda. Civilian contenders for political power are actively courting army support. A likely consequence will be the emergence of a civilian-led government with close ties to the military. Opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri is the front-runner for the presidency, possibly with Army Chief General Wiranto as her vice-president.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 09-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Debate surrounding the US elections in 2000 has centred on the contests for the presidency, and control of the House of Representatives. Far less attention has been placed on the partisan balance within the Senate. During the past two decades, the upper chamber has increased its influence over policy direction, a trend that appears likely to continue. Growing senatorial influence will act as a moderating force in US politics regardless of who occupies the White House or which party holds a majority in the House.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 09-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The attractions of the single european currency are likely to draw the Scandinavian countries into the euro-area by around 2003. However, the outlook for United Kingdom accession is complicated by differences in its economic profile compared with the rest of the euro-area, combined with its enduringly euro-sceptical public opinion. These factors are likely to postpone its accession until later in the decade.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 09-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Last week's signing of an Israeli–Palestinian agreement at Sharm al-Sheikh represents an important development in the search for a lasting settlement in the Middle East. The deal illustrates that it is possible to reach an agreement from which all parties will gain, while also exposing enduring problems. The progress made at Sharm al-Sheikh represents, as Nabil Shaath of the Palestinian authority described, an 'unfreezing' of the peace process. Whether the whole process can be infused with greater warmth depends firstly on US efforts to impel the Syrian–Israeli peace negotiations; secondly, it relies on the ability of the regional leaders to make the compromises necessary to reach a peace that all can present as a victory to their domestic constituencies.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Syria
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 08-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The present incursion of Islamic rebels into Dagestan is not the prelude to a re-run of the Chechen war across the Russian periphery. However, it highlights Moscow's failure to adequately monitor developments in the North Caucasus region and the lack of military preparedness for dealing with internal rebellions. Despite the potential for increased violence, weak central government control is likely to prevail across the region, but only because for the majority of the local population, the alternatives appear even less palatable.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Islam
  • Political Geography: Russia, North Caucasus