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  • Author: Sheila A. Smith
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Electoral reform in the early 1990s ended single-party dominance in Japan and promised an era of new politics in which political parties would alternate control of the government. In the two decades that followed, Japan's foreign and domestic policy priorities were subjected to greater scrutiny and debate as Japan, like so many other nations around the globe, sought to reorient itself in a new post-Cold War world. The U.S.-Japan alliance that anchored Japan's postwar foreign policy was not immune to these domestic political reforms. For half a century, the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) prided itself on managing the relationship with Washington. But its ouster in 2009 by the reformist Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) led many to expect that even Japan's alliance with the United States would be subject to serious review.
  • Topic: Government, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Asia
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Electoral rigging has hampered Pakistan's democratic development, eroded political stability and contributed to the breakdown of the rule of law. Facing domestic pressure for democracy, successive military governments rigged national, provincial and local polls to ensure regime survival. These elections yielded unrepresentative parliaments that have rubber-stamped extensive constitutional and political reforms to centralise power with the military and to empower its civilian allies. Undemocratic rule has also suppressed other civilian institutions, including the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), which is responsible for holding elections to the national and four provincial assemblies, and local governments. With the next general election in 2013 – if the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)-led government completes its full five-year term – the ruling party and its parliamentary opposition, as well as the international community, should focus on ensuring a transparent, orderly political transition through free, fair and transparent elections.
  • Topic: Corruption, Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia, Asia
  • Author: S. Y. Quraishi
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for the Advanced Study of India
  • Abstract: DR. RICHARD JOHNSTON: Welcome everyone to the welcome lecture from S. Y. Quraishi to the Comparing Elections and Electoral Systems in North America and India Conference. My name is Richard Johnston. By a vote of three to one, I was chosen as the person to do the introduction so I was not present at the time the vote was taken, but I am actually very pleased to be asked to do this. Just so you know, my current affiliation is the University of BC, but I am a former Penn person. It doesn't feel very former at the moment, I'll say, which is very pleasant. Anyway, my task is not to talk about me, but to introduce S. Y. Quraishi, the Chief Commissioner for Elections for India. I can't underscore how big a deal it is for us to have Dr. Quraishi here. The position is recognized in the Constitution of India. It is an enormously important role. This is the largest election task in the world. Not only does the Elections Commission take care of the Parliamentary elections, Lok Sabha elections, but also Presidential and Vice-Presidential elections, and elections in several states. So Dr. Quraishi is responsible for organization of elections, certainly to a Canadian, on an unimaginable scale. He is the seventeenth Chief Commissioner. He has been so since the third of July last year and served on the Commission for four years before that.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Tessa Bold, Mwangi Kimenyi, Germano Mwabu, Justin Sandefur
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Existing studies from the United States, Latin America, and Asia provide scant evidence that private schools dramatically improve academic performance relative to public schools. Using data from Kenya—a poor country with weak public institutions—we find a large effect of private schooling on test scores, equivalent to one full standard deviation. This finding is robust to endogenous sorting of more able pupils into private schools. The magnitude of the effect dwarfs the impact of any rigorously tested intervention to raise performance within public schools. Furthermore, nearly two thirds of private schools operate at lower cost than the median government school.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Government, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Kenya, United States, Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Phillip C. Saunders, Michael Kiselycznyk
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: This study reviews the last 20 years of academic literature on the role of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) in Chinese elite politics. It examines the PLA's willingness to support the continued rule of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and to obey directives from top party leaders, the PLA's influence on the selection of China's top civilian leaders, and the PLA's ability to shape the domestic political environment. Over the last two decades the discussion of these three issues has largely been shaped by five trends identified in the literature: increasing PLA professionalism, bifurcation of civil and military elites, a reduced PLA role in political institutions, reduced emphasis on political work within the PLA, and increased military budgets. Together, these trends are largely responsible for the markedly reduced role of the PLA in Chinese elite politics.
  • Topic: Security, Government
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Richard Fielding
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies
  • Abstract: Pandemic influenza A/H1N1 (pH1N1) spread rapidly from its origins in Mexico to affect Hong Kong as its first point of entry into Asia. In this paper, the different stages of government response from prevention to mitigation to vaccination and stand down are described and discussed from the perspectives of feasibility, pragmatism, effectiveness and population responses to offer insights into future influenza pandemic preparedness.
  • Topic: Globalization, Government, Health
  • Political Geography: Israel, Asia, Mexico, Hong Kong
  • Author: Gilles Dorronsoro
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The coalition strategy has reached an impasse. None of the efforts attempted since the summer of 2009 has halted the deterioration of the political and security situation. Although a few tactical successes might be possible, the coalition cannot defeat the Taliban or rally local commanders to its side. Moreover, the Karzai government enjoys very limited legitimacy and appears incapable of rebuilding a state that can assume responsibility for its own security in the foreseeable future. The coalition faces the risk of an endless engagement accompanied by an intolerable loss of life and treasure.
  • Topic: Government, International Cooperation, Terrorism, Treaties and Agreements, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia, Taliban
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Far from being a bulwark against the spread of extremism and violence from Afghanistan, Tajikistan is looking increasingly like its southern neighbour – a weak state that is suffering from a failure of leadership. Energy infrastructure is near total breakdown for the second winter running, and it is likely migrant labourer remittances, the driver of the country's economy in recent years, will fall dramatically as a result of the world economic crisis. President Emomali Rakhmon may be facing his greatest challenge since the civil war of 1992-97. At the very least the government will be confronted with serious economic problems, and the desperately poor population will be condemned to yet more deprivation. At worst the government runs the risk of social unrest. There are few indications that the Rakhmon administration is up to this challenge. To address the situation, the international community – both at the level of international organisations and governments – should ensure any assistance reaches those who truly need it, place issues of governance and corruption at the centre of all contacts with the Tajik government, and initiate an energetic dialogue with President Rakhmon on democratisation.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Government, Islam, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia, Tajikistan
  • Author: Gerald LeMelle
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Policy Information Center
  • Abstract: Welcome to International Affairs Forum's fourth special publication. We are once again delighted to be able to offer our readers a diverse collection of views, and I hope everyone will find something of interest. I think this publication stands out not only because of the quality of contributors, who have been generous enough to give up their valuable time over such a busy period, but also the range of subjects and geographical reach—we have contributors based on four continents and from nine countries covering everything from defense policy through Brand America and U.S.-India relations. I don't wish to add anything to the enormous amount of ink spilled over the historic nature of the recent election, except to say that whatever one's views of the past eight years—and this publication contains a full range of them—living in Tokyo has demonstrated to me time and again that although this is the Asian century, the world's eyes have been, and still are, very much on the United States of America and what Barack Obama will do in office.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America, India, Asia, Tokyo
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The bizarre prosecution and conviction of opposition leader and Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi for violating her house arrest has returned attention to repression in Myanmar, as preparations were underway for the first national elections in twenty years, now scheduled for 2010. This further undermined what little credibility the exercise may have had, especially when based on a constitution that institutionalises the military's political role. The UN Secretary-General's July visit, which produced no tangible results, added to the gloom. But while the elections will not be free and fair – a number of prominent regime opponents have been arrested and sentenced to prison terms over the last year – the constitution and elections together will fundamentally change the political landscape in a way the government may not be able to control. Senior Generals Than Shwe and Maung Aye may soon step down or move to ceremonial roles, making way for a younger military generation. All stakeholders should be alert to opportunities that may arise to push the new government toward reform and reconciliation.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Asia, Myanmar