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Why Mideast Elections Are Overrated and Often Counterproductive

In his 1997 piece “Was a Democracy Just a Moment?” Robert Kaplan predicted that like Christianity, democracy would not create a more moral or peaceful world, but rather, a more complex one. Right now the erstwhile young democracies of Pakistan and Afghanistan are finding this out the hard way. In Pakistan, the past three months[…]

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At Least It’s Over (And Afghanistan has a CEO)

Over five months after Afghanistan’s first round of voting on April 5th, 2014, the election results are finally in. Sort of. As the longstanding President Hamid Karzai delivers his farewell address, the mood is one of disgusted relief. Overall, Afghan citizens are comforted that the election has been resolved without an outbreak of violence or even civil war. The intervening[…]

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Elections in Syria, Algeria and Egypt: A Theater of the Absurd

Algeria’s presidential election this past April was theater of the absurd–complete with wheelchair-bound President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, age 77, casting a ballot accompanied by his little nephew and grown men in the street kissing portraits of the beloved president. Bouteflika, who’s been in power for 15 years and unable to campaign for himself, was reelected in[…]

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Egypt Turning a Corner: For Better or For Worse?

Dr. Michael C. Hudson On May 26-8 Egyptians went to the polls to elect a new president–a decisive moment in the tumultuous struggles which followed the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak in the uprising of 2010-11. The masses had demanded an end to authoritarianism and the beginning of democracy. But in this election they overwhelmingly voted for the general,[…]

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Egypt’s Low Electoral Turnout: The Death Pangs of al-Sisi or the June 30th ‘Revolution’ ?

Today was the second day of the Egyptian presidential election. The election, which comes almost two years after the 2012 presidential election and eleven months after the July 2013 coup, is the most recent and most important step in the current regime’s ongoing attempt to move beyond the discursive as well as the on-the-ground conflict[…]

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Afghan Election Fraud–Who is Responsible?

By Mohammad Shafiq Hamdam Despite security threats and many other challenges, the historic turnout of Afghan voters in the April 5th elections has shown democracy in action.  The Afghan people stalwartly contributed to their first-ever political transition from one elected president to another.  However, legitimate concerns and questions about the impartiality of the electoral bodies[…]

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Uncertainty and Hope in the Afghan Presidential Elections

Uncertainty over the April 5th Afghan presidential elections and the future of the country abounded as Afghans flocked to the polls with a sense of pride and hope.  Concern from Afghans and the international community alike has stemmed from several sources. Given that outgoing president Hamid Karzai was chosen by Afghan leaders to lead the[…]

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Election Arts: Giving the Taliban the (Ink-stained) Finger

On Saturday, April 5th, 2014, the Afghan people delivered a resounding message to the Taliban and observers around the world. They voted not only for the presidential candidate and provincial council members of their choice but also for a democratic process in which citizens—both men and women—have a participatory role and can hold their leaders[…]

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Campaign 2014: Of Candidates and Conflicts

The spring of 2014 will be yet another in a restive line of transformative periods in the broader Middle East, for better or worse, as the region’s people continue their political overhaul by electing new presidents, parliaments, and constitution-drafting bodies. Eight Middle Eastern countries have elections scheduled in 2014, and most will proceed without external[…]