Project on Middle East Democracy
The POMED Wire Archives
Tunisia: Ben Ali Shuffles Cabinet, Freedom House Urges Restraint
December 30th, 2010 by Jason
Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali
has appointed new ministers of youth and sports, trade and handicrafts, religious affairs, and communications following the recent protests. The Daily Star reports that the opposition Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) is calling for the removal of the interior minister as well. “
PDP founder Nejib Chebbi told a news conference that the two ministers (of communications and interior) ’symbolize the policy of hardening, violence and media clampdown’ and said they failed to handle a legitimate protest movement and allowed it to degenerate into violence.” Freedom House released a statement today calling on the Tunisian government to “refrain from the unnecessary use of force against peaceful protesters and to respect the fundamental rights of its people, including the right to freely express dissenting opinions.” Meanwhile, Egyptian activists are planning to rally on Sunday in solidarity
with the Tunisian protesters.
Egypt: “Rigging With a Hint of Elections”
December 29th, 2010 by Jason
In a new article at Middle East Report Online, Mona El-Ghobashy
details the numerous flaws in Egypt’s recent parliamentary elections saying that they “defied expectations, not because the ruling National Democratic Party again dominates Parliament but because of the lengths to which it proved willing to go to engineer its monopoly.” The elections came at a time of “aggressive economic transformation,” and “intense public anger about corruption scandals involving figures at the peak of the regime,” forcing the regime to rely on its “tool kit of electoral skullduggery.” El-Ghobashy acknowledges that the regime’s desire to “stage manage” the upcoming presidential election was a factor in the heavy handed way in which it went about ensuring overwhelming victory for the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), but she adds that a desire on the part of the NDP to set up a “legal framework” that prepares “public assets for delivery into private hands,” was also a driving factor.
IFES Releases First Paper in Series on Electoral Fraud
December 15th, 2010 by Jason
The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) has released
the first (pdf) in a series of three white papers on electoral fraud. From the introduction: “IFES is producing this white paper series to address the rising concern throughout the democracy and governance (D&G) community about the effects of electoral fraud on developing nations. […] Through this paper series, IFES seeks to…provide the D&G community with the necessary tools to combat electoral fraud.” The first paper focuses on “fraud in new democracies, provides a definition for fraud (as opposed to corruption or malpractice), and assesses how international democratic standards intersect with the prevention of electoral fraud.”
Transparency International Releases 2010 Global Corruption Barometer
December 9th, 2010 by Evan
Transparency International (TI) released the 2010 Global Corruption Barometer today. The results indicate that while corruption is on the rise across the 86 countries surveyed, so is the willingness of citizens to report incidents of bribery and graft. In contrast to the TI’s Corruption Perception Index, the Global Corruption Barometer is an attempt to account for the experiences of ordinary citizens with corruption. Across the Middle East, 36% of respondents said they had paid bribes regularly over the past year (the only geographic area with worse figures was Sub-Saharan Africa). In Iraq, 56% percent of those surveyed said they had paid bribes, while 52% of Palestinians said they had personal experience with corruption.
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