Five years ago, the Maldives elected a new leader, Mohamed Nasheed, in the first free and fair balloting in the country’s history. But Nasheed was forced from office in 2012, and with his political and institutional rivals now threatening to scuttle fresh elections this weekend, the democratic gains of recent years hang in the balance.
Last Monday, a jeep plowed through a group of pedestrians on Beijing’s iconic Tiananmen Square, killing at least five people and injuring dozens before going up in flames beneath a portrait of Mao Zedong. Chinese officials promptly took control of the narrative, claiming that the event was a premeditated attack by members of the Uighur ethnic group, a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority from China’s northwest. Lest anyone suggest otherwise, the authorities arrested foreign journalists covering the scene and promptly censored discussions on Chinese social networks.
Freedom House expresses its concern about the November 5 trial of 20 Egyptians and 10 Emiratis accused of establishing a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United Arab Emirates. The charges show the government’s increasing effort to suppress criticism of the regime at the expense of the freedoms of expression and association.
Despite U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s call yesterday to “keep faith” with the Egyptian military’s roadmap to democratic rule, there has been virtually no substantive progress toward democracy in the country during the four months since the July 3 coup, according to the latest edition of Freedom House’s Egypt Democracy Compass.
Tymoshenko’s prosecution and imprisonment, criticized widely in the West, exemplify Yanukovych’s use of selective justice against his political opponents and the corruption of the legal system. His willingness to play a game of chicken with the European Union—hoping it will back down on its demand that she be freed as a precondition for signing the agreements at next month’s Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, because Ukraine is “too important” to leave to Russia’s sphere of influence—reflects his determination to place his political fortunes above the interests of his country. Click here to read David J. Kramer's op-ed for The American Interest.