Returning the aging and ailing Abdelaziz Bouteflika to the presidency for a fourth term, the April 17 elections in Algeria delivered few surprises—much to the relief of the United States, France and the Algerian economic and political elite. At the same time, some Algerians questioned the legitimacy of the electoral process, whether by staying home in large numbers or through violent clashes in Kayblia, the Berber region in the northeast. Bouteflika’s supporters at home and abroad repeatedly underlined the necessity of stability in Algeria, a country with violent Islamist movements in the Sahara and one that suffered an exceedingly bloody […]

At a parliamentary group meeting today, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed his country’s courts for acting as part of a parallel state undermining his government. Erdogan’s remarks were the latest maneuver in an ongoing struggle between Turkey’s judiciary and the prime minister and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), a contest that Michael Koplow described in an article for World Politics Review in January. With the dispute showing no signs of flagging, WPR spoke via email with Koplow, program director at the Israel Institute and the author of the blog Ottomans and Zionists, to review the latest […]

A panel discussion on Thursday organized by the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at the New York University School of Law discussed options for U.S. policy toward Uganda, after relations were ruffled by a new Ugandan law signed in February that imposes harsh legal penalties, including life sentences, for homosexual acts. As the U.S. moves forward with its promised review of its relationship with Uganda, the question is whether the Obama administration can produce an effective response to the new law or if the U.S. will be boxed into a narrow response that feeds perceptions of American imperialism. […]

The ruling Fidesz party of Hungary’s populist prime minister, Viktor Orban, won 45 percent of the vote in general elections on April 7, trouncing the left-liberal opposition in a poll that also saw the vote share of the far right top 20 percent. “The outcome of the elections is an obvious, unambiguous mandate for us to continue what we have begun,” said Orban after the results were announced. What might this continuation entail? Over the past four years, Orban has followed a course that his critics at home and abroad say is authoritarian, centralizing and nationalist; they warn of a […]

Advocates working to end a sad chapter in American history were given new hope last year when President Barack Obama renewed his push to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. The substantive challenges to closing the prison remain, though events have shifted the risk calculus to favor closure. And even though the president is in a far weaker position politically than he was when he took office, different public attitudes on national security issues should make it easier to close Guantanamo. What seemed a hopeless and nearly forgotten project for Obama a year ago—closing Guantanamo by the end of his […]

Workers in the Seagate factory in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, China (Photo by Wikimedia user Robert Scoble, licensed under the Creative Commons 2.0 Attribtion license).

Since the Fourth United Nations World Conference on Women and the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action in 1995, many governments and international development institutions have expressed their commitment toward gender equality goals. Most development actors and policymakers, however, remain focused on a narrow interpretation of women’s empowerment and often argue for “investing in women and girls” as a means to achieve poverty reduction and GDP growth, rather than as an end in itself and as a matter of social justice. For example, the main argument behind the slogan “gender equality is smart economics” coined by the World Bank […]