The spread of elections to all parts of the globe has been one of the most dramatic developments transforming our world during the twentieth century. Yet, as numerous reports have highlighted, the quality of contemporary contests commonly fails. Contentious elections undermine the legitimacy of elected authorities, political participation, and stability in fragile states. What happens when elections violate international standards of electoral integrity? Why do elections fail? And what can be done to mitigate these problems?
U.S. non-invasion troops deployed abroad often try to promote greater respect for human rights in the host country. The host country, having an incentive to retain the troop presence, may choose to comply with these requests. We argue that this effect will not be at play in states with high security salience for the United States (for which the U.S. may not be able to credibly threaten to remove the troops). In these cases, U.S. deployments will provide the leader with security from both internal and external threats that is independent of the local population’s support for the leader.
Democracy works when citizens can hold policy makers to accounts. Nowhere is this connection between the governed and their representatives more evident than the economy. Citizens expect strong economic performance from incumbents, and executives who fail to live up to popular expectations will feel the voter’s wrath at election time. But what if the criterion on which governments are judged—the economy—is fundamentally restructured? Such is the case in times of structural reform. Structural reforms change the way citizens evaluate politicians.
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After sweeping pro-market structural reforms in the 1990s, over the last twelve years Brazil has experienced an economic boom fuelled by commodity exports and credit expansion, making it the 7th largest economy in the world. Yet the Brazilian economy has faced severe challenges after the GFC. The coming Brazilian presidential and parliamentary elections represent a decisive moment for the Latin American giant. Will the newly elected government implement progressive policy leading to higher growth and macroeconomic stability?