Articles on Authoritarianism

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Two autocrats: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, left, and Hungarian leader Viktor Orban, right, in Budapest, Hungary, Nov. 7, 2019. AP/Presidential Press Service

So you want to be an autocrat? Here’s the 10-point checklist

Today’s autocrats rarely use brute force to wrest control. A human rights and international law scholar details the modern authoritarian's latest methods to grab and hold power.
Mohammed Morsi, a member of the controversial Islamist political organization the Muslim Brotherhood, was Egypt’s first democratically elected president. He was overthrown in a coup in 2013 and died on trial this June. Reuters/Amr Dalsh

How two Islamic groups fell from power to persecution: Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and Turkey’s Gulenists

A few years ago, Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and Turkey's Gulenists were running the show. Now both religious movements face political repression. How did they fall so far, so fast?
Mayor of Istanbul Ekrem Imamoglu of the main opposition Republican People’s Party, on June 27, several days after his election. REUTERS/Kemal Aslan

Erdoğan’s control over Turkey is ending – what comes next?

Turkey's authoritarian leader, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, was handed a big defeat recently when his party's candidate lost a crucial election contest. Is this the beginning of Erdogan's demise?
Riot police at an anti-government march in Managua, Nicaragua, Oct. 14, 2018. Reuters/Oswaldo Rivas

One year after Nicaraguan uprising, Ortega is back in control

A massive protest movement exploded across Nicaragua in April 2018, threatening to topple the country's authoritarian regime. What happened to Central America's 'tropical spring?'
Campaign ads for Ali Bongo in his successful 2009 bid to succeed his father as president of Gabon. The Bongo family has lead Gabon uninterrupted for over 50 years. Reuters/Daniel Magnowski

As its ruling dynasty withers, Gabon – a US ally and guardian of French influence in Africa – ponders its future

Gabon's strongman president, Ali Bongo, is barely clinging to power after contested elections, a stroke and a coup attempt. The Bongo family has run this stable central African nation for 52 years.
The Algerian population has taken to the streets in a peaceful and nonviolent manner to protest against President Bouteflika’s running for a fifth term of office. Ryad Kramdi/AFP

Protesters in Algeria use nonviolence to seek real political change

Demonstrations against Abdelaziz Bouteflika have opened up a rare space for debate and self-expression – and could signal a change to a more free and involved civil society in Algeria.
A rally celebrating the second anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, March 18, 2016. AP/Ivan Sekretarev

Autocracies that look like democracies are a threat across the globe

Almost one-third of countries around the world are authoritarian regimes with the trappings of democracy. Their bad behavior poses a threat to real democracies, as the United States recently learned.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro created a new cryptocurrency called the ‘Petro’ to combat hyperinflation. Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Is authoritarianism bad for the economy? Ask Venezuela – or Hungary or Turkey

When an elected leader turns autocratic, the economy tends to suffer. That's because, in a functioning democracy, economic policy is made jointly, with lawmakers playing a key role.
Mauro still has enough money to buy the loyalty of Venezuela’s military — but his government is going bankrupt, so that will change. Reuters/Handout

Odds of military coup in Venezuela rise every day Maduro stays in office

A coup seems so imminent in Venezuela that people are debating whether Maduro's overthrow would be good or bad for Venezuelan democracy. But history suggests a coup may be less likely than it seems.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban addresses supporters after the parliamentary election in Budapest, Hungary, April 8, 2018. RREUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

How Viktor Orban degraded Hungary’s weak democracy

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has transformed from a liberal into an authoritarian leader who uses the tools of democracy to attack civil society. Hungarians are protesting in the streets.
Presidents have traditionally given Oval Office addresses during only the gravest of crises. AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Trump calls border a ‘crisis of the soul’: 3 scholars react to his Oval Office address

We asked experts on ethics, constitutional law and European political history to analyze Trump's Oval Office address. Here's what they heard in his speech about 'crisis' at the US-Mexico border.

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