By Thomas Risse, Freie Universität Berlin. Next to India, the elections for the European Parliament (EP) have been the second-largest democratic voting on the globe, with about 400 million citizens in 28 countries eligible to pick 751 members of parliament. The elections took place against the background of the Euro crisis threatening the core of European integration; austerity policies, the worst recession in decades and widespread (youth) unemployment in Southern Europe; and the crisis in the Ukraine and the Russian annexation of the Crimea.
As a result, many pundits predicted the rise of Euro-skeptical parties on the left and the right. Yet and contrary to what one reads in the media, the most important outcomes of the EP elections have little to do with Euro-skepticism. To begin with, voter turnout for the EP elections stabilized on the low level of 2009 with 43% (interestingly, German voters – by far the largest group of voters in Europe – reversed the trend and turned out in larger numbers than in 2009). In most countries and as always, the elections were not so much about Europe and the EU, but about national politics. Read the rest of this entry »
By Alexander Katsaitis, University College London. Despite “shocks” & “earthquakes” that took place at the national level, in particular in France and the UK where the far-right humiliated both the centre-right and socialists; this was not the case at the EU level. The European Parliament (EP) remains by at least 2/3 pro-EU with the leaders of the four major PGs agreeing on the importance of a stable parliament. These groups must now form alliances, select the next Commission President and develop a strategy to regain the electorate from the far-right.
The results have been less surprising than anticipated. Get detailed election results from the European Parliament here. Coming in first with 28% of the votes the centre-right Europe’s Peoples’ Party (EPP) is down almost 60 seats (approx. -7%), while all other major parties S&D (25%), ALDE (8.5%) and Greens (7%) have pretty much remained stable with small gains or losses. Eurosceptic parties have made advances but not to the extent initially projected. Read the rest of this entry »
By Krishna K. Tummala. India, the most populous working democracy in the world, completed elections to its 16th Parliament. Spreading over a six week period in nine phases, the election costs surpassed the last US Presidential election expense estimates of over $7billion. Of the over 814 million electors, 66 percent exercised their right to vote.
The election process was largely peaceful and fair. Among the 1,687 political parties registered with the Election Commission, candidates from 1650 parties were wiped out. Some established parties such as the Bahujan Swajwadi Party, the Communist Party of India, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and National Conference could not gain even a single seat. About six million voters used a rather unique option by voting NOTA— none of the above. What this means to Indian democracy other than an expression of distaste towards political aspirants in general is an imponderable. But among those elected were 61 women—a five percent gain from the previous Parliament. There was also a very peaceful transition, with a Prime Minister who served in that office for decade replaced on May 26th by Narendra Modi of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Read the rest of this entry »
By Rahul Mukherji, National University of Singapore. The ruling Congress Party received the thrashing of a lifetime when Indians went to the polls earlier this month. The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) scored its first resounding majority by winning 282 seats (out of 543) in the Indian Parliament on May 16. Incoming Prime Minister Narendra Modi must now manage three challenges: restoring high rates of growth, improving the efficiency of anti-poverty programs, and resisting pressure from Hindu nationalists within his own party.
The scale of the BJP’s victory is remarkable. Get election results from Election Commission of India. The 2014 Indian election is the first since 1984 when the Indian voter has given a clear majority to one party. The voter rose above caste, region and religious distinction in the most culturally diverse democracy, which is home to 840 million voters. This occurred despite the erstwhile ruling Congress Party’s record of initiating both India’s substantial tryst with economic deregulation and globalization since 1991; and more recently since 2004, the rise of noteworthy citizenship rights and welfare. Read the rest of this entry »
In the current issue of Governance, Matthew Flinders of the University of Sheffield reviews The Blunders of Our Governments by Anthony King and Ivor Crewe. It is an entertaining review of the “über-blunders of British government” between the 1980s and 2010, says Flinders. “The problem . . . is that this book arguably fails to engage with the challenges of governing in those decades.” Read the review.
Kim Moloney of Kyung Hee University reviews Development Aid Confronts Politics by Thomas Carothers and Diane de Gramont: “An important contribution” aiming to “tip foreign aid policy choices toward more overtly political or democracy-encouraging objectives.” Read the review.
And Deborah Gallagher of Duke University reviews Smog Check: Federalism and the Politics of Clean Air by Douglas Eisinger. It is “an engaging read that provides a unique perspective on a landmark environmental policy debate” over the regulation of automobile emissions. Read the review.
The conventional wisdom among government reformers is that transparency is a crucial device for improving accountability and reducing corruption. But the device doesn’t always work. In the current issue of Governance, Monika Bauhr and Marcia Grimes of the University of Gothenburg show that an increase in transparency in highly corrupt countries tends to breed resignation, rather than indignation over corruption. Bauhr and Grimes explain how our understanding of the link between transparency and corruption control “remains more anchored in normative conviction . . . than empirical investigation.” Read the article.
This is a working draft of a commentary By Sara Bice and Helen Sullivan of the Melbourne School of Government that will appear in the October issue of Governance. Leave your comments below or email the authors directly. The commentary will also be discussed at a roundtable at the Melbourne School of Government on May 20. More details about the roundtable.
Western approaches defined the 20th century emergence of policy studies as a distinctive scholarly field. In the 21st century, the ‘ascendance of Asia’ will demand critical reflection on how we define public policy, administration and governance; what public policy entails; and how it is managed and implemented. Will Harold Lasswell’s post-war vision of policy studies as a cross-cutting discipline capable of informing the decisions of industrial societies maintain salience? Or do the extraordinary changes wrought by globalisation demand a new orientation for policy studies?
We argue here that the construct, content and conduct of policy studies must respond to the challenges and opportunities of the ‘Asian Century.’ At its core, the ‘Asian Century’ presents a global milieu where economic, cultural, political, environmental and social issues will be heavily influenced by growth and activities in the Asian region. Only through acknowledging and responding to these influences might policy studies equip current and future public managers with the capabilities and skills necessary to create and manage policy successfully. Read the rest of this entry »