January 2, 2009

THE VOLUNTARY PATH TO DEMOCRACY LIES THROUGH KINGS AND GENERALS:

Democracy Returns To Bangladesh (G. Parthasarathy, 01.02.09, Forbes)

A little-lauded accomplishment of the Bush administration has been the success in 2008 of its agenda in South Asia to actively promote democratic governance. [...]

In Nepal, an absolute and despotic monarchy was replaced by a Republican democracy. In Bhutan, an enlightened monarchy graciously and voluntarily conceded power to a democratically elected assembly.

In the Maldives, an authoritarian president who had held office for three decades was voted out of power.

Finally, as the sun was setting on 2008, the people of Bangladesh delivered a stunning electoral verdict on Dec. 29 by inflicting a decisive defeat on the political parties they had voted to power in 2001.

Bangladesh presents a unique example in discrediting the widely held belief that impoverished and badly governed countries require a spell of authoritarian rule to address their problems.

The country’s military ruler, Gen. Moeen U. Ahmed--who reluctantly assumed power in January 2007 and wielded it from behind the scenes--appeared determined to usher in a political system with strict accountability, particularly in ending corruption.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 2, 2009 4:27 PM
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