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Democracy Lab Weekly Brief, Oct. 5, 2012

Democracy Lab Weekly Brief, Oct. 5, 2012

Reporting from Caracas, Daniel Lansberg-Rodriguez explores scenarios after this Sunday’s presidential vote in Venezuela. The main question: Will Hugo Chávez give up power if he loses?

Christian Caryl tells the story of an elementary school teacher in Sudan who faces execution because she had the courage to stand up to the regime. And Tom Malinowski of Human Rights Watch presents a gallery of similarly courageous but little-known activists from around the world.

On the scene in Tbilisi, James Kirchick reports on the surprising aftermath of Georgia’s parliamentary election — especially President Mikheil Saakashvili’s remarkable acceptance of his own defeat. And Kirchick’s dispatch from election day provides a vivid account of the tensions and hopes leading up to the vote.

In an excerpt from his new book, economist Justin Yifu Lin compares the experiences of transition economies and offers a few useful rules of thumb for reformers.

Christopher Stephen, on the scene in Benghazi, describes a local backlash against the militants who killed a popular U.S. ambassador.

In the run-up to Venezuela’s epochal election, Juan Nagel reports on the shifting balance of forces, while Francisco Toro takes a closer look at whether Hugo Chávez has improved the life of the country’s poor.

Reflecting on Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit to the United States, Min Zin takes her to task for neglecting to mention the country’s continuing civil war.

Endy Bayuni reports on the Indonesian Anti-Corruption Commission’s effort to take on one of the country’s most graft-ridden institutions: the police.

Mohamed El Dahshan investigates the absurdities of Egypt’s campaign against blasphemy.

And Jackee Batanda recounts the curious tale of a run-in between U.S. diplomats and a Ugandan general.

And now for this week’s recommended reads:

Democracy Digest explains why Georgia’s election offers a hopeful precedent for the surrounding region. Georgia-watcher Mark Mullen muses about Mikheil Saakashvili’s triumphs and mistakes.

A paper from the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance provides an in-depth look at Venezuela’s presidential election.

In a provocative op-ed, MIT scholar Brian Haggerty argues that those who argue for a "limited" intervention in Syria are likely to be proven wrong by conditions on the ground.

The International Crisis Group offers a handy backgrounder on Malaysia, where a long-anticipated general election may soon shake up the political landscape.

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Sadanand Dhume explains why he expects little from the new anti-corruption party just launched in India.

The Jamestown Foundation’s Igor Rotar worries that the explosive situation in Central Asia’s restive Ferghana Valley is likely to aggravate instability throughout the region.

A new book from Democracy Lab contributor Francisco Martin-Rayo tells of his travels through the terrorist recruiting grounds of Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia.

And finally, Jadaliyya offers a withering review of The Daily Show appearance of Jordan’s King Abdullah II, who, they say, is incorrectly portrayed as a reformist "constitutional monarch." You be the judge: You can find Part I of the interview here.