Democracy Lab Weekly Brief , December 17, 2012

Democracy Lab Weekly Brief , December 17, 2012

Jakub Wisniewski gives the background to Poland’s remarkable economic success story.

In our latest case study published in conjunction with Princeton’s Innovations for Successful Societies, Laura Bacon and Rushda Majeed tell the story of a remarkable Sicilian mayor who decided to take back his city from the Mafia.

In this week’s column, Christian Caryl explains the lingering scandal behind the story of Alexander Lukashenko, Europe’s last dictator. Caryl also reports on the reasons why the U.S. government has decided to withhold its assent to the new UN telecommunications treaty that the Americans accuse of infringing on the freedom of the Internet.

Mohamed El Dahshan reports on the internal Muslim Brotherhood politics that are fueling the current unrest in Egypt. 

Adam Baron analyzes the problems that plague Yemen on the way to a planned national political dialogue.

Corey Brettschneider argues that the U.S. government should actively condemn hate speech as well as protecting the freedom of the word.

Endy Bayuni explores the reasons behind the current surge in union activism in Indonesia — including the surprising willingness of local governments to support wage hikes.

Juan Nagel mulls over the continuing speculation about a successor to cancer-plagued Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.  

And now for this week’s recommended reads:

The Project on Middle East Political Science offers a video conversation on the new Egyptian constitution with expert Nathan Brown.

At, Linda Herrera, Magdy Alabady, and Adel Iskandar analyze the political role of Mohamed El-Baradei in Egypt’s current political unrest.

Writing for the Jamestown Foundation, Wladimir van Wilgenburg explains why fighting between Kurdish groups and Arab rebels helps Bashar al-Assad.

The website of the pro-democracy group Girifna offers an update on the latest protests in Sudan.

Democracy Digest offers two useful takes on the situation in Venezuela amid renewed reports that President Hugo Chavez is again struggling with cancer. One post speculates on the fate of chavismo without Chavez. The second brings together commentary on the state of the opposition as speculation about the possibility of a post-Chavez Venezuela revs up again.

Anne Applebaum, writing in The Washington Post, posits that corruption is becoming the new galvanizing issue for activists around the world.

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty offers a breakdown on a Swedish documentary that tracks corruption linked with Gulnara Karimova, the daughter of the dictator of Uzbekistan.

The Monkey Cage features a post in which an array of political scientists weigh in on the function of legislatures in authoritarian regimes:

A new report from the International Crisis Group explains why Muslim insurgents are gaining ground on the government of Thailand in the country’s turbulent South.

A new U.N. report details illegal drug trends in Asia and the Pacific.