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Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

Yesterday, I was so lucky to find in my mailbox lots of interesting readings. Just to mention the top three:

From the Mediterranean to the Hindu Kush: Rethinking the Region” by Stratfor.

This week issue of OpenDemocracy edited by the valuable colleague Dennis Nottebaum.

Indonesia and the development of its Islamic finance market by the Diplomat.

Enjoy!

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One of the key moments of 2011 Central Asian politics will be Kyrgyzstan presidential elections, on the 30th of October 2011. Current President Roza Otunbaeva announced that she won’t run for a new mandate. Otunbaeva became president in April 2010 as she was named to manage the transition following Kurmanbek Bakiev’s fall.

Until now, five candidates have registered for the competition. The deadline for registration is listed on the 15th of August. Current Prime Minister, Almazbek Atambayev, said he will decide whether running or not only in August. Among all the possible runners for these elections, Atambayev is considered the most likely winner if he would join the race. One of the problems he could experience is his lack of “political depth” in the southern part of the country, as he is a northern. Regional cleavages are getting more and more important in the definition of political balances in Kyrgyzstan and an increasing stressing of country’s internal divisions is the main risk the country must face nowadays. The overall situation for the country is somehow critical, not only its political as well as ethnic balances. Forbes has recently ranked Kyrgyzstan the 7th worst economy of the world. Kyrgyz economy has improved over the past few months but some problems still must be faced. For instance, inflation is the major issue to tackle on, as in the first three months of 2011 it reached 20.3%, the highest rate among the CIS states.  Only when the names of all candidates will be officially released, a more correct idea on the future of the country could be made. The risk of regional fragmentation is the true, serious and immediate challenge that Kyrgyzstan must face over the coming months and, since Central Asian ethnic and territorial balances are generally “fragile”, the way in which Bishkek will manage this “geopolitical task” could say more about the overall future of the region as well.

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Tunisia is experiencing a relatively difficult transition to democracy and the possible outcomes of this process are yet to be clearly assessed. The history of “transitions to democracy” has many examples of transitions ended achieving  “something” different than a proper and effective representative democracy. For instance, it was the case of the “coloured revolutions” sweeping through Eurasia in the first decade of 21st century. “Reverse waves” are not simple exceptions but are concrete, possible outcomes of political processes sparked by the end of authoritarian regimes. Among the countries affected by the Arab spring, Tunisia is by far the runaway winner until now, given also its notable political fundamentals which could ease the process to democracy. The true, major issue that Tunisian authorities must tackle is economy. Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi remarked that the economic situation is very bad, and the central bank warned that the country officially moved into recession after two consecutive quarters of  negative growth. Domestic troubles following the Jasmine revolution partially explain these problems. However, a greater role in current Tunisian troubles is played by stalemate in Libya. The regional refugee crisis as well as the problems experienced by the tourist sector are strictly related to the prolonged crisis in its neighboring country. Tunisian businessmen are much more worried about developments in Libya than from the current domestic situation. Therefore, Tunisia will be a very important test-case of how much economic factors will impact the ongoing political transition processes.

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