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Journal of Democracy 13.2 (2002) 189-191
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News and Notes
Hong Kong "Election" Update
On 4 March 2002, Chinese premier Zhu Rongji signed a decree officially naming Tung Chee Hwa to a second five-year term as chief executive of Hong Kong. Tung won his second term when 714 members of the 800-seat Election Committee chose him as their only nominee for the post, effectively ensuring that he would stand unopposed. The Election Committee itself is chosen by Hong Kong's narrow electorate of 200,000 residents, most of whom are chosen from so-called functional constituencies heavily influenced by Beijing. (For background information, see William Overholt, "Hong Kong: The Perils of Semidemocracy," in the October 2001 issue of the Journal of Democracy.)
Noting the narrowness of the franchise and a recent Baptist University poll indicating that only 16 percent of respondents supported Tung's continuance in office, while 56 percent said they wanted him to go, Martin C.M. Lee of the Democratic Party of Hong Kong denounced the whole process as "phony," "a sham," and "an insult to the intelligence of the 6.5 million people of Hong Kong."
Egyptian Activist Released
Saad Eddin Ibrahim, an Egyptian sociologist and prodemocracy activist arrested in June 2000 and convicted of receiving foreign funding without permission, was granted a retrial on February 6 by Egypt's highest appeals court and released from prison. (For more details on the circumstances surrounding his arrest, see his "A Reply to My Accusers," in the October 2000 issue of the Journal of Democracy.) Dr. Ibrahim's supporters hope that this heralds the end of his ordeal.
On a related note, Freedom House recently announced that Dr. Ibrahim would receive its first Bette Bao Lord Prize for Writing in the Cause of Freedom. The award was given in recognition of his "intellectual [End Page 189] integrity and personal courage" in "zeroing in on such themes as the persecution of religious and ethnic minorities."
New Leadership Handbook
The Women's Learning Partnership, a U.S.-based NGO dedicated to empowering women in the developing world, recently published Leading to Choices: A Leadership Training Handbook for Women. The handbook, authored by Mahnaz Afkhami, Ann Eisenberg, and Haleh Vaziri, outlines a curriculum for interactive leadership workshops for women who aspire to create egalitarian, democratic, and pluralistic societies. (See www.learningpartnership.org.)
Balkan Think-Tank Meeting
On February 5, the National Endowment for Democracy, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Dayton Peace Accords Project sponsored an international workshop on "Securing the Balkans: The Unfinished Agenda." In addition to a keynote address by Mircea Geoana, foreign minister of Romania, subregional panels were held on Serbia, Montenegro, and Kosovo; Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina; and Albania and Bulgaria.
Elections in the DRC
The Electoral Institute of Southern Africa organized a workshop on January 20-24 in Kinshasa, entitled "Electoral Perspectives and the Process of Democratisation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: Lessons from the Southern African Development Community." The meeting focused on the possible lessons that the experience of Southern African countries might offer for future elections in Congo. The keynote address was given by Congolese president Joseph Kabila. (See www.eisa.org.za.)
Democratic Studies Awar
The Committee on Concepts and Methods of the International Political Science Association (IPSA) and the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO) in Mexico City have announced a new triannual Award for Conceptual Innovation in Democratic Studies. The award will be given every three years at the IPSA World Congress, beginning in July 2003. Any category of formal publication may be submitted, and the ideas of "conceptual innovation" and "democratic studies" are to be understood broadly. For more information, see www.concepts- methods.org.
Report on NED's International Forum
On January 11, the Journal of Democracy and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace cosponsored a talk by Thomas Carothers, vice-president for studies at Carnegie, on "Democracy Promotion: [End Page 190] the End of the Transition Paradigm?" (Carothers's article on the same topic appeared in the January 2002 issue of the Journal.) The event was moderated by...