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Crikey Clarifier: why are Hong Kongers protesting in the streets?

Some 160,000 people have flooded the streets of Hong Kong to demand real democracy. Crikey intern Luke Mortimer finds out what the protests are all about.

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Putin a 21st-century tsar, with Russians happy to trade freedoms for security

Russia’s default state is not that of a democracy; its authoritarianism has deep roots. And Russians are more than happy to trade liberties for security, says political academic Thomas Ambrosio.

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Part-time pollies: which is Australia’s laziest Parliament?

Australia’s parliaments will sit on average for fewer than 50 days this year. We name the laziest, and explain why our part-time parliaments are bad for democracy.

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Chinese democracy? Let’s put it to a vote

Crikey readers have a lot to say about whether China should become a democracy.

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Burma backgrounder: it is not a democracy (yet)

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is in Australia not just to thank those who have supported her. She’s heading up a strategic, concrete push to bring democracy to Myanmar via constitutional reform.

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Crikey Calling: everything you need to know about the election

With an election in the air, Crikey’s Bernard Keane and Cathy Alexander mull over the issues and who’ll win — with a startling diversion into chaos theory. And Bernard sneaks in a plea for voluntary voting.

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Zimbabwe elections, where ghosts vote and Facebook rules

Zimbabwe heads to the polls today — but the iron grip of Robert Mugabe, and the passive state-controlled media, is feeding fears the election will not be fair. Some are fighting back.

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Lowy results underline the need for foreign policy experts

Australians are not all that keen on democracy — just as well, as they don’t seem to be really sure what democracy is. The Lowy report into our attitudes contains some troubling trends.

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‘Softly-softly’ policy on Vietnam sparks debate

A visit by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Vietnam on July 10 has drawn a stark contrast to Australia’s “softly softly” approach on Vietnamese human rights.

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Lord of a mess: UK fails democracy challenge

The Cameron-Clegg government has been forced into ignominious retreat on its plan to reform the House of Lords, raising questions about democratic reform in the UK.

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Why does Australia hate democracy?

The latest Lowy Institute poll contains an alarming statistic for lovers of democracy. Rob Burgess of Business Spectator wonders why we hate our system of government.

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Mackerras: our democracy is the least-worst of the bunch

Al Smith, failed 1928 Democratic candidate for the US presidency, said “all the ills of democracy can be cured by more democracy”. Looking at recent elections in Greece and Australia, he was mostly right.

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Rundle: our Greek tragedy is that democracy in Australia is broken

The Greek crisis has got me thinking about Australian politics again. Is our system of government little more than an electoral dictatorship?

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In people power, there is hope yet for the Middle East

The Arab people’s hunger for the universal values of dignity, justice and freedom is no less potent than that of the Eastern European or South American people, writes Professor Fethi Mansouri, Director of the Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation at Deakin University.

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When democracy smiles at me, I go to Rio

The biggest general election of 2010 takes place on Sunday when Brazil, the world’s fifth-largest country, elects its new president, congress, governors and state legislatures. Democracy works well in Brazil.

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The topic is cancer — the 2010 election and the collapse of political legitimacy

A series of cave-ins, ducked battles, and soft options by the people who controlled parties, papers and powers, and a refusal to stand up to the genuinely malign, has brought us to this point.

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The trashing of Brand Rudd

Gott ist tot!

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I don’t think we’re in 7.30 Reportland any more Toto

poke poke

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Newsweek | ASIA-PACIFIC|

The new global middle class: they’re not like “us”

Developing countries are developing their own middle classes — but they’re not “liberal, democratic, market-friendly bastions not only of Western-style consumerism but also of political liberty” “we” might like them to be, says Newsweek.

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Fighting the Burma genocide

An incredible, in-depth look at the activists attempting to promote democracy in Burma and chronicle the human rights abuses occurring under the junta. Mac McClelland visits the Karen freedom fighters trapped in Thai refugee camps.

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Business Spectator | ECONOMY|

Kohler: Why China won’t save the world

China’s economic growth will not be a panacea to the world’s financial woes so long as it remains a largely undemocratic state, says Alan Kohler: it isn’t a consumer society, and the export dollars just aren’t there.

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Economist | EUROPE|

Former communist countries don’t like capitalism

Twenty years ago the Berlin Wall fell and communism in Eastern Europe crashed down with it. Except, capitalism and democracy are less popular now in Russia, Czech Republic and East Germany than they were in 1991. What, greed isn’t good?

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Online Opinion | FEDERAL|

Political twits no win for democracy

So you read KRudd’s tweets and watch his YouTube vids. Unfortunately, social media isn’t improving our political knowledge or changing our political opinions, writes Greg Barns.

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Online Opinion | NSW|

Click the vote: politics 2.0

Can an open source government work? An electorate in NSW has $300,000 and an online public vote system for choosing which local programs get funded. Want a new oval? Get voting.

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Bill Clinton: How to export democracy

Bill Clinton on the trouble with selling other countries on constitutional democracy: you have to look after the “losers and the loners”.

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