The Model Tyrant – Paul Kagame and the trade-off between democracy and success

Rwanda’s Paul Kagame may be one of Africa’s most complex leaders, from having been called “one of the greatest leaders of our time” by Bill Clinton to being seen as a ruthless dictator by others. It is clear that the man, who lifted Rwanda from the devastation of the 1994

Western Sahara: Disputed Land and Still a Grey-Zone to the International Community

When looking at most maps, it is possible to spot a land just west of the Sahara desert, squeezed in between Mauritania, Algeria and Morocco. It says “Western Sahara” and lines are drawn to separate it from neighboring countries. Although, when looking north towards Morocco the line is often dashed,

Popular Populism – The Success of Populist Parties Explained

Populism has existed since the dawn of politics and many historical consequences – ‘good’ and ‘bad’ – have been ascribed to it. Presently, Europe is experiencing a surge of popularity towards populist parties, often dubbed right-wing, which in turn leaves conventional parties struggling to remain in power. Ideology aside, the

Safe or sorry: China’s struggle to balance an increasing population with decreasing pesticides

When we think about Chinese food, we often recall the greasy, mouth-watering, and delicious stir fry rice of our favourite take a-way place. Usually cheap, fast, around the corner, and open 24/7; good for midnight cravings or during around the clock work to meet a deadline. But in China, where

Lobbying in the Name of Democracy

View of the EU district, Brussels. Source: John & Mel Klots, FlickrThere are 15,000 active lobbyists in Brussels according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). These 15 000 lobbyists are divided between 3 000 different groups that are all stationed in Brussels. They work every day to try to influence the commissioners and lawmakers of the European Union, by trying to sway them into making decisions that would benefit their organizations. In anticipation of the first ever EU anticorruption report, which is expected to be published in November this year, one may start to question the influence of these groups and the EU’s approach to them. Can the lobbyists be considered representative of the people, thereby protecting public interests, where citizens are given a chance to communicate with the lawmakers directly? Or do they pose a potential threat to democracy? How fine is the line between lobbying and corruption?

By Erik Roshagen