DemocracyPost: A few updates on the state of democracy around the world

Updates on the state of global democracy
Tracking democracy around the world
Tunisians take part in a demonstration against corruption on May 13, 2017 in the capital Tunis, against a bill that would allow officials being prosecuted for alleged corruption to be amnestied in exchange for reimbursing embezzled funds. / AFP PHOTO / Fethi BelaidFETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images First, a few updates on the current state of democracy around the world: Here in the United States, President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey has triggered further concern about the erosion of democratic norms. Though U.S. presidents are entirely within their legal rights to name or fire FBI directors, Trump’s own conflicting statements about the reasons for the firing have raised suspicions that the president might have acted in order to hinder the current investigation into ties between his election campaign and the Russians. In a statement he made on Sunday, former national intelligence director James Clapper declared that American democratic institutions are “under assault” by Trump – adding to a chorus of similar warnings from other quarters. In Venezuela, participants in anti-government demonstrations are now confronting an unfamiliar foe: the military. According to recent reports, the military has recently been involved in the arrest of a number of protesters, who were then tried by military tribunals. Human rights advocates warned that this such tactics could lead to widening of the rift between the government and its opponents.
Meanwhile, thousands took to the streets in Tunisia to protest a new “corruption amnesty bill” proposed by the government. Corruption was a trigger for the country’s Arab Spring protests back in 2010-2011, and has remained a lingering source of discontent even as Tunisians have moved ahead with the building of democratic institutions. In the Philippines, robbers breaking into a home claimed to residents that they had been “sent by Duterte,” an apparent reference to the Philippine president’s extralegal war on drugs. The robbers were apparently trying to mimic tactics used by the police in their efforts to crack down on drug dealers, a campaign that has taken thousands of lives. Western diplomats refused to attend a conference in Qatar attended by Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who was charged by the International Criminal Court with genocide and crimes against humanity nine years ago. At least, however, there was one bright moment in the global democracy story this week. Tuesday’s snap election in South Korea went off without a hitch as voters picked Moon Jae-in, a liberal opposition leader, as their new president. Moon takes power after the impeachment and arrest on corruption charges of Park Geun-Hye, his conservative predecessor in office, and amid intensifying tensions between North Korea and the United States.
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