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On Tuesday April 9, the Libyan General National Congress (GNC) voted to amend the Constitutional Declaration, the interim legal charter that's filling the gap while the country's future constitution is being drafted and ratified, to provide the controversial "isolation law" with constitutional immunity in the face of Supreme Court opposition. The amendment is a breach of judicial sovereignty and tantamount to directly undermining Libya's transition to democracy.
In the run-up to a crucial general election in Malaysia, Deborah Loh profiles Nurul Izzah Anwar, the daughter of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and the hope of a new generation of reformers.
Anna Nemtsova reports on the Russian resort town of Sochi, where some inhabitants are suffering from the construction of the new Olympic city.
Thor Halvorssen and Gary Kasparov profile Miguel Hernández, a Venezuelan man who has faced years of legal trouble because he wore a Bart Simpson shirt criticizing Hugo Chávez.
Rula al-Saffar assails the Bahraini authorities for targeting doctors who try to help protestors.
Isobel Coleman breaks down critiques of the little explained BRICS bank into ten simple questions.
Juan Nagel looks at the many mysteries surrounding Venezuelan presidential-elect Nicolás Maduro.
Maikel Nabil Sanad reveals the unique partnership springing up between Egyptian and Israeli objectors to mandatory conscription.
And now for this week's recommended reads:
The April issue of the Journal of Democracy analyzes the relationship between Islamists and democracy, the role of armies in revolutions, and a series of lessons from Latin America.
In a piece for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Mahmoud Salem contends that the International Monetary Fund shouldn't loan additional funds to Egypt without putting more pressure on President Morsy. Bradley Hope, reporting for the United Arab Emirates' The National, describes Egypt's efforts to track down the money squirreled away by the family of deposed dictator Hosni Mubarak. And a Chatham House report by Anthony F. Lang argues for greater realism when assessing post-revolutionary efforts to write a new Egyptian constitution.
The Atlantic Council's Faysal Itani discusses the political ramifications of Jordan's deepening economic challenges.
Jadaliyya's Fabio Merone presents the results of his interviews with a young leader of Tunisia's Ansar al-Sharia
Reporting for Time, Justin Bergman asks if Burma can avoid the curse of sex tourism.
In Americas Quarterly, Democracy Lab contributors Thor Halvorssen and Javier El-Hage argue that the Venezuelan electoral commission is showing its weakness by blocking the Organization of American States from monitoring the presidential election.
The crisis mapping group Ushahidi releases the results of its survey of hate speech during the recent presidential campaign in Kenya.
Writing for Foreign Policy's Middle East Channel, Mark Beissinger, Amaney Jamal, and Kevin Mazur present the findings of the Arab Barometer's survey of political participation during the Arab Spring.
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Venezuela's vice president, Nicolás Maduro, has just barely managed to ride a wave of emotion triggered by the death of the late ex-president Hugo Chávez to claim victory as his successor. On Sunday, Maduro beat opposition leader Henrique Capriles by a little over one percentage point (roughly 200,000 votes), according to the official tally. Maduro now faces two problems: First, his margin of victory was much smaller than what recent polls were suggesting, and second, Capriles is not accepting the results.
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Unless opposition challenger Henrique Capriles pulls off an upset, Venezuela's acting president Nicolás Maduro will wake up Monday morning as Venezuela's president-elect. He would be completing the late Hugo Chávez's term, which lasts until 2019. But despite their willingness to have Maduro lead the country for the next six years, many Venezuelans are asking themselves: Who is this man exactly?
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In what might be a first for history, a group of Egyptian conscientious objectors protested in Cairo last Tuesday for the freedom of a Jewish Israeli citizen. Representing the "No to Compulsory Military Service" movement, while simultaneously promoting the right of Israel to exist, the peace activists came out to Talaat Harb Square, just meters from Tahrir Square, to support the rights of their fellow objector, Natan Blanc.
Maikel Nabil Sanad
Srdja Popovic and Mladen Joksic explain why humor is proving one of the most powerful weapons in the battle against autocracy.
Mohamed El Dahshan takes the Egyptian government to task for its crackdown on satirist Bassem Youssef.
Matt Andrews argues that institutional reform efforts are more likely to succeed when they incorporate local knowledge and interests.
Peter Murrell urges Mongolia to set tough terms for investors if it wants to maintain healthy growth over the long term.
In the run-up to this Sunday's presidential election in Venezuela, Juan Nagel analyzes weaknesses in the campaign of opposition leader Henrique Capriles.
And Mohamed Eljarh reports on why Libya's justice minister is standing his ground despite recent attacks by power-hungry militias.
And now for this week's recommended reads:
In a new report, Human Rights Watch accuses Côte d'Ivoire of failing to hold the guilty parties accountable following post-election violence in 2010.
The Egypt Independent reports that President Morsy's recent trip to Sudan (pictured above) has been delcared a success, citing agreements on several investment projects with President Omar al-Bashir, an accused war criminal.
International Crisis Group offers recommendations on how to avoid conflict through security sector reform.
Lauren Wolfe reports in The Atlantic that Syria's massive rape crisis is creating a nation of traumatized survivors.
Dilek Kurban and Ceren Sozeri of Turkish think tank TESEV offer recommendations on improving the climate for independent media in Turkey.
The Guardian showcases the realities of modern-day slavery around the world.
In The Daily Beast, David Keyes argues that allowing women to ride bikes should scarcely count as a significant reform of gender apartheid in Saudi Arabia.
The Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies identifies several threats to a sustainable peace agreement between Serbia and Kosovo.
Democracy Lab contributor Matt Andrews writes in The Guardian that the real "heroes" of development are not who we think they are.
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Henrique Capriles, the opposition candidate trying to replace the late Hugo Chávez in next week's special election, made "a big announcement" last Tuesday. One of his main campaign spokesmen, Ramón Guillermo Aveledo, told the media that they had recently discovered the ruling party had the passwords to the voting machines used by Venezuela's official electoral commission, the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE).
Transitions is the group blog of the Democracy Lab channel, a collaboration between Foreign Policy and the Legatum Institute.