New Democrat

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Blog   |   Singapore

Lee Kuan Yew's legacy

What to make of Singapore's first and former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, who died Monday morning in the city-state? Under the banner of the People's Action Party, Lee held government power for three decades. After stepping away from the prime minister's office in 1990, he held positions of senior minister and later "minister mentor" until 2004, when his son, Lee Hsien Loong, became prime minister. Under their rule (and the interregnum of Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong--not a Lee family member, but hand-picked for the role, with the elder Lee looming over his shoulder for 14 years), Singapore emerged from Southeast Asia's post-Second World War tumult as its most successful economy, a combination of authoritarian government, democratic trappings, and free markets that some predict will be the next century's model for growth and stability. And Singapore's media policies are being replicated across much of Southeast Asia.

Blog   |   Liberia

In Liberia, needy media strained to cover election campaign

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first female head of state, is up for reelection in October. (AFP)

Last week in steamy, rain-soaked Monrovia, anticipation for the World Cup aside, I could already sense the buzz building around presidential elections scheduled for October of 2011. In the coming contest—only the second presidential election since the end of the civil war—Liberians will decide whether to reelect Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first female head of state, for a second term. Just as the daily downpours fill the potholes that mar almost every road in Liberia, giving the illusion of a smooth passable surface, Liberia’s airwaves and newspapers will soon be filled with the political propaganda of the candidates.

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