Asked by Matthew Rodrigues, from The George Washington University
Since the 1953 death of Saudi Arabia's eponymous founder, King Abdul-Aziz bin Saud, the country has been ruled by his sons. There will eventually be a shift in power to the next generation, but despite—or perhaps because of—the turmoil spreading across the region, that shift does not appear imminent.
"A return to protracted political crisis, and possibly extensive violence, is likely, as Zimbabwe holds inadequately prepared presidential, parliamentary and local elections on 31 July. Conditions for a free and fair vote do not exist. Confidence in the process and institutions is low. The voters roll is a shambles, security forces unreformed and the media grossly imbalanced. The electoral commission is under-funded and lacked time to prepare. Concerns about rigging are pervasive, strongly disputed results highly likely."
Hardly the blow to democracy that many painted it as, the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United will make American politics more competitive, less beholden to party bosses, and more responsive to the public at large. It may even help break the fiscal stalemate strangling the U.S. economy.
Asked by Michael Varacalli, from New York University
Robert Mugabe, age eighty-nine and in failing health, has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980. Zimbabwe faces numerous potential scenarios once he dies or, highly unlikely, if he is defeated in the upcoming summer elections.
After the disqualification of popular former president Rafsanjani, it's unclear which of the remaining, mostly conservative candidates will triumph in the June presidential election, says expert Farideh Farhi.
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