Elections have been trivialized in Iran. They allow for the expression of diversity, in particular ethnical and denominational, of historical regional identities, and prove the growing professionalization of political life. Paradoxically, such professionalization withdraws the Republic away into the levels of family, parenthood, autochthony, and even neighborhoods or devotional sociability, which are all institutions that instill a feeling of proximity, solidarity, communion; close to the notion of asabiyat. As the saying goes, the Islamic Republic has become a « parentocracy » (tâyefehsâlâri). The country’s industrial development isn’t at odds with such ponderousness since it lies on a web of very small family businesses. The analysis of the 2016 legislative elections in four wards reveals how important the issue of property is in political life, indivisible as it is of the various particularistic consciences. The connections with notables are still there, revealing lines of continuity with the old regime as well as longstanding agrarian conflicts that have not been erased by the Revolution and that are being kept alive through contemporary elections.

Alice Ekman

Since the Kuomintang returned to power in 2008, Beijing has adjusted its communication strategy towards Taiwan, while maintaining the same long-term goal of reunification. This strategy of rapprochement by seduction rather than by threat promotes the rapid growth of exchanges between the Chinese and Taiwanese populations at all levels: students, tourists, farmers, businessmen, academics, retired diplomats and military, politicians, etc. Especially, the multiplication of meetings between academics of both countries is creating new channels of communication over the Strait, allowing on the one hand to compensate for the lack of formal diplomacy between Beijing and Taipei, and on the other hand to compete with informal diplomatic links existing between Taiwan and several of its partners (US and Japan, mainly). These communication channels could ultimately reinforce Beijing’s strategy – and China keeps investing heavily in their development – but could also be used as a conduit to prevent and to manage crisis would tensions reappear in the Strait.

Gilles Lepesant

One week before the third Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius on November 28-29, 2013, Ukraine suspended the preparation of an association agreement with the European Union, which had been under negotiation since 2007. When the agreement was finally signed in June 2014, President Yanukovych had fled the country under people’s pressure, and the integrity of Ukraine was challenged in the East by separatists and their Russian allies. These events came paradoxically at a time when the country's cohesion seemed stronger than in the 1990s. Far from being divided into two parts, Ukraine consists of the pieces of broken empires that all have good reasons to join in the state, as recent as this one may be. Indeed, its geography, electoral or economic, does not show a split between two blocks, but various lines of division that do not necessarily herald the breaking up of the state. Since the independence, this diversity had never been translated into new institutions: for several reasons, the reshaping of the centralized regime inherited from the Soviet era was deemed untimely by the country’s political forces. Presented as a priority by the members of the Parliament elected in 2014, the reform of territorial government is being implemented while Ukraine’s driving regions are either paralyzed or threatened by war.