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Test Your Knowledge of Emerging Democracies

By Mike Santa Rita
Maryland Newsline
Friday, Feb. 4, 2005

Iraq's elections are catching the world's attention, but the last decade and a half has seen fledgling democracies take hold from the former Soviet bloc, to Africa, to Latin America. Test your general knowledge of the world's newest democracies.

1. In 1994 South Africa held its first democratic election. Who became the nation's first democratically elected president?

Thabo Mbeki
Nelson Mandela
F.W. De Klerk
Indira Ghandi

2. In 1990 Chile ended 17 years of rule by a military dictator following a public vote. In 1998 the former dictator was arrested in London on charges of human rights violations. Who is he?

Fidel Castro
Hugo Chavez
Augusto Pinochet
Vicente Fox

3. Which religious leader declared voting a religious duty in Iraq’s recent elections?

Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini
Sheik Moqtada al-Sadr
Pope John Paul II
Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Husaini Sistani

4. The first democratically elected Russian president withstood a coup attempt in August 1991, rallying the public to denounce the military intervention. Who was he?

Mikhail Gorbachev
Vladimir Putin
Boris Yeltsin
Alexander Lebed

5. In 1996 the Taliban offered current Afghan president Hamid Karzai a post as its representative to the United Nations. True or False?


6. In 1998, the same year that the nation held its first successful elections, Cambodia’s former Communist dictator Pol Pot died under house arrest. What was the name of his guerilla organization?

Khmer Rouge.
Viet Cong.

7. Which former police state’s popular uprising was dubbed the “Orange Revolution," ultimately reversing the results of a contested election and making Viktor Yushchenko its president?

Czech Republic

8. East Timor achieved independence and Xanana Gusmao was elected its first president in what year?


9. One of the poorest nations in the world, this sub-Saharan African nation democratically elected its first president, Mamadou Tanja, in 1999. Which nation is it?


10. Which playwright became the president of the Czech Republic following the “Velvet Divorce” of 1993?

Alexander Pushkin
Vaclav Havel
Samuel Beckett
William Shakespeare


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Published 02/04/05; last updated: 02/04/05 03:02 PM

Special report produced by Sonia Kumar, Kim Harris and Kathleen Johnston; edited by Chris Harvey (Web) and Steve Crane and Adrianne Flynn (print). Banner graphic by Sonia Kumar.

Copyright © 2005 University of Maryland College of Journalism. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


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