Pew interviewed people in 7 different countries and asked participants whether he or she would prefer a strong leader or a democratic form of government. The preference for a ‘strong leader’ over a democratic form of government was found in only two of the seven countries surveyed, Russia and Pakistan.
Overall, the poll results correspond roughly to the form of government that each country possesses with the exception of Pakistan, which seems to want to roll-back some of its democratic reforms. The wording of the question was as follows:
Some feel that we should rely on a democratic form of government to solve our country’s problems. Others feel that we should rely on a leader with a strong hand to solve our country’s problems. Which comes closer to your opinion?
A preference for a strong state hand in guiding affairs in Russia is not totally unsurprising given the success of Vladimir Putin’s multiple presidencies and the relative chaos of the post-Soviet/ Yeltsin-era.
Recent developments in Pakistan have painted a picture of a massive power struggle between the judiciary and the military. While traditionally the Pakistani courts have bowed to military pressure, judicial activists are more likely to use the bench as a political weapon to fight the perceived excesses of Pakistan’s powerful and influential military.
Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry is called the most powerful man in Pakistan by some and has toppled one Prime Minister and is on course to topple his successor. Yousuf Reza Gilani and Raja Pervez Ashraf have both found themselves in the judicial crosshairs for failing to follow court orders. This, of course, has had an immensely destabilizing effect on an already weakened government in control of nuclear weapons.