During the reporting period, the crackdown on opposition and civil liberties continued, as did the revolving door of arrests and disbarment of independent defence lawyers.

Even though the economic downturn since 2014, which happened due to falling oil prices, has forced the government to pay attention to the country’s poor economic diversification and mismanagement, these two problems, along with others, still pose serious problems for economic development.

The government has been even less successful in decentralizing the political system and facilitating democratic reform, including implementing the rule of law. The main obstacle is the government’s reliance on autocratic, patrimonial methods of rule.

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