Democracy

Anwar in the wings as Malaysia remakes its democracy

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The elevator to the office of Anwar Ibrahim’s nondescript office pronounces “I’m back.” But will the former political prisoner become national leader any time soon? Donald K. Emerson Asia Times Bedecked with skyscrapers, Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur is a high-rise city. In that lofty context, the headquarters of the People’s Justice Party (PKR) are down to earth. They occupy one in a row of nondescript low-rise buildings unfashionably far from downtown. Even the lettered number of the floor that includes ... Read More »

NEW EU CRISIS: Poland threatens bloc chaos with CRUCIAL referendum

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THE European Union is facing fresh crisis after Poland’s president pushed forward the prospect of holding a vote on the nation’s EU membership this autumn. Alice Scarsi Express Andrzej Duda has laid out plans to directly ask his citizens about the country’s relations with Brussels. The referendum would ask Polish people whether or not the nation’s membership of the bloc should be guaranteed in the constitution. And another question would see them asked whether they think the primacy of the ... Read More »

Turkey’s Election Reinvigorates Debate over Kurdish Demands

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Ahead of Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections on 24 June, opinion polls suggest a tighter race than many anticipated. ICG The country’s Kurds could be kingmakers, prompting politicians of different stripes to court their votes and… What’s new? Snap presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey appear likely to be more closely fought than anticipated. The country’s Kurds could affect the outcome of both contests. Politicians, especially those opposing President Erdoğan and… Why does it matter? Debate on Kurdish issues has ... Read More »

What’s next for the West?

Members of Oxfam dressed as the G7 leaders protest in Quebec City on June 9, 2018, during the G7 Summit. (Photo by Alice Chiche / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ALICE CHICHE/AFP/Getty Images)

Double, double toil and trouble. Politico Wrecking ball or master negotiator? Either way, Donald Trump is rewriting the rules of international diplomacy. In the span of just a few days, the U.S. president blew up the G7 summit and signed a nuclear deal with North Korea. Europe was left reeling. POLITICO asked experts what’s next for the West. The West is finished Ulrike Guérot is founder and director of the think tank European Democracy Lab and professor for European policy and the study of democracy ... Read More »

‘World will see a major change:’ Kim, Trump sign declaration

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First-ever North Korea-US summit was an optical success but a substantive failure with a vague, non-tangible outcome Nile Bowie and Andrew Salmon Asia Times The hugely anticipated, first-ever summit between North Korea and the United States – two states which remain technically at war, and which last year appeared on the brink of renewed combat ­– has been declared a… In a joint declaration, both sides agreed to upgrade relations. North Korea committed to complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, ... Read More »

How Democratic Is the Euro?

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If the European Union is to remain viable and democratic at the same time, policymakers will have to pay closer attention to the demanding requirements of delegating decisions to unelected bodies. Dani Rodrik Project Syndicate They should promote such a delegation of sovereignty only when it truly enhances the long-term performance of their democracies. SAN SERVOLO, ITALY – When Italy’s president recently vetoed the appointment of the Euroskeptic Paolo Savona as finance minister in the government proposed by the Five ... Read More »

Security bill will muzzle human rights activists

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In this era of so-called “fake news”, civil society plays a critical role in holding governments to account. Claire O’Rourke Brisbane Times And yet, with Labor capitulating to the government on the proposed National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill, it may soon become a crime to hold the Australian government to account on its human rights record. The truth itself would not be a defence. By joining regimes around the world in passing new, restrictive laws attempting ... Read More »

Is the global economy just a giant debt scam? What the financial elite doesn’t want you to know

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Yanis Varoufakis saw power up close. He says capitalism is dead, democracy is crumbling and we’re ruled by debt Andrew O’Hehir Salon Why is the world the way it is, and how did it get that way? One book I read in the past year explained more about that question than any other, and it wasn’t about Donald Trump or the rise of the far right or the endangered state of democracy — or at least not directly. Beneath the ... Read More »

The European Union’s Big, Unhappy Family

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The UK isn’t the EU’s only “problem child.” Gary Younge The Nation Back in January, German Chancellor Angela Merkel entertained the press corps with tales of a bizarre non-negotiation she’d conducted with British Prime Minister Theresa May. “Make me an offer,” May kept telling Merkel. To which Merkel would reply: “But you’re leaving—we don’t have to make you an offer. Come on, what do you want?” To which May would retort: “Make me an… Five months later… The European Union… Read More »

Keep calm – the Top Guns of Brexit have got our backs

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Here’s hoping the EU negotiations can be fixed with a little psychopathic machismo. Because the Tories are awash with it. Marina Hyde The Guardian Barely two weeks after Russian phone pranksters taped him being indiscreet, I see Boris Johnson’s been the victim of another leaked recording. Speaking at a private dinner for Conservative Way Forward, the foreign secretary asked his audience not to panic during the coming Brexit “meltdown”, warned we may not get the Brexit we want, and… Secret recordings are the… ... Read More »

Increasing the Stakes in DR Congo’s Electoral Poker

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A moment of waning international attention has led some in President Kabila’s camp to revisit the idea of an internationally-opposed third presidential term. Nairobi/Brussels ICG African and Western leaders must maintain unity, redouble efforts to dissuade Kabila from pursuing this course and ensure preparations for elections in 2018 continue apace. What’s new? Allies of President Joseph Kabila suggest increasingly overtly that he could seek a third term in office; international actors, led by Angola, firmly reject that idea. Meanwhile, preparations ... Read More »

NATO welcomes ceasefire with Taliban, calls for peace talks

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed on Thursday Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s unconditional ceasefire with the Taliban, and he called on the militants to lay down their arms and negotiate a peace… “The announcement of a ceasefire shows the seriousness of President Ghani and the Afghan government … I call on the Taliban to join the ceasefire,” Stoltenberg told… “The Taliban will not win on the battlefield. The only way for them to achieve a solution is to ... Read More »

Countering the Challenge of Closing Civic Space

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Since 2012, 72 countries around the world have passed more than 144 pieces of legislation restricting civil society, according to a new report exploring how donors can effectively support civic space. Wendy Williams ProBono The report, Effective Donor Responses to the Challenge of Closing Civic Space published by The International Centre for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL), set out to examine what can be done to respond to and counter the closing civic space challenge more effectively. It revealed there had been ... Read More »

Israeli Parole Board Denies Palestinian Teen Ahed Tamimi Early Release

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Board says Tamimi, imprisoned for slapping an Israeli soldier, lacks remorse and remains dangerous Yotam Berger Haaretz A parole board has rejected a request by Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian teenager who received an eight-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to assaulting an Israeli soldier, for an early release. The Shin Bet security service issued an opinion in the case opposing her release. “The statements she has made about the case indicate her radical ideology, [and] along with the security situation in the ... Read More »

Zimbabwe: Lack of Reform Risks Credible Elections

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President Mnangagwa Should Act on Pledge for Free, Fair Vote (Harare) – The Zimbabwe government’s failure to carry out legal and electoral reforms threatens the credibility of national elections scheduled for July 30, 2018. HRW Despite President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s repeated promises that elections will be free and fair, the ability of voters to freely choose their leaders is in serious doubt. Human Rights Watch research in May, including interviews across the country, found that security force involvement in the electoral ... Read More »

Bangladesh body count mounts; group urges U.N. action to stop drug war

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DHAKA/MUMBAI (Reuters) – The death toll in a Bangladeshi “zero tolerance” crackdown on drugs has risen to 140, with about 18,000 people arrested, the government said on Thursday, as a group of activists urged the United Nations to step in to stop the… Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina approved the anti-narcotics campaign in early May to tackle the spread of methamphetamines but the killings have raised fears among rights groups of a bloody Philippine-style campaign to wipe out… “In a manner… ... Read More »