Democracy

Comment: For Britain’s sake, Theresa May, just go

Video provided by Sky News Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft. So now we know. Joseph Harker The Guardian With the clock ticking rapidly towards 29 March, Theresa May’s Brexit has been defeated – and in devastating style. This was the worst government defeat in British history. The contradictions and dissembling the prime minister engaged in over the past ... Read More »

Improving Prospects for a Peaceful Transition in Sudan

Popular protests are rumbling across Sudan, shaking President Omar al-Bashir’s 30-year grip on power. ICG The authorities have cracked down hard and, as the demonstrations intensify, they may ratchet up the repression. External powers should urge restraint and offer Bashir a way to the exit. What’s new? Protests across Sudan flared up as the government cut a vital bread subsidy. Economic grievances are fuelling demands for political change, with protesters calling on President Omar al-Bashir, in power since 1989, to ... Read More »

Ethiopia: Abiy Ahmed brings new hope, but faces some familiar, old problems

Many countries in Africa have suffered because of the gerontocratic nature of their politics, an issue I have often lamented. Stephen Chan The Conversation Some “elders”, such as Robert Mugabe, lost touch with modern statecraft and the changing conditions of life – and have been toppled. Others, such as Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari, are loathe to let go of power, and not only grow old but sick, too. Others still, like Gabon’s longstanding Bongo dynasty, are determined to be fixtures who ... Read More »

Between the Millet System and EU Values: The Sunni Muslim Turkish State and Non-Muslim Minorities

The relationship between the state and non-Muslim communities[1] has been a sensitive issue since the founding of the Turkish Republic in 1923. Dr. Özgür Kaymak MDC Although the principle of secularism has been stated in the constitution, wherein the state was ostensibly required to distance itself from all religious beliefs equally,  Islam had always played an important role in the formation of Turkish identity. The debates with regard to freedom of religion and conscience as well as the rights of ... Read More »

Turkey’s new presidential system and a changing west

Implications for Turkish foreign policy and Turkish-West relations Kemal Kirişci and Ilke Toygür Brookings Executive Summary In July 2018, having triumphed in the presidential elections the previous month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan began to formally transform Turkey’s long-standing parliamentary system into a heavily centralized presidential one. The new system entrenched his one-man authoritarian rule at home and is having profound implications for the making and substance of Turkish foreign policy as well as Turkey’s relations with the West. This ... Read More »

Populism’s problems can be fixed by getting the public better-informed. And that’s actually possible

Many commentators have been alarmed at the electoral wins of ultra conservative leaders around the world, as well as policy decisions such as Brexit made by a popular referendum. Ron Levy The Conversation They see these as signs of a rising populism. In its benign forms, populism can simply mean ordinary citizens’ desire to see their interests and preferences better reflected in policy making. It may also mean greater direct involvement in government by the people themselves. But in its ... Read More »

How Viktor Orban degraded Hungary’s weak democracy

The roots of democracy in Hungary are shallow. John Shattuck The Conversation That’s been especially clear in the last nine years, as Prime Minister Viktor Orban has created a repressive and increasingly authoritarian state, operating under a pretense of democracy. In recent weeks the political situation has become volatile. By early 2019 the Hungarian government was the target of a series of major demonstrations in Budapest and other Hungarian cities. A flash point was a new labor law allowing employers ... Read More »

SNP ‘will help block Brexit’ for new independence vote

A government of national unity is needed to halt Brexit, a leading SNP MP has argued – but the Nationalists should only take part if the right to hold a second independence referendum is granted. Paris Gourtsoyiannis The Scotsman Joanna Cherry said a temporary cross-party government would be required to extend the Article 50 process to allow a second EU referendum to take place. But the SNP MP for Edinburgh South West said the Scottish Government “must be granted the ... Read More »

European Parliament is failing on transparency

Voters have to be reassured MEPs are being held accountable. Heidi Hautala Politico When it comes to transparency, the European Parliament’s motto has become: Do as I say, not as I do. Members of the key European institution are fighting crucial reforms to ensure MEPs act by a shared set of public spending rules. As a relatively new member of the European Parliament Bureau — where decisions regarding the Parliament’s administration and budget are made — I have experienced first hand how ... Read More »

Journalist Pelin Ünker sentenced to jail in Turkey over Paradise Papers investigation

Journalist was found guilty of ‘defamation and insult’ for writing about companies owned by former PM Julian Borger The Guardian A Turkish journalist has been sentenced to more than a year in jail for her work on the Paradise Papers investigation into offshore tax havens, because it revealed details of the business activities of the country’s former prime minister and his sons. Pelin Ünker, a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) was found guilty in an Istanbul ... Read More »

Australia’s 2018 Human Rights Performance Slammed

The Australian government’s human rights approach to refugees, Indigenous people and those with disability has been slammed by an annual review, which warns that Australia is at risk of … Luke Michael ProBono Australian Lawyers for Human Rights’ (ALHR) 2018 Human Rights Report Card scored Australia poorly on key areas including Indigenous rights (F-), refugees and people seeking asylum (F) and… While the federal government was praised for introducing a Modern Slavery Act, the review noted Australia faced persistent criticism by multiple United ... Read More »

Need for International Unity as DR Congo Awaits Electoral Results

The Democratic Republic of Congo awaits the official results of 30 December 2018 elections, amid hints that unofficial numbers show an opposition presidential candidate winning. ICG Conflicting tallies could spark violence. Outside powers should stand together in urging calm and careful verification of the electoral outcome. The Independent Electoral Commission in the Democratic Republic of Congo will likely declare results of the 30 December elections this week. Already there are worrying signs of divisions among international actors, after a… Need ... Read More »

Erdogan’s war on workers

Turkey’s crackdown on dissent extends to the country’s fractured labor movement. Cole Stangler Le Monde Diplomatique If the presence of a two dozen riot cops blocking the entrance of the Gaziosmanpaşa Courthouse didn’t send the message, then the arrival of a water-cannon truck—slowly backing up from the… Eyüp Özer, an organizer and head of international relations at Turkey’s United Metalworkers Union, which is part of the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DISK), shrugged off the… ‘It’s not that unusual,’ he ... Read More »

The far-right may think they own ‘nationalism’, but we can reclaim it as a force for good

We see the word “nationalism” as problematic. The weekend rally on St Kilda beach, organised by far-right activist Neil Erikson, reminds us nationalism is the territory of fringe groups who hold bigoted views, particularly towards people who… Rachel Busbridge The Conversation Nationalism means: Identification with one’s own nation and support for its interests, especially to the exclusion or detriment of the interests of other nations. We often think about nationalism in these terms. To be a nationalist means loving your ... Read More »

Venezuela Supreme Court judge Christian Zerpa flees to US

Venezuela Supreme Court judge Christian Zerpa has fled to the US to protest over President Nicolás Maduro’s second term in office. BBC Last year’s election “was not free and competitive”, the former Maduro loyalist told a Florida radio station. And he accused President Maduro of systematically manipulating the affairs of the Supreme Court. In response, the court said Mr Zerpa was fleeing allegations of sexual harassment. Opposition parties boycotted the 2018 vote, calling it a sham. Mr Zerpa had been ... Read More »

The case for the impeachment of Donald J. Trump

The presidential oath of office contains 35 words and one core promise: to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” David Leonhardt Brisbane Times The New York Times Since virtually the moment Donald Trump took that oath two years ago, he has been violating it. He has repeatedly put his own interests above those of the country. He has used the presidency to promote his businesses. He has accepted financial gifts from foreign countries. He has lied ... Read More »