Democracy

Government advertising may be legal, but it’s corrupting our electoral process

The Coalition government’s use of taxpayer money for political advertising – as much as A$136 million since January, according to Labor figures – is far from an aberration in Australia. Joo-Cheong Tham The Conversation It is part of a sordid history in which public resources have routinely been abused for electoral advantage. For example, the Coalition governments of Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull spent at least A$84.5 million on four major advertising campaigns to promote their policies and initiatives with ... Read More »

Will Pressure Bring Down Venezuela’s Government?

In Venezuela, the lights go off nearly every day, and there is little for most families to put on the dinner table. Ivan Briscoe ICG Amid the growing misery, will the government’s social base abandon it for the opposition challenger? And will the government itself crack under pressure? Ángela (not her real name) handles delivery of the state food rations known as CLAPs in her working-class neighbourhood in Caracas. She is a lifelong supporter of chavismo – the left-wing populist philosophy and ... Read More »

Politicians need to listen up before they speak up – and listen in the right places

Over the past month, Australians and many people around the world have been listening – really listening – to politicians, for a change. Some politicians, that is. Jacinda Ardern, for one. Jim Macnamara The Conversation People everywhere have been moved by her comments, often to tears. She has been lauded for her demonstration of empathy and understanding of complex, emotionally charged issues that some others reduce to glib slogans. How is it that the New Zealand prime minister is such ... Read More »

World powers demand halt to Libya advance

Libyan forces under Khalifa Haftar battled their way to the south of Tripoli on April 5, prompting the U.N. Security Council and the G7 to demand a halt to the military advance on the capital. TRIPOLI- Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Haftar, commander of the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA), launched an offensive on April 4 to take the capital, held by a U.N.-backed unity government and an array of militias. The lightning assault was ordered as U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was in Libyafor a ... Read More »

The world’s left-wingers are feeling the Bern

Bernie Sanders is viewed abroad as a potential figurehead for a worldwide movement against right-wing populism. Holly Otterbein Politico Bernie Sanders has a base that no other 2020 U.S. presidential candidate can claim: left-wing politicians around the globe. From South America to Europe to the Middle East, leftist leaders are celebrating his candidacy, viewing him as an iconic democratic socialist with the potential to lead a worldwide progressive movement at a time when right-wing populism is on the rise across ... Read More »

France, Spain and Belgium ‘ready for no-deal Brexit next week’

Chance of May getting 30 June extension appear slim after notes of EU meeting emerge Daniel Boffey, Jon Henley and Jennifer Rankin The Guardian France has won the support of Spain and Belgium after signalling its readiness for a no-deal Brexit on 12 April if there are no significant new British proposals, according to a note of an EU27 meeting seen by the Guardian. The diplomatic cable reveals that the French ambassador secured the support of Spanish and Belgian colleagues in arguing that there ... Read More »

Israel’s Upcoming Elections and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Israel’s parliamentary elections on 9 April seem set to see Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu return to lead a fragile, more right-wing coalition, an outcome unlikely to prompt a dramatic change in the country’s policies in the West Bank and Gaza. Ofer Zalzberg ICG Who will win the upcoming parliamentary election? Current polls project that the governing Likud party will secure enough seats in the Knesset for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to put together a new right-wing governing coalition, similar to ... Read More »

Today’s Nationalism is Bad for Business

Multilateralism and global cooperation are under increasing threat, posing a serious risk to future prosperity. Business and finance leaders should care deeply about this state of affairs, so why aren’t they doing much more to help counter it? Lise Kingo , Scott Mather Project Syndicate NEW YORK – The system of international cooperation that emerged from the ashes of World War II is at risk. Multilateralism and the institutions that support it – including the World Trade Organization, the United ... Read More »

How to cure America’s debt addiction (and invest in the future)

Under current policies the federal debt will rise from 78% to almost 180% of U.S. GDP in three decades. William G. Gale and David Wessel Brookings In his new book, “Fiscal Therapy: Curing America’s Debt Addiction and Investing in the Future,” Brookings Senior Fellow William Gale explores policies to raise revenue, control spending, and increase public investments, and solve our debt problem. In this episode, Senior Fellow David Wessel interviews Gale about his new book and policy ideas. Also, Christen Linke Young, a ... Read More »

Polish teachers threaten national walkout

The looming strike is a big problem for the ruling party ahead of the European election. Annabelle Chapman Politico WARSAW — Polish teachers’ unions on Friday rejected a pay offer from the government and vowed to walk off the job on Monday — causing a massive political headache for the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party. The government pay proposal “only worsens the conflict,” Sławomir Broniarz, the head of the Polish Teachers’ Union, told reporters after talks broke off on ... Read More »

‘We can and must push back against the tide of fascism,’ says Arab-Israeli MK Tibi

As Israel’s General Election approaches on 9 April, MEMO interviews candidates, current and former, about their hopes for the future of Israeli politics. Rebecca Stead The Middle East Monitor Ahmad Tibi is, in many ways, the face of Palestinian politics within Israel. Boasting 20 years’ service as a Knesset Member (MK), he sees no reason why he shouldn’t one day become Israel’s Prime Minister. Yet with only days to go until the General Election, Tibi must battle anti-Palestinian rhetoric, an ... Read More »

Why We Stand With NATO

“There is only one thing worse than fighting with allies, and that is fighting without them.” Tim Kaine and Cory Gardner The Atlantic On April 4, 1949, Johannes Kaiv, the acting consul general of Estonia’s government-in-exile, sent a letter to Secretary of State Dean Acheson, which read: I have the honor to offer my best wishes to the signatories of the North Atlantic Pact, and to express my confidence that they, inspired by the ideals of democracy, of individual liberty, ... Read More »

Bring Behrouz home to Australia: he is one of us

There is a pivotal moment in Behrouz Boochani’s book, No Friend but the Mountains. In late August, 2013, a propeller-driven plane stands waiting on a strip on Christmas Island, to take asylum seekers to a faraway destination. Arnold Zable The Age Each man is escorted at two-minute intervals, 50 metres from a bus to the plane. They are held by the arms between two officers. At the base of the stairs, they are handed over to a second pair of officers, ... Read More »

Erdoğan’s Four Challenges

Turkey’s president suffered a frustrating setback in local government elections as democratic resilience prevailed. Marc Pierini Carnegie Europe Watch out for the impact on the economy, the rule of law, defense, and Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s campaigning was vintage AKP electioneering: playing a nationalist fiddle; hiding economic realities with creative accounting and cosmetic measures; equating low interest rates (again) with low inflation; accusing foreigners of weakening the currency; threatening the opposition; continuing the crackdown on free speech and ... Read More »

The Modi Years

In its attack on civil liberties, its restructuring of the State to effect an acute centralisation of power, and its pervasive purveyance of fear, the Modi years resemble Indira Gandhi’s Emergency. Prabhat Patnaik NewsClick In its attack on civil liberties, its restructuring of the State to effect an acute centralisation of power, and its pervasive purveyance of fear, the Modi years resemble Indira Gandhi’s Emergency. But the resemblance stops there. In fact the two differ fundamentally in several ways. First, ... Read More »

Turkish democracy is the winner in these momentous local elections

By toppling the AKP in Ankara and Istanbul, the opposition has shown that Erdoğan’s ruling party is not an invincible force Sinan Ülgen The Guardian Sunday’s local elections in Turkey resulted in a major setback for the president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and his ruling alliance. The ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) and nationalist MHP coalition lost Turkey’s major cities to an opposition ushering in an era of change at the local level. The political transitions in Istanbul and Ankara ... Read More »