Elections

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

America’s New Democracy Movement

While media coverage since the 2018 US midterm elections has focused squarely on Donald Trump, a growing movement of citizens and activists from across the political spectrum is thinking more broadly about the future of… Laura Tyson and Lenny Mendonca The Project Syndicate And progressive political reforms have been winning support in some unexpected places. BERKELEY – In last November’s US midterm elections, voters sent a clear message about the concerns weighing on their minds and the values they hold most ... Read More »

Bolsonaro takes office in Brazil, says nation ‘liberated from socialism’

Brazil‘s newly inaugurated President Jair Bolsonaro said on Dec. 1 his election had freed the country from “socialism and political correctness,” and he vowed to tackle corruption, crime and… BRASILIA – Reuters Hurriyet Bolsonaro, a former army captain turned lawmaker who openly admires Brazil‘s 1964-1985 military dictatorship, promised in his first remarks as president to adhere to democratic norms, after his tirades against the… While investors hope Bolsonaro‘s free-market stance will  reinvigorate Brazil‘s economy – the eight largest in the world –  environmentalists and rights ... Read More »

Bernie Sanders Isn’t Just Another White Male Candidate. His Nomination Would Be Historic.

The 2020 Democratic primary will likely offer the most diverse field of candidates either party has ever put forward for the presidency. David Klion Forward At least four serious African-American contenders (Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Andrew Gillum, and Eric Holder) have been floated so far, as have at least four women (Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy… And then there are a large number of white men — the demographic that has accounted for all but one president to date — ... Read More »

First Democratic contender announces she’s running for president

Senator Elizabeth Warren, a sharp critic of big banks and unregulated capitalism, has entered the 2020 race for president, becoming the first major candidate in what is likely to be a long and crowded primary marked by ideological and… Doina Chiacu The Canberra Times Reuters, New York Times In an 8.30am email to supporters on New Year’s Eve — 13 months before the first votes will be cast in the Iowa caucuses — Warren said she was forming an exploratory committee, ... Read More »

Coronation of King Rama X set for early May, Thai palace says

Elaborate ceremony to be held from May 4 to 6, Royal Household Bureau announces Asia Times A three-day coronation ceremony will be held in early May for Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn, the Royal Household Bureau announced on Tuesday. The “new” king – who is 66 and known as Rama X of the Chakri dynasty – will be crowned in an elaborate ceremony to be held from May 4 to 6, it said in a televised announcement. “It’s a suitable time ... Read More »

Brazil swears in far-right President Jair Bolsonaro

Brazil has sworn in former army captain President Jair Bolsonaro, amid tight security. The far-right politician, an admirer of the country’s former military dictatorship, pledged to rid the country of “ideological ties.” DW Bolsonaro was sworn in as at president on Tuesday, promising to overhaul the country’s economy and bring about sweeping social change. An aficionado of US President Donald Trump, Bolsonaro rose to power on a pro-gun, anti-corruption agenda. Speaking in an address to the nation on Tuesday, Bolsonaro said, now ... Read More »

Congo to EU: Mind your own business

An election that’s been delayed for two years is about to be held, and the country has booted out the EU ambassador. Giulia Paravicini Politico KINSHASA — The message from the Democratic Republic of Congo to the EU was loud and not-at-all subtle. The African nation’s decision to expel the EU ambassador, Bart Ouvry, days before a long-delayed election, was done in public, humiliating fashion. On Thursday evening, Congo’s foreign affairs minister gathered the diplomatic community for a meeting in the capital, Kinshasa. ... Read More »

The Sum of All Brexit Fears

The Leavers lied: The costs of withdrawing from the European Union were always destined to outweigh the benefits. Chris Patten * Project Syndicate Alas, the responsible, imaginative, and inclusive political leadership needed to minimize the damage is nowhere in sight. LONDON – Day after day, week after week, most British citizens think that the turmoil over their country’s proposed exit from the European Union cannot get any worse. But, without fail, it does. Turmoil turns into humiliating chaos; a political ... Read More »

Turning Brexit Into a Celebration of Democracy

Paradoxically, while the current Brexit impasse is pregnant with risk, the British should welcome it. Yanis Varoufakis The Project Syndicate Their discontent with the choices before them is an opportunity, not a curse, and more democracy is the antidote, not the disease. ATHENS – Discontent without end looms over Britain. Leavers and Remainers are equally despondent. Her Majesty’s Government and the Labour opposition are equally divided. The United Kingdom is deeply divided between a Europhile Scotland and a Euroskeptic England, ... Read More »

Somalia’s South West State: A New President Installed, a Crisis Inflamed

Against all sensible advice, the Federal Government of Somalia muscled in on a local election to shove aside an Islamist conservative candidate. Rashid Abdi ICG It scored a tactical victory but created significant additional risk for the country already wracked by conflict and divided along regional and clan lines. On 19 December, local lawmakers in Somalia’s restive South West state elected Abdiasis Mohammed “Laftagareen” president in a controversial poll that is certain to sow new instability. Laftagareen, former MP and ... Read More »