Symbolic picture: newly elected president, Guillermo Lasso (center) is leaving the inauguration ceremony arm in arm with Guadalupe Llori (right), indigenous leader and newly elected president of the National Assembly. | Photo: Flickr, Asamblea Nacional del Ecuador | CC BY-SA 2.0

Moving past the Pro-Correa / Anti-Correa divide in Ecuadorian politics: The indigenous Pachakutik party as a third force

On May 24, the day he took office as Ecuador’s new president, Guillermo Lasso,  was seen leaving the ceremony next to Guadalupe Llori, indigenous leader and newly elected president of the National Assembly. Lasso, a conservative politician and former banker, had won the runoff against Andrés Arauz, the candidate supported by the political movement of former president Rafael Correa, who had governed the country between 2007 and 2017. Yet, Ecuador’s new political landscape offers a chance to move beyond the polarization between Correa supporters (Correístas) and opponents (Anti-Correístas). A key sociopolitical force in this regard is the indigenous movement and its political organization, Pachakutik.


Protesters in Miraflores demonstrate “For a Peru without corruption” on November 14, 2020. Peru’s crisis ahead of the April 11 parliamentary elections is multifaceted. | Photo: Flickr, Samantha Hare. | CC BY 2.0
Protesters in Miraflores demonstrate “For a Peru without corruption” on November 14, 2020. Peru’s crisis ahead of the April 11 elections is multifaceted. | Photo: Flickr, Samantha Hare. | CC BY 2.0

Peru: General Elections in the Air, a Crisis of Democracy on the Ground

On 11 April 2021, the Republic of Peru will hold general elections. However, the elections have been overshadowed by the November 2020 Parliamentary Coup and the massive police violence against protesters who have been demonstrating against the controversial outcast of the former President Martín Vizcarra by the Congress. PRIF student research assistant Laura Fischer had the opportunity to speak with Carlos López Felipe Vásquez, a Human Rights activist and a professor for Public International Law at the Technical University of Peru, about the background of the political and constitutional crisis.


Past German-Russia relations have surely also been shaped by the relationship between both countries’ long-standing leaders. With Angela Merkel not running for election again and the upcoming Greens, how will a future German approach towards Russia look like? | Photo: flickr, Lord Jim | CC BY 2.0

Green is the New Black? What might the “Green” German foreign policy vis-à-vis Russia look like?

The election of a new German Chancellor to replace Angela Merkel after more than 15 years in office is eagerly anticipated both at home and abroad. However, anyone expecting a drastic change in German foreign policy towards Russia will be most likely disappointed. At present, most signs indicate that relations between both countries will remain frosty or even deteriorate post-election, regardless of who ultimately prevails in the voters‘ preference. However, one uncertain variable in this otherwise predictable equation is the possible role played by the Green Party in shifting the country’s international course, as it most likely will become a part of a new German government after the election.


Photo: © picture alliance / ASSOCIATED PRESS | STR)

China in transitionary Myanmar. Challenging paths to democratization and peace

The recent military coup in Myanmar reversed a decade-long experiment towards incremental political liberalization. At the same time, it also brought China’s engagement there back into the spotlight, and initial Chinese reactions led to suspicions that Beijing had welcomed or even aided the return to military rule. However, the reality of China’s role in Myanmar’s democratic transition and simultaneous peace process is far more complicated, and instructive for its overall engagement in conflict societies.


The annuled parliamentary elections in October 2020 roused mass protests against the winning parties and paved the way for the 2021 presidential and parliamentary elections (Photo: picture alliance, Abylai Saralayev/TASS).

At a Crossroads. Kyrgyzstan after the recent elections

Following its parliamentary elections in October 2020, Kyrgyzstan found itself facing post-election protests and a political crisis which resulted in a new political landscape. On 10 January 2021, Kyrgyz citizens voted for a new president and a fast-tracked constitutional reform to return to a presidential system. Although the protests in October 2020 resulted in political turnover, their momentum is currently being used to concentrate power in the hands of the president. Autocratic tendencies, corruption scandals, and socioeconomic grievances, which were further aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic, have marked recent developments in Kyrgyzstan.


On January 10 2021, the Kyrgyz people will be called upon to elect a new President. | Photo: flickr, Ronan Shenhav | CC BY-NC 2.0

Kyrgyzstan Before the Presidential Elections

Kyrgyz citizens will vote for a new president on 10 January 2021. Protests have caused the annulation of the parliamentary elections of 04th October 2020 which resulted in a series of high-ranked officials’ resignations and the third ouster of a president in the country’s recent history. Since then, the political landscape is changing quickly. Recent developments, including an initiated constitutional reform process, cast doubts on the future democratic path of Kyrgyzstan.


Stimmauszählung in Ouagadougou während der Wahlen 2015. Bei der diesjährigen Wahl müssen alle Stimmzettel händisch ausgezählt werden. | Photo: Voice of America via Wikimedia Commons | Public Domain/VOA.

„Es dreht sich alles um Transparenz. Wenn die Wahlen nicht transparent sind, wird es Probleme geben.“

Im vierten Interview haben Simone Schnabel und Antonia Witt mit Anselme Somda über mögliche Szenarien für den Ausgang der bevorstehenden Wahlen in Burkina Faso gesprochen. Anselme Somda arbeitet am Centre pour la Gouvernance Démocratique du Burkina Faso (CGD), einem Think Tank in Ouagadougou, der sich für Demokratisierung und gute Regierungsführung einsetzt. Das CGD koordiniert in Burkina Faso auch die von Afrobarometer regelmäßig durchgeführten Länderumfragen und ist Projektpartner der HSFK. Somda ist Jurist, wirkte als Abgeordneter in der Übergangsregierung 2014/2015 mit und bildet derzeit Wahlbeobachter*Innen für die bevorstehenden Präsidentschafts- und Parlamentswahlen am 22. November aus.


Belarus' long-time president Alyaksandr Lukashenka in a meeting with US foreign minister Mike Pompeo in Februar 2020 in Minsk. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons/US State Department, Photo by Ron Przysucha | Public Domain

Winning Elections but Losing the Country. What does a Weakened Lukashenka Regime Mean for European Security?

No international election observers, no real opposition candidates, internet shutdown and the most brutal crackdown on peaceful street demonstrations the country ever witnessed – these are the initial results of the recent presidential elections in Belarus. Despite the aforementioned violations of democratic procedure, this comes as no surprise for all those familiar with the realities in this East European country which has been ruled for 26 long years by the former collective farm manager Alyaksandr Lukashenka. And yet August 9 2020 is likely to go down Belarus’ history books marking a turning point both for the country and for European security as it opens a new chapter of competition between Russia and the West for Eastern Europe.


President Putin also took part in the vote for the approval of amendments to the Constitution, here on July 1 2020 at a polling station in the building of the Russian Academy of Sciences. | Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

What Does the New Russian Constitution Mean for European Security?

In 1993, Russia literally had to fight to adopt its new constitution. In October that year, the then president Boris Yeltsin ordered tanks to shell the White House in Moscow (seat of then Supreme Soviet, now of the Russian government), where plotters were hoping to restore the Soviet Union and roll back democratic reforms. In 2020, no show of force was required to amend the constitution (if we are to ignore the military parade on the Red Square on the eve of the seven-day-long referendum), and yet the consequences of this move for both Russia and its neighbours might be even more drastic than those 30 years ago.


Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev prior to the cabinet meeting in Moscow on 15 January 2020 (Photo: picture alliance/AP Photo).

Lost in Transition? Putin’s Strategy for 2024

Speculations about “Транзит“ or transfer of power have circulated in the Russian mass media since Vladimir Putin got elected as the President of the Russian Federation for the fourth time in March 2018. The turbulent political events of the first weeks of 2020 shed some light on Putin’s strategy for his future. In case he chooses to leave the president’s chair, he will hardly be able to fully control the handover of power and will likely face some unintended consequences.