Election posters in a street in Manila
A number of assassinations of politicians can be expected again for the October elections. | Photo: Judgefloro via wikimedia commons | CC0 1.0

Violence in Political Competition in the Philippines: The 2023 Barangay Elections in Perspective

In the Philippines a large number of politicians and candidates are killed before, after and between elections. Against the backdrop of the constants and changes of this violence, I outline why a way out is not in sight and why several dozen dead incumbents and candidates can again be expected in the coming late October elections for Barangay (village municipal ward) leadership position.


Kenya's new president William Ruto shakes hands with outgoing President Kenyatta, as he is sworn into office. In the other hand, Ruto holds a box. Fireworks can be seen.
Kenya’s new president Ruto shakes hands with his predecessor Kenyatta, as he is sworn into office. | Photo: © picture alliance/AP | Brian Inganga

Have the Tables Turned? What to Expect from Kenya’s New “Hustler” President William Ruto

Kenya had awaited the presidential elections held on August 9, 2022 with bated breath. The elections were won by William Ruto, who defeated opponent Raila Odinga by just a few percentage points. Ruto succeeds Uhuru Kenyatta, who leaves office having served his two permitted terms. This Spotlight analyzes the reasons for Ruto’s success, and, reflecting on his political career, discusses what can be expected from his presidency. We argue that both his success and his career have been strongly influenced by Kenya’s political history and the power structures of political alliances—especially in the context of previous elections.


Shadow of a person walking seen on a mural painted with the Brazilian flag
Even if Lula emerges victorious, the legacy of Bolsonaro will cast a pall over a Lula administration. | Photo: Gustavo Minas via flickr | CC BY-NC 2.0

Brazil’s Presidential Election: How Far does the Populist Glow Reach?

The first round of Brazil’s presidential elections took place on 2 October 2022. The result was 43.2% for incumbent Jair Bolsonaro and 48.4% for ex-president (2003–2010) Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva. Given that none of the candidates achieved more than 50%, a final run-off is scheduled for 30 October. Pre-election polls predicted Lula would reach the critical 50% threshold. These polls also projected Bolsonaro would win around 36%. But in the end, his vote share was more than 43%. This result left the world searching for an explanation.


Public square in Istanbul with election banners signifiyng different political parties.
Election banners signifying different political parties in Istanbul. | Photo: Aris Gionis via flickr | CC BY-NC 2.0

The 2023 Elections in Turkey. Can the Opposition Challenge Erdoğan and the AKP?

Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections on June 18, 2023, will be a notable juncture point. These elections will determine the country’s future and direction, and are therefore not only significant for domestic politics, but also at the international level as regards Turkey’s capacity to serve as a global actor. During these elections, the opposition will take on the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to gain political power after two decades of AKP rule. They will only have a chance of success if they propose a strong candidate to challenge Erdoğan.


Presidential election campaign flags hang for sale, featuring the faces of both current President Jair Bolsonaro, left, and former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, outside the Supreme Electoral Court in Brasilia, Brazil
Presidential election campaign flags hang for sale outside the Supreme Electoral Court in Brasilia, Brazil. | Photo: © picture alliance/AP | Eraldo Peres

Democracy on the Razor’s Edge: The 2022 Presidential Elections in Brazil

Brazil’s presidential elections are scheduled to take place on October 2, 2022. The confrontation between the extreme-right incumbent president Bolsonaro and the center-left former president Lula Da Silva provides a rare setting. The election places Brazil at a crossroads and will set the stage for either a comprehensive commitment to democracy under Lula or a continuation along the path to authoritarianism under Bolsonaro. Recent polls suggest that the most likely scenario is a win for Lula. Nevertheless, Brazil’s democratic institutions are continuously under attack. Currently, the possibility of the elections being preemptively cancelled or the final results being contested cannot be fully dismissed.


Haus mit kolumbianischer Flagge und mehreren Plakaten von Gustavo Petro und Francia Márquez mit den Aufschriften "Petro Presidente" und "Nariño es potencia de vida"
Der Sieg von Gustavo Petro bei den Präsidentschaftswahlen in Kolumbien kann schon jetzt als Zäsur verstanden werden. | Photo: © Leidy Patricia Jojoa via flickr

Kolumbien nach der Präsidentschaftswahl: Fünf Chancen und eine Herausforderung für die deutsche Außen- und Entwicklungspolitik

Kolumbien hat gewählt: In einem polarisierten Wahlkampf setzte sich bei den Präsidentschaftswahlen vom 19. Juni 2022 der linksgerichtete Kandidat Gustavo Petro knapp gegen den Rechtspopulisten Rodolfo Hernández durch. Dieser hat seine Niederlage öffentlich eingestanden. Ab dem 7. August wird das Land erstmals von einem linksgerichteten Präsidenten geführt und mit der Aktivistin Francia Márquez wird zum ersten Mal in der Geschichte des Landes eine Afrokolumbianerin das Amt der Vizepräsidentin bekleiden. Dieser Blogbeitrag skizziert fünf Chancen und eine Herausforderung für die deutsche Außen- und Entwicklungspolitik, um die guten Beziehungen zu dem lateinamerikanischen Schwergewicht Kolumbien fortzuführen und weiter auszubauen.


Protestors in Tyre/Sour, Southern Lebanon, cheering to a female singer during nonsectarian demonstrations against government corruption and austerity measures that started across the country on October 17th, 2019.
European institutions and organizations active in Lebanon should intensify political cooperation with reformist MPs. | Photo: RomanDeckert via wikimedia commons | CC BY-SA 4.0

Reformist MPs Deny Hezbollah Majority in Lebanese Parliament – Prospects for Lebanon after the Elections

The results of the Lebanese parliamentary elections on May 17 showed a decrease in the number of seats claimed by Hezbollah and its supporters, and increases favoring the non-partisan reformist candidates supporting the October 17 protests of 2019. These developments reflect the growing will for change towards a democratic civil society in Lebanon, but they do not come without significant challenges. This blog examines the results of the Lebanese parliamentary elections and discusses the political difficulties in the coming phase; arguing that, given the risks of a power vacuum, the best possibility of democratic states is to support reformist representatives.


Picture shows Bongbong Marcos on motorcade with supporters
Team Unity leads amongst all groups irrespective of age, education, social or economic status. | Photo: Patrickroque01/wikimedia commons | CC BY-SA 4.0

Elections in the Philippines: A Vote for Continuity?

In a few days, on May 9, 2022, the Philippines will elect the successor of outgoing President Duterte. The most likely candidate to become the new president of the Philippines is Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, the son of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos. The vice-presidency will most probably go the daughter of the current president, Sara Duterte-Carpio, whose father is responsible for the brutal drug war of recent years. How did this happen, and what does it say about the state of democracy in the Philippines?


Image shows posters in the 2022 French presidential election. Title: "The Poetry of Empty Promises" by Caratello via flickr.
Le Pen and Zemmour have managed to place far-right subjects at the heart of public debate. | Photo: Caratello/Flickr | CC BY NC-ND-2.0

Maghreb policies of Marine Le Pen vs Eric Zemmour: the victory of the „normalized“ far right?

As the first turn of the French presidential election on April 10th comes closer, two far-right candidates have drawn all the attention: Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemmour. This article argues that their approach toward French-speaking Maghreb countries (Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco) is symptomatic of the difference between a “normalized” and an always more radical far right: while Le Pen seeks to position herself as a serious and pragmatic international partner, Eric Zemmour risks credibility by focusing on resentment about the Algerian war of independence and on the “decline of French” civilization caused by the “migrative invasion” from Muslim North-Africans.


In Gambia voting is done by casting a glass marble in one of the containers that are painted in the respective candidate’s color. | Photo: flickr, Commonwealth Secretariat | CC BY-NC 2.0

#GambiaDecides2021: A Sign of Democratic Hope?

Wherever you go in the Gambia, you will find people in the streets chattering about the presidential election surrounded by an air of excitement. Gambians call this chatter ‘gisgis’ and it is all about politics these days. On 4 December 2021, Gambians went to the polls. The first elections without the former 22 year-long president Yahya Jammeh contesting passed peacefully. His successor Adama Barrow, elected in 2016 quite surprisingly, was confirmed in power. With that, the Gambia passed a litmus test: having decided for continuity in times of change, Gambians send a strong signal of democratic practice to the region.