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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Am Wochenende wird in Sachsen und Brandenburg ein neues Parlament gewählt. Wahlumfragen prognostizieren der autoritär-nationalradikalen Partei Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) starke Zugewinne – nicht ausgeschlossen, dass sie in einem der beiden Länder gar stärkste Kraft wird. Die Republik blickt dreißig Jahre nach dem Mauerfall mit eher düsteren Gefühlen gen Osten. Es scheint eindeutig: Rechte Erfolge sind ein Problem des Ostens. Vor den Wahlen möchte ich daran erinnern, dass diese Sicht der Dinge den Entwicklungen nicht gerecht wird. Es gibt Spezifika der ostdeutschen Transformationsgesellschaft, aber ein Sonderfall ist Ostdeutschland nicht. Es braucht eine sachliche Debatte über das je lokale Zusammenspiel von Demokratieverdruss, Abstiegserfahrungen, sozialer Lage sowie Fremdenfeindlichkeit und Rassismus – und dies in beiden Teilen des Landes. Verallgemeinernde Schlüsse über den Osten Deutschlands sind Teil des Problems.
Late on Wednesday night, South Africa’s newly (re-)elected president Cyril Ramaphosa announced the first ever gender equal cabinet of the country. As a part of his commitment for a “new dawn” for South Africa, Ramaphosa’s cabinet was selected after a thorough, not seen before consultation process. Welcomed from various corners of the country, the new government unsurprisingly drew criticism from main opposition parties. The gender representative cabinet is an important sign towards more serious political efforts to transform the country’s intense gender based inequality. However, given the male dominated networks of the political landscape, the struggle for gender equality in government and society is far from over.