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After decades of authoritarian military rule, South Korea — an East Asian nation on the southern half of the Korean Peninsula — has opened up politically. The current president, Park Guen-hye, faces a range of domestic problems. Recently, a corruption scandal triggered widespread protests and caused her approval ratings to plummet. The US continues to be an important ally in both economic and political terms, particularly in light of deteriorating relations with North Korea, whose nuclear programme ...

On 13 April 2016 the 300-member National Assembly will be renewed. Following January's nuclear test by North Korea, South Korea is experiencing high tension with its neighbour, which adds to political instability, a slowing economy, rising social inequality and concerns about freedoms.

Since the start of Albania's transition towards democracy, its political parties have considered European integration as the country's sole viable political option. Achieving this shared objective has been tied to successful domestic reforms. However, persistent political deadlock, mistrust between government and opposition, and a series of contested elections have slowed progress.

Cuba: Political situation

En bref 22-09-2015

Although Raúl Castro has introduced some (mainly economic) reforms, the Communist Party remains in control and the political system seems unlikely to change substantially until he retires in 2018. However, the latest developments may facilitate a gradual transformation in the longer term.

Turkmenistan is a 'presidential republic' in which the president is vested with extensive authority. After independence in 1991, the country was ruled by Saparmurat Niyazov until his death in 2006. His successor, Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedov, took timid steps towards democratisation and liberalisation. Although there are some welcome developments, the regime is still considered authoritarian. In December 2013, the Turkmens held their first ever multi-party elections.

Guatemala: Political parties

En bref 03-07-2015

Guatemala's next presidential and legislative elections are scheduled for September 2015. The current President, Otto Pérez Molina, cannot run for a second term, according to Guatemala's Constitution. At this juncture, the political situation remains quite unstable. Two big issues are likely to dominate: young people and how to keep up the fight against corruption and organised crime.

Following the local and presidential elections of 2014, the ruling party (AKP) is increasing its influence over the political landscape and fostering its agenda of a more presidential regime. In this context, the outcome of the 7 June general election will be crucial.

Venezuela: political parties

En bref 30-04-2015

The political party system established in Venezuela in 1958 by the Punto Fijo Pact, and dominated by the Democratic Alliance and COPEI parties, collapsed in 1998 with the victory of Hugo Chavez in the presidential elections. Since then, and after the 1999 Constitutional reform, Chavismo has dominated Venezuelan politics, though the opposition parties have united as the MUD coalition.

Kyrgyzstan: political situation

En bref 17-04-2015

The Kyrgyz Republic is the only Central Asian state in which power has transferred peacefully, following the April 2010 political uprising against the regime of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev. Since the adoption of a constitution paving the way for a democratic and pluralist system, Kyrgyzstan has been governed by coalitions of the political parties represented in the parliament. The prime minister's office is gaining in influence, whereas the president's authority has been circumscribed.

In December 2014, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called early national elections, scheduled for 17 March 2015, after dissolving the coalition arrangement underpinning the government formed after the January 2013 elections. Differences on Palestinian issues and budgetary matters, between Netanyahu, of the right-wing Likud party, and centrist parties in his coalition, reportedly contributed to the decision. Israel's positions on a host of regional security and socioeconomic issues could be influenced ...