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Controversial legislative elections in Venezuela

21-12-2020

The mandate of the Venezuelan National Assembly, democratically elected in 2015, comes to an end on 5 January 2021; to renew it, the Maduro government called new legislative elections for 6 December 2020. While the government tightened its grip on power to secure a favourable outcome for itself, including through the appointment of a new electoral council, the opposition-led National Assembly presided by Juan Guaidó insisted on holding free and fair presidential and legislative elections with recognised ...

The mandate of the Venezuelan National Assembly, democratically elected in 2015, comes to an end on 5 January 2021; to renew it, the Maduro government called new legislative elections for 6 December 2020. While the government tightened its grip on power to secure a favourable outcome for itself, including through the appointment of a new electoral council, the opposition-led National Assembly presided by Juan Guaidó insisted on holding free and fair presidential and legislative elections with recognised international observers. The main opposition parties boycotted the 6 December elections – which were also ignored by at least 70 % of eligible voters – and held an alternative public consultation from 7 to 12 December, which resulted in a slightly higher turnout. The opposition described the elections as fraudulent, claiming that they had not met the minimum democratic requirements to qualify as free, fair and transparent. This position was shared by international players such as the European Union, the United States, the Organisation of American States and the Lima Group. Though the outlook of the Venezuelan crisis remains uncertain, there is still hope for a negotiated solution.

Thailand: from coup to crisis

06-11-2020

Thailand is a constitutional monarchy with a history of political instability, alternating between military rule and unstable civilian governments. The latest in a long series of military coups was in 2014. In 2019, the junta handed over power to a nominally civilian government led by former army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha. Protestors are now demanding his resignation and constitutional reforms to end the military's control of Thai politics.

Thailand is a constitutional monarchy with a history of political instability, alternating between military rule and unstable civilian governments. The latest in a long series of military coups was in 2014. In 2019, the junta handed over power to a nominally civilian government led by former army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha. Protestors are now demanding his resignation and constitutional reforms to end the military's control of Thai politics.

Another revolution in Kyrgyzstan?

22-10-2020

Kyrgyzstan is the only ex-Soviet Central Asian country to have achieved a measure of democracy, but it is also highly volatile. Massive protests broke out after irregularities in the October 2020 parliamentary elections, toppling the government. Ex-convict, Sadyr Japarov, is now the country's prime minister and acting president. New parliamentary and presidential elections are planned for December 2020 and January 2021.

Kyrgyzstan is the only ex-Soviet Central Asian country to have achieved a measure of democracy, but it is also highly volatile. Massive protests broke out after irregularities in the October 2020 parliamentary elections, toppling the government. Ex-convict, Sadyr Japarov, is now the country's prime minister and acting president. New parliamentary and presidential elections are planned for December 2020 and January 2021.

Support to democracy in Belarus

14-10-2020

Presidential elections in Belarus in August 2020 were conducted in flagrant violation of all internationally recognised standards, democratic principles and European values. The European Union stands with millions of Belarusians who decided to oppose Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s regime. The European Parliament is expected to vote on a draft recommendation on relations with Belarus, during the October II plenary session.

Presidential elections in Belarus in August 2020 were conducted in flagrant violation of all internationally recognised standards, democratic principles and European values. The European Union stands with millions of Belarusians who decided to oppose Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s regime. The European Parliament is expected to vote on a draft recommendation on relations with Belarus, during the October II plenary session.

Mali: The coup and its consequences

04-09-2020

On 18 August 2020, a group of mutinying soldiers from the Malian army arrested President Ibrahim Boubakar Keita and forced him to resign and dissolve the government and National Assembly. Although the putschists promised to organise elections and reinstate the constitutional order, no clear path for transition emerged from the discussions with the West African regional authority, ECOWAS. The coup risks further destabilising the Sahel and challenges the EU strategy in the region.

On 18 August 2020, a group of mutinying soldiers from the Malian army arrested President Ibrahim Boubakar Keita and forced him to resign and dissolve the government and National Assembly. Although the putschists promised to organise elections and reinstate the constitutional order, no clear path for transition emerged from the discussions with the West African regional authority, ECOWAS. The coup risks further destabilising the Sahel and challenges the EU strategy in the region.

Belarus on the brink

25-08-2020

As usual in Belarus, the 9 August presidential election was marred by fraud, repression and state violence against the opposition. As expected, the long-standing President, Aleksander Lukashenko, claimed a landslide victory. What was unusual this time, however, was the scale of Belarusians' disappointment: peaceful protests and strikes spread throughout the entire country in response to the stolen election, despite brutal crackdowns. What started as a national crisis now represents a wider struggle ...

As usual in Belarus, the 9 August presidential election was marred by fraud, repression and state violence against the opposition. As expected, the long-standing President, Aleksander Lukashenko, claimed a landslide victory. What was unusual this time, however, was the scale of Belarusians' disappointment: peaceful protests and strikes spread throughout the entire country in response to the stolen election, despite brutal crackdowns. What started as a national crisis now represents a wider struggle between truth and lies, democracy and autocracy, raising the stakes for both Minsk and Moscow, whose nervousness has spilled over into mounting aggression.

Outcome of the European Council video-conference of 19 August 2020

25-08-2020

The European Council video-conference meeting of 19 August 2020 was called by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, due to the increasingly worrying situation in Belarus after the recent national elections. As Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, summarised, the European Council decided to convey three clear messages from the meeting: i) the EU stands with the Belarussian people; ii) the EU will place sanctions on all those responsible for violence, repression ...

The European Council video-conference meeting of 19 August 2020 was called by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, due to the increasingly worrying situation in Belarus after the recent national elections. As Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, summarised, the European Council decided to convey three clear messages from the meeting: i) the EU stands with the Belarussian people; ii) the EU will place sanctions on all those responsible for violence, repression and the falsification of election results; and iii) the EU is ready to accompany the peaceful democratic transition of power in Belarus. While mainly focusing on Belarus, the Heads of State or Government also discussed two further issues during the video-conference meeting. First, as regards the tense situation in the eastern Mediterranean as a result of increasingly hostile Turkish activity, the European Council expressed its full solidarity with Greece and Cyprus, recalling and reaffirming its previous conclusions on the illegal drilling activities, and called for de-escalation. Second, on the situation in Mali, EU leaders expressed their deep concern over the events in the country, which have a destabilising impact on the entire region and on the fight against terrorism, and called for an immediate release of prisoners and restoration of the rule of law.

Hong Kong: A Beijing-imposed security law?

11-06-2020

On 28 May 2020, the National People's Congress (NPC) of the People's Republic of China (PRC) authorised its Standing Committee to adopt a national security law for Hong Kong, bypassing the city's Parliament, the Legislative Council. The law, expected to enter into force prior to Hong Kong's legislative elections scheduled for September 2020, is likely to be a turning point for the city's 'high degree of autonomy' and a premature phasing out of the 'One country, two systems' model that was planned ...

On 28 May 2020, the National People's Congress (NPC) of the People's Republic of China (PRC) authorised its Standing Committee to adopt a national security law for Hong Kong, bypassing the city's Parliament, the Legislative Council. The law, expected to enter into force prior to Hong Kong's legislative elections scheduled for September 2020, is likely to be a turning point for the city's 'high degree of autonomy' and a premature phasing out of the 'One country, two systems' model that was planned to subsist for 50 years from 1997. The European Parliament is expected to debate a statement from the High Representative during the June plenary session.

The EU and multilateral conflict management: The case of the Central African Republic

10-06-2020

The EU supports multilateralism in the furtherance of peace and security, acting as a partner to both the United Nations and regional organisations in the effort to prevent violent conflicts, mitigate their consequences and aid long-term recovery. A significant share of EU development cooperation is dedicated to fragile and conflict-afflicted countries or areas whose populations suffer prolonged humanitarian crises. One such country, the Central African Republic (CAR), ranks second last in the Human ...

The EU supports multilateralism in the furtherance of peace and security, acting as a partner to both the United Nations and regional organisations in the effort to prevent violent conflicts, mitigate their consequences and aid long-term recovery. A significant share of EU development cooperation is dedicated to fragile and conflict-afflicted countries or areas whose populations suffer prolonged humanitarian crises. One such country, the Central African Republic (CAR), ranks second last in the Human Development Index and has been confronted with a complex emergency requiring a multi-faceted response. The country remains profoundly affected by the violent upheaval that displaced a quarter of its population and decimated its economy in 2013. Multiple armed groups control or contest about 80 % of the national territory, benefiting from illicit activities and the lucrative circulation of arms, fighters and natural resources across porous borders, as the state builds up institutions that have traditionally held little sway outside the capital Bangui. The EU – the country's biggest donor – is part of a dense UN-led network of external actors committed to supporting the government and the national partners in the pursuit of peace among the parties to the conflict. No previous peace accord has been the object of so much effort from the international community as the political agreement brokered in February 2019 in Khartoum. Its tenuous implementation has reduced overall levels of insecurity without winning all hearts and minds. The EU has developed a particular synergy with the UN on security sector reform. As the CAR prepares for political wrangling at the ballot box in 2020, the EU will, at a pivotal moment, launch a new civilian Advisory Mission (EUAM RCA) alongside the existing military Training Mission (EUTM RCA).

Georgia: Challenges and uncertainties for 2020

04-03-2020

Georgia is gearing up for parliamentary elections in October 2020. The 'Georgian Dream' party, in charge since 2012, has strived to implement the reforms called for in the Association Agreement with the EU. However, the government has failed to fulfil its promise on electoral reforms and is facing mounting opposition. The High Representative (HR/VP) is expected to make a statement on Georgia during the March I plenary part-session.

Georgia is gearing up for parliamentary elections in October 2020. The 'Georgian Dream' party, in charge since 2012, has strived to implement the reforms called for in the Association Agreement with the EU. However, the government has failed to fulfil its promise on electoral reforms and is facing mounting opposition. The High Representative (HR/VP) is expected to make a statement on Georgia during the March I plenary part-session.

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