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On 17-19 September, Russia will hold elections at local, regional and national level, most importantly to the State Duma, the lower house of the Federal Assembly. Four hundred and fifty deputies will be elected for a five-year term. Ever since 2003, the State Duma has been dominated by the pro-Putin United Russia party, which currently holds a three-quarters supermajority. With the ruling party clearly in charge, the parliament serves as little more than a rubber stamp for Kremlin and government ...

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 ...

At a time when authoritarianism is rising, the Sakharov Prize draws attention to the situation of those who resist the repression of human rights and fundamental freedoms. This year, the prize is to be awarded to the democratic opposition in Belarus, represented by the Coordination Council. It rewards its courageous and peaceful role in opposing the falsification of the August 2020 elections, despite a brutal crackdown by the authorities. The Sakharov Prize will be presented in a ceremony during ...

The poisoning of Alexey Navalny

Kort overzicht 21-09-2020

EU-Russia relations hit a new low in August 2020, after Alexey Navalny, one of Russia's leading opposition activists, was poisoned by a banned nerve agent. Although the perpetrators have not yet been identified, the attack has to be seen in the context of repression and growing discontent against Putin. In response to this clear breach of international law and human rights, the EU is considering additional sanctions against Moscow.

Belarus on the brink

Kort overzicht 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 ...

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.

Among the Western Balkan countries aspiring to EU membership, Serbia is seen as a frontrunner in terms of its democratic institutions, level of economic development and overall readiness for accession. However, in November 2018 opposition politician, Borko Stefanović, was beaten up by thugs, triggering a wave of protests that has spread across the country. Week after week, thousands have taken to the streets, accusing Serbian president, Aleksandar Vučić, and his Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) of ...

Cambodia is one of nearly 50 developing countries that enjoy duty-free access to EU markets under the Everything but Arms scheme. In response to the country's deteriorating human rights situation, the EU is now considering whether to withdraw trade preferences.

Venezuela: The standoff continues

Kort overzicht 12-04-2019

Three months since Juan Guaido declared himself interim president of Venezuela and won official recognition from over 50 countries, his standoff with Nicolás Maduro continues, as the Chavista regime steps up its pressure on the opposition. The outcome is uncertain, but some progress has been made on the humanitarian front.

Venezuela: An unexpected turn of events

Kort overzicht 07-02-2019

The election of Juan Guaidó as president of the National Assembly and his subsequent self-proclamation as interim President of Venezuela has brought an unexpected turn to political events in the country and revived hopes for change both at home and abroad. Not only has Guaidó rallied massive popular support among Venezuelans, he has also obtained official recognition from the USA and most countries in the region. The European Parliament and 19 EU Member States have also recognised Guaidó as the legitimate ...