President Zuma attends the 40th Independence Celebration in Luanda, Angola, 2015. Photo by Government ZA via flickr.com. CC BY-ND 2.0

Angola at a Crossroads

The announcement of Angolan longtime president José Eduardo dos Santos not to stand for reelection has shaken up the country’s political scene. Sylvia Croese looks at Angola ahead of the 2017 legislative elections and at the “president in waiting”. General elections in Angola will take place on the 23 August 2017. These are the third […]

Photo by ITU Pictures via flickr.com, CC-BY-2.0

Presidential Elections in Rwanda: No Level Playing Field

Unlike in 2003 and 2010, even the semblance of a competitive electoral process has disappeared in the run-up to this year’s presidential poll in Rwanda. Filip Reyntjens looks at President Paul Kagame’s electoral campaign and the latest measures his regime is mounting against the opposition. “More of a coronation than real contest.” That is what […]

Photo by PACA via flickr.com, CC-BY-2.0

The End of Malaysia’s Multi-Ethnic Coalition?

For decades, the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional has narrowed the ethnic and religious divides in Malaysia. In the run-up to the next general elections, however, Prime Minister Najib Razak is intensifying cooperation with the Islamic party PAS, alienating large parts of his coalition and the population. The first quarter of 2017 indicated that Malaysia’s economy […]

Family photo of G7 leaders and EU representatives. Photo: Italian G7 Presidency 2017 - G7 Summit on g7italy.it / Wikimedia Commons - CC BY 3.0 it, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/it/legalcode

‘My Country First’ Approach Threatens Achievement of Global Goals

Two years after the Sustainable Development Goals were adopted by all UN member states, leaders at the G20 summit in Hamburg must strengthen the commitment towards these historic global goals. A rising “my country first” approach by many heads of government threatens the realization of the goals. Even worse: International spillover effects caused by many […]

EU2017EE, Estonian Presidency via flickr.com, CC BY 2.0
by alexeyklyukin via flickr.com, CC BY-SA 2.0

Talking Truth to Turkey

How scientific analysis can help countering President Erdogan’s fake narrative of Turkey’s thriving democracy and why the European Union should reconsider its policy towards EU accession countries. In his official message for Europe Day on 9 May 2017, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that his country “which has been a part of Europe historically, […]

Resist Trump Ralley, January 30, 2017. By Joe Crimmings via flickr.com. CC-BY-2.0

As Populists Rise in the West, Arab Autocrats Rejoice

The decay of democratic norms in European and U.S. policy-making plays into the hands of autocratic leaders in the Middle East and North Africa. While Prime Minister Theresa May officially announced the United Kingdom’s intention to leave the EU on 29 March 2017, and constant leaks and news from the White House about President Donald […]

Moon Jae-in at a rally in Seoul, by Jee Su Na, via flickr.com, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Is South Korea’s New President up to the Job?

Former human-rights attorney Moon Jae-in has won the South Korean presidential elections. His supporters expect above all a fight against cronyism and fundamental economic reforms. Relations with neighbors and allies are tense. On Wednesday, Moon Jae-in was sworn in for a five-year term as South Korea’s president. Winning 41 percent of the votes in Tuesday’s […]

Euromaidan, Kiev 2013. By Ivan Bandura via flickr.com, CC BY 2.0

How Western Populism Weakens Democracy in Ukraine

Populism in Europe, and in the West generally, plays into the hands of anti-democratic forces in Ukraine – and supports Russia’s destabilizing influence. Europe’s rising populist surge threatens Ukraine’s democratic future. During the Euromaidan protests in 2013/2014 and their aftermath, when the anti-Yanukovych opposition came to power, some European media denounced what they described as […]

Aleksandar Vučić, Serbia’s prime minister | By Amanda Voisard via UN Photo

Serbia’s PM Vučić: Yet Another Populist Strongman?

Public desire for strong leadership might allow Serbia’s prime minister, Aleksandar Vučić, soon to become president. But will he be able to steer the country through the current tide of regional and domestic tensions? Serbia’s populist prime minister, Aleksandar Vučić, will stand in elections on 2 April in a bid to become the country’s third […]