Nieuws

Lokale campagne training met enthousiaste Oekraïense jongeren

Afgelopen weekend organiseerden wij een training in Oekraïne, met de New Social Democratic Platform, een jongerenbeweging van onze partner daar, de Institute for Democracy and Social Progress. FMS trainers Thijs ’t Hart en Marjolein Nieuwdorp kregen een groep jongeren voor zich die – soms ondanks vele uren reizen om bij de training te kunnen zijn – zich met ontzettend veel enthousiasme en energie stortten op de materie.

Belarus' dicatator Lukashenko "wins" Presidential elections

The Central Election Commission (TsVK) of Belarus announced on 11 October that long ruling president Alyaksandr Lukashenko has officially won the Presidential elections for the fifth time with 83.49% of the vote. Despite calls to boycott the election from various oppositionists, the voter turnout was reportedly 86.7%. Lukashenko ran against 3 other candidates: opposition movement leader Tatsyana Karatkevich (Havary Pravdu /Tell the Truth) and pro-government politicians Syarhey Haydukyevich (Liberal Democratic Party) and Mikalay Ulakhovich (Belarusian Patriotic Party). The official results do not come as a surprise, as all of Lukashenko’s re-elections have had similarly high official results in elections that are widely considered rigged.

Fraud and pressure on independent observers during Russia’s regional elections

On Sunday September 13th nationwide regional elections were held in Russia in 84 of the 85 regions of the country, including the disputed region of Crimea. More than 189.000 candidates were eligible for election by 59 million voters in 10,700 different elections and 70 referendums were held in 10 regions. In 21 regions Governors were elected. The Kostroma region was the only region where an opposition party openly critical of the Kremlin, the People’s Freedom Party (Parnas), participated in the elections. Preliminary results show that Vladimir Putin’s party United Russia won the elections. Independent watchdogs registered multiple violations during the elections, including fraud and pressure on independent observers.

Roemenië laat vluchtelingen langs zich heen gaan

De binnenlandse hommeles eisen in Roemenië vaak meer aandacht op dan wat er in het buitenland gebeurt. De vluchtelingencrisis is een dankbaar onderwerp in de pers, maar de politiek reageert aarzelend. Roemenië ligt naast de route naar het beloofde Duitsland, want de vluchtelingen uit het Oosten trekken door buurlanden Servië en Hongarije verder naar Midden-Europa.

Fraud and pressure on independent observers during Russia’s regional elections

On Sunday September 13th nationwide regional elections were held in Russia in 84 of the 85 regions of the country, including the disputed region of Crimea. More than 189.000 candidates were eligible for election by 59 million voters in 10,700 different elections and 70 referendums were held in 10 regions. In 21 regions Governors were elected. The Kostroma region was the only region where an opposition party openly critical of the Kremlin, the People’s Freedom Party (Parnas), participated in the elections. Preliminary results show that Vladimir Putin’s party United Russia won the elections. Independent watchdogs registered multiple violations during the elections, including fraud and pressure on independent observers.

Tens of thousands protest in Moldavian capital Chisinau

Sunday an estimated 60.000 protesters gathered on the central square in the Moldovan capital Chisinau to call for the resignation of president Nicolae Timofti and for new elections to be held, after a major bank fraud further derogated Moldova’s already struggling economy last year. One billion dollar, equivalent to roughly 1/8th of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), disappeared from three banks in November 2014, leading to steep inflation, the depreciation of the national currency, Leu, and a lowering of the living standards of the population. Protesters, shouting “bring the billion back home” and “down with the mafia”, further demanded the resignation of officials at Moldova’s central bank and the attorney general’s office. Moldovans form all over the country and from different political backgrounds came together at the six hour long protest, while up to 40 tents had been erected early Monday morning as a base for some of the protesters who pledged to stay until their demands are met.

Turkish police raids offices of government-critical media group

Tuesday morning the Turkish finance ministry’s crimes investigation board (MASAK), escorted by masked police forces, raided the headquarters of the IPEK media group along with 22 other locations tied to its parent company the Koza-Ipek holding. Six people were arrested during the raids and a warrant has been issued for chairman Akin Ipek, whose house was raided as well. The Koza-Ipek holding is active in various sectors including mining, media and energy. Government-critical daily newspapers Bugün and Millet, as well as TV stations BugünTV and Kanaltürk are subsidiaries of the holding. The raids were conducted on the authorities’ suspicion of Koza-Ipek providing financial support and “the disseminating of propaganda” to the “Gulenist Terrorist Group”. With elections coming up in November, many of Erdogan’s critics fear that this raid is yet another step by the Turkish government to silence the media in a bid to strengthen the rule of the ruling Justice and Development Party ( AKP) and weaken Erdogan’s rival Fethullah Gulen.

Youth Summer Academy Eastern Europe takes place in Lviv, Ukraine

On 19-23 August the sixth annual Summer Academy organised by the British Labour Party, Foundation Max van der Stoel, European Forum for Democracy and Solidarity and partners in Ukraine from the New Social Democratic Platform was held Lviv, Ukraine. The Summer Academy is organised for young social democrats from Eastern Europe and is aimed to help the participants learn new skills in political ideology, campaigning, communication and debating as well as gain enough confidence and knowledge to be able to repeat the training themselves. The participants were selected from social democratic parties from 4 countries - Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine. Trainers from the UK and The Netherlands facilitated the training together with trainers from Moldova and Ukraine (who were themselves alumni of previous Summer Academy editions).

Violence in Kyiv following controversial constitutional amendments

In Kyiv three members of the National Guard died as a result of injuries sustained by a grenade explosion during protests in the Ukrainian capital on Monday. A further 140 people, mostly law enforcement officers, were hospitalized after a group of protesters tried to storm the parliament and clashed with the National Guard. The far-right Svoboda party organized protests with the participation of other far right-wing/populist groups, which took place after the parliament voted in favor of a proposed constitutional amendment expanding autonomy to the separatist-held territories in Eastern Ukraine, in accordance to the terms of the second Minsk cease-fire agreement. President Petro Poroshenko puts the blame on ultra-nationalist groups as Svoboda and Right Sector and called the violence “a stab in the back” and “an anti-Ukrainian action”. His prime minister Arseniy Yetsenyuk stated that “so-called pro-Ukrainian political forces” were weakening the country by “opening a second front inside the country”.

Russia investigates legitimacy of Baltic States’ independence

The Russian chief prosecutor's office examined whether the Soviet Union acted legally when it recognised the Baltic states' independence in 1991. A source related to the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office, accepted an enquiry previously made by two members of the Russian Duma (parliament) - Anton Romanov, and Yevgeny Fyodorov; both members of President Vladimir Putin's United Russia party. In their letter, Fyodorov and Romanov, said the 1991 decision to recognise Baltic independence had been taken "by an unconstitutional body". The State Soviet was an interim assembly formed in September 1991, and comprised the Soviet president and the leaders of 10 of the country's republics. But the Soviet Constitution allowed no provisions for the creation of such a body. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday that the move had not come from the Kremlin "We were not familiar with this initiative in the Kremlin, and I am struggling to understand the essence of it," he told reporters. Even though, the Russian Prosecutor General's Office decided these claims have no legal grounds, it has raised strong reactions among Baltic states and their allies.

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