On the 6th of March Foundation Max van der Stoel joined a roundtable discussion at the FES EU Office in Brussels: North Macedonia and Greece after the Prespa Agreement. This Agreement settled the name dispute between Greece and (now) North Macedonia and paved the way for Euro-Atlantic integration. The discussion covered both the lessons that could be learned from this process as well as expectations for the relations between North Macedonia and Greece after signing the Agreement.
Na maandenlang wekelijks de straat op te gaan trachtte de protestbeweging in Servië op zaterdag 16 maart de druk op de autoritaire president Vučić op te voeren door het gebouw van de publieke omroep te bezetten en, tevergeefs, zendtijd te eisen. Zonder gebruik van excessief geweld werd het gebouw door de politie ontruimd. De demonstranten hebben een kleine tik uitgedeeld aan de president in hun strijd voor mediavrijheid en herstel van democratie en rechtstaat, maar de weg naar de overwinning is nog lang. Foundation Max van der Stoel was bij de protesten in Belgrado en zag een bijzonder divers groep burgers de angst trotseren en het opnemen tegen de president.
Na een vreedzame revolutie heeft de progressieve regering van premier Zaev grote stappen gezet in een korte tijd: relaties met de buurlanden verbeterd, een historische akkoord met Griekenland gesloten en stappen gezet in Euro-Atlantische integratie. Ook op het gebied van mensenrechten en gelijkheid breekt het land met de illiberale trends in de buurlanden. Zo zijn de rechten van LHBT-personen voor het eerst op de agenda van een politieke partij in Macedonië.
On the 16th of February general elections were supposed to occur in Nigeria. The last time elections were held was in 2015, where voters could choose between Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari. People hoped this election would bring a new start. This year, Nigerian voters are choosing between the sitting president Buhari (76) and a new candidate, Atiku Abubakar (72). Both are known for being corrupt. The majority of voters in Nigeria do not feel represented by these men, especially the younger part of the population. On top of that, Nigerians never even got a chance to vote this past weekend: the elections were postponed. How did Africa’s largest democracy end up here?
After a nine-month deadlock it was announced on January 31 by Prime Minister Saad Hariri that Lebanon formed a new government. Hariri has been negotiating with Lebanon’s rival parties since the parliamentary elections last May. The political system that is based on a power-sharing agreement between religious groups lies at the heart of this long process. The main obstacles concerned the Iran-backed Hezbollah group gaining ground in the government and therefore appointing key ministries which would enlarge their sphere of influence.
In the past few weeks multiple protests have sparked in the South African country Zimbabwe, bringing a lot of violence and resulting in arrests. The direct cause for these protest was the rise of fuel prices by 150 percent. This meant that petrol now costs 3,31 US dollars per litre, the highest fuel price in the world. The bigger picture shows a general unrest in the country, where corruption and poverty are still very present. When President Robert Mugabe resigned under pressure of his party, the people were very happy. However, the new president Emmerson Mnangagwa has not brought the changes people hoped for.
Een aantal jaren heeft het Roemeense anti-corruptieparket voor klinkende veroordelingen kunnen zorgen. De regering heeft die dynamiek gestopt, probeert het OM te muilkorven en negeert het onafhankelijke bestuursorgaan van de rechtspraak. Dit vertaalt zich echter nog niet in een lagere score op de Corruption Perception Index van Transparency International.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), is under pressure as the protests against him and his government are continuing. Every Saturday, since the 8th of December 2018, thousands of people are marching peacefully throughout Belgrade to protest against violence in the society and Vučić’s repressive regime. The protests are supported by the opposition Alliance for Serbia which was created last September. More and more parties are joining the alliance. The Democratic Party (DS) is one of the founding members of the Alliance and we interviewed DS member and director of our partner Center of Modern Skills (CMV), Miloš Djajić,to tell us more about the background of the protests and possible outcomes.
On the 10th of January opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi was announced winner of the Congolese presidential elections. After an extensive ruling period by President Kabila (since 2001), the election of an opposition leader could be a step in the right direction for the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, Martin Fayulu, a second opposition candidate, claims the elections were rigged and that he is the true winner. Several pieces of evidence support his claim. A year ago, Foundation Max van der Stoel talked about this subject during the political café on the (non)sense of elections in Congo. Here we discussed that the result of new democratic elections could be the first peaceful transfer of power since independence in 1960.