Nieuws over politieke trainingen en ontwikkelingen in Oost- en Zuidoost Europa, de Kaukasus, Afrika en het Midden Oosten
This week Syrian President Bashar al-Assad won a new seven-year term with nearly 90 percent of the vote. The elections were only held in the areas that are controlled by the government which are mostly in the north-west of the country, centred around the city of Hama and Damascus. Tens of thousands took to the streets in government-held areas even before the results were announced on 4 June, waving portraits of Assad and the official Syrian flag. The EU has condemned the elections saying that they are “illegitimate and undermine the political efforts to find a solution to this horrific conflict.” They noted people in rebel-held areas could not vote and that state media promoted the incumbent Bashar al-Assad.
On Sunday 8 June general elections will be held in Kosovo, following an early dissolution of parliament on 7 May. Parliament fell after interethnic bickering let to a legislative stalemate. The Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) of ruling Prime Minister Hashim Thaci is expected to win. The new government faces many challenges; foremost are a haltering economy, the strengthening of the fledgling government and judiciary and the integration of the ethnic Serbs.
In order to reclaim control over the country’s eastern regions, Ukrainian security forces have started a new offensive against pro-Russian separatists in the Donbas and Luhansk region. The offensive started on Sunday 1 June as government forces marched on the strategic town of Slavyansk, breaking through several roadside barricades. Separatist forces reacted by besieging a government-controlled border camp near the town of Luhansk on Monday 2 June. Thousands of civilians are on the run to escape the violence
On 2 June a Palestinian unity government, containing Fatah and Hamas, has been sworn in. According to media this event marks a “key step towards ending a major rift between factions in the West Bank and Gaza.”
Afgelopen weekend organiseerden we een campagne training voor jongeren in Oekraïne, met onze partner in Kiev, de Institute for Democracy and Social Progress (IDSP) voor het New Social Democratic Platform, die zij hebben opgericht met politiek actieve jongeren uit het hele land.
On Saturday 31 May the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) and the European Forum for Democracy and Solidarity held an expert meeting about the legitimacy of the EU and increasing civil engagement in order to revitalize the EU enlargement process. Researchers, academics and political foundations met in the Serbian capital of Belgrade to discuss these topics as part of the research program ‘Enhancing democracy pre and post EU accession - Citizens’ Europe’.
Het bezoek van de Amerikaanse vicepresident Biden beheerste de afgelopen week de kranten en nieuwssites, met voorbeschouwingen en exegese van Biden’s toespraken. De Roemeense campagne voor de Europese parlementsverkiezingen lijkt uitsluitend een aanloop te zijn naar de presidentsverkiezingen dit najaar.
With a majority of the votes counted, presidential candidate Petro Poroshenko seems to be the new president of Ukraine. Early presidential elections were held in Ukraine on Sunday 25 May as former president Yanukovych was ousted by the EuroMaidan revolution on 22 February. Poroshenko is expected to become president of a country in chaos. Two eastern regions declared independence and are plagued by violence as the country faces bankruptcy. The new president of Ukraine will be tasked with restoring peace and order in the country.
For the second night in a row, hundreds of Ethnic Macedonians, predominantly youth, clashed with police on the streets of the Macedonian capital Skopje. On the night of 20-21 six police officers were injured and 27 people got arrested. The riots broke out after the alleged murder of an ethnic 19-year-old Macedonian student by an ethnic Albanian on 19 May.
On Tuesday 20 May a court jury in Moscow convicted five men for the murder of rights activist and investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya in 2006. Three of the defendants had previously been acquitted of any involvement in the murder. The defendants all face life imprisonment and announced they will appeal.