Nieuws over politieke trainingen en ontwikkelingen in Oost- en Zuidoost Europa, de Kaukasus, Afrika en het Midden Oosten
Today, Wednesday 23 April, the Lebanese parliament failed to elect a new president. Lawmakers had to elect a successor for President Michel Suleiman, whose six-year term ends on 25 May. Political turmoil and social unrest have divided the country, making it very difficult to reach agreement on a suitable presidential candidate.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad term ends on 17 July, which means elections need to be held. On 21 April the date has been set: 3 June. Assad is expected to run again to win another seven-year term in office.
On 15 April Ukrainian government forces started clearing out pro-Russian separatist strongholds in eastern Ukraine. Tensions are very high as both government forces and pro-Russia separatists stage rival shows of power. On 14 April acting Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov ordered Ukrainian armed forces to regain control over the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine after pro-Russia protesters started occupying government buildings starting 6 April.
On April 14th a legal adviser of Abdel Fatah al-Sisi submitted 200.000 signatures in favour of al-Sisi’s presidential candidacy to the election commission, which is eight times the number required. Although al-Sisi’s election manifesto has not been published yet, he already enjoys support from these 200.000 persons.
Met de steun van FMS werd in het weekend van 11-13 april een campagnetraining georganiseerd voor de jongeren van de Sociaal Democratische Partij (SDP) in Montenegro. De campagne voor de komende lokale verkiezingen (o.a. in de hoofdstad Podgorica) stond centraal in de training. De deelnemers bedachten acties en werkten uit hoe ze online communicatie het beste kunnen inzetten in hun campagne.
Today, the Turkish Constitutional Court partly overturned a controversial judicial bill. It thereby also demands a redefinition of the justice minister’s increased competences. The bill on the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) was drafted by the government as a response to fraud and corruption allegations. It sparked weeks of debate over concerns on the independence of the judiciary.
On April 6th, about a hundred ethnic Albanians staged a protest in Tuzi, a suburb of the capital Podgorica where this group forms the majority. During the gathering, the group pressed demands for Tuzi to become a separate municipality.
On the evening of Sunday 6 April pro-Russian protesters occupied government buildings in eastern Ukraine, demanding referendums to be held on joining Russia. Ukraine’s acting Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenuk blamed Russia for the seizures, as interim President Olexander Turchunov cancelled his visit to Lithuania.
On 3 April the Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian announced that he will resign. Why he took this unexpected decision is not yet clear. Sarkisian was six years in office. The ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) said that Sarkisian announced his resignation at a meeting of its governing body chaired by President Serzh Sarkisian (no relation). Under the Armenian constitution, all government ministers must also step down if the prime minister is dismissed or decides to quit.
Yesterday, 1 April, NATO members ordered military commanders to draw up plans for reinforcing NATO’s defenses to shore up confidence among the Eastern European members, including the Baltic States and Poland. Also, all civilian and military cooperation with Russia is suspended. Foreign Ministers of the 28 NATO members gathered in Brussels for the first time since the Russian annexation of Crimea.