Nieuws over politieke trainingen en ontwikkelingen in Oost- en Zuidoost Europa, de Kaukasus, Afrika en het Midden Oosten
Clashes broke out between ethnic Albanians and police in the ethnically divided Kosovo town of Mitrovica, injuring 13 police officers and 21 protesters on Sunday 22 June. The clashes started after ethnic Serbs rebuilt a road barricade over the central bridge, dividing the ethnic Albanian southern part of the town from the ethnically Serbian northern part. Local Serbs removed the barricade on 17 June but they replaced a road barricade, made of sand and flowerpots, on 18 June. The ethnic Albanian’s were outraged by the renewed barricade, saying the barricade stands testament to ethnic Serb refusal to integrate into the independent state of Kosovo.
The rapid conquest of large parts of Iraq by the radical Sunny Islamist al-Qaeda splinter group, Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has a destabilizing effect on the entire region. ISIL fighters aim to establish a Sunny caliphate along the Iraqi-Syrian frontier, mirroring the eight century Abbasid caliphate. ISIL fighters pride themselves on their brutality and have massacred hundreds of Shiite troops, who they consider heretics. The emphasis on the Sunny – Shiite divide spikes fears for sectarian violence that could spread across the entire region
On 15 June municipal elections took place in Georgia in which the heads of 59 municipalities and 71 new local councils were elected, for a term of three years and four months. Next to this, mayoral elections were held in twelve cities. Despite the fact that Transparency International reported irregularities and filed complaints, they argued that the election day was “generally calm”.
Tensions between Israel and Palestine rise as Israel deploys around 2,000 troops in southern West Bank on 14 June. Israeli military command has announced its plan to step up its military operations in the region in order to locate three abducted Israeli teens. Troops have sealed of most entrances to the city of Hebron on 15 June and increased its military presence to 2,500 troops. In the city of Ramallah a Palestinian protester was killed as Israeli troops expand their pressure on the Palestinians.
Access to the move-sharing website YouTube has been partially blocked in Tajikistan on Tuesday 10 June. The Tajik government has been blamed for blocking the website but denies all involvement. In 2013 the Tajik authorities blocked YouTube after a movie of a dancing and singing President Emomallii Rahmon was uploaded onto the Internet.
Sinds 25 april protesteren duizenden studenten in Oromia tegen de landroof van de Ethiopische regering. Ondanks dat vreedzame protesten grondwettelijk zijn toegestaan, reageert de regering met harde hand. Tientallen jongeren en andere demonstranten vonden al de dood. Het precieze aantal is onduidelijk omdat er weinig informatie over naar buiten mag komen. En ook al trokken ngo’s als Amnesty International en Human Rights Watch aan de bel, berichtten internationale media maar mondjesmaat over het politiek geweld.
On 3 June the Election Commission announced the results of the presidential elections: Abdel Fattah al-Sisi won 96.91% of the votes. On 26 and 27 May Egyptian voters could cast their ballots for the presidential elections. Because the turnout was low on the 26th, the government declared a national holiday on the 27th, which they hope leads to a higher turnout. In the end, 47% of the country’s 54 million people, voted. This percentage is lower than expected.
On 8 June general elections took place in Kosovo, due to an early dissolution of parliament on 7 May. Normally, elections would take place half a year later. Ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo (DPK) got the most votes: 30;72%. Despite this fact, three opposition parties announced an plan to topple a DPK government, which could succeed.
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.