On Thursday 13 February, at least 12 protesters were arrested in Ankara when marching to parliament. Nearly 2,000 people were demonstrating against a bill tightening control of the internet. The protests turned violent as police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd. This was not the first round of protests: immediately after parliament approved the controversial bill on 16 January, people went to the street in Istanbul and Ankara. In Istanbul, the riot police then also took action after some protesters used firebombs. With plastic bullets, tear gas and water cannons, they tried to control the protesters.
On 13 February Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia had presented two U.N. Security Council draft resolutions on humanitarian aid access and the fight against "terrorism" in Syria. Russia counter-offered an earlier draft resolution backed by the West and the Syrian opposition, which Russia called biased against the government of Assad. Russia’s calls for a resolution condemning acts of "terrorism" are in tune with rhetoric of the Assad-regime.
On 11 February, protesters demanded the resignation of Bosniak-Croat Federation entity (FBiH) Prime Minister Nermin Niksic Niksic said he would only resign if parliament holds early elections. Niksic’s party, the Social Democratic Party (SDP), leans towards early elections. Demonstrators all across the country demand the resignation of regional and local leaders, whom they hold responsible for economic hardship (unemployment rate above 40%) and corruption. The protest begun last week after the closure of factories in Tuzla and are the worst since the end of the Bosnian war in 1995.
Ramush Haradinaj, head of the opposition Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), urged President Jahjaga to hold extraordinary elections as soon as possible. At this moment the coalition holds only 55 seats out of 120 in parliament.
Leftist Egyptian politician Hamdeem Sabahi has announced that he will run for president of Egypt, making him the first candidate to officially enter the presidential race. Sabahi has regularly expressed his intention to run for president but waited till last Saturday, 8 February, to announce his decision. Sabahi will probably have to contest the popular Army Chief Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, who has not yet announced his candidacy.
Kati Piri staat op de derde plek op de concept kandidatenlijst van de PvdA voor de Europese verkiezingen. Achter Paul Tang en Agnes Jongerius is zij de grote onbekende op de lijst. Maar als ze op 22 mei wordt gekozen, zal ze vanuit haar expertise op buitenlands beleid waarschijnlijk de buitenland portefeuille op haar nemen. Hoogste tijd om kennis te maken met Kati Piri!
Protesters of workers laid off when state-owned companies that were sold off collapsed under private ownership have been joined today by thousands of jobless people and youths and demobilised soldiers in towns in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) to protest against corruption and the economic and political situation in the country.
On 26 January the Tunisian Parliament adopted a new constitution, the first since the overthrow of the country’s long-time ruler Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011. The new constitution replaces the constitution written in 1956 after Tunisia’s independence from France. The new constitution, which was passed by 200 votes from 216, is seen as a crucial step to getting the democratic transition back on track for establishing full democracy. We have asked Sami Razgallah, from the social democratic party in Tunisia Ettakatol, what the main issues in this new Constitution are and what challenges he foresees for his country.
Yesterday 4 January, former Georgian ambassador to the EU, Salome Samadashvili, urged the EU to keep a watchful eye on Moldova’s Gagauzia region and Russian interference there. In a referendum in Gagauzia on 2 February, a majority of 98.4 percent opted for integration with the Russian-led Customs Union. In a separate question, 97.2 percent of the voters were against closer EU integration. In addition, 98,9 percent supported Gagauzia’s right to declare independence, should Moldova lose ore surrender its own independence. Over 70 percent of the electorate came out to vote.
Libya will elect an assembly on February 20 to draft a constitution intended to advance transition to democracy. The assembly will also attempt to break with the difficulties and political instability the country faces after the overthrow of Gaddafi more than two years ago