Nieuws over politieke trainingen en ontwikkelingen in Oost- en Zuidoost Europa, de Kaukasus, Afrika en het Midden Oosten
Today, President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk signed the political part of the Association Agreement. An Association Agreement is EU's main instrument to bring the countries in the Eastern Partnership closer to EU standards and norms. It comprises four general chapters: Common Foreign and Security Policy; Justice and Home Affairs; the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA); and a fourth chapter covering a range of issues including the environment, science, transportation, and education. The trade part of the EU accord, which is the bulk of the treaty, is to be signed after May.
The Ata-Meken (Fatherland) party announced, on 18 March, its withdrawal from the Kyrgyz government coalition, which means the government, will be dissolved. Ata-Meken party leader Omurbek Tekebayev said the withdrawal was the result of a parliamentary inquiry into the State Directorate for Reconstruction of Osh and Jalal-Abad Cities, which was headed by Prime Minister Jantoro Satybaldiyev. The ministers will remain at their posts until a new government is formed.
General elections of a new parliament in Bulgaria have been held on May 12th 2013. The results were that the number of parliamentarians in the former leading party GERB (which stands for Citizens for an European Development of Bulgaria) declined from 117 to 97 persons, whereas the number of socialists (BSP) more than doubled to 84 parliamentarians and the Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedom (DPS) consolidated its position with 36 members.
On April 17th presidential elections are scheduled in Algeria. The current president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who has been in power for the last fifteen years, will run again. His candidature has caused a lot of resistance by opponents, which have staged several protests. Next to the current president, eleven candidates have registered for the elections. The Constitutional Council have examined all applications and approved those of six candidates. Despite this number, changes that Bouteflika will win again are huge.
Exit polls predict a landslide victory for the centre-right Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) in the parliamentary elections of Sunday 16 March. Winning almost half of all votes, the SNS will gain an overall majority in the Serbian parliament. SNS leader, Alexander Vucic, is widely believed to become Serbia’s new prime minister. The turnout was 50.3 percent, 3.3 percent less than the last elections in 2012.
Following a referendum on Sunday 16 March, Crimea declared itself an independent state on Monday 17 March. The newly formed Republic of Crimea formally applied to join the Russian Federation the same day. The West claims the referendum to be illegal and says it will impose new sanctions.
In Turkey, tensions soared on 11 and 12 March when tens of thousands of people took to the streets and gathered to mourn the death of Berkin Elvan. He died after being in a coma for nine months. Last June he was hit on the head by a tear-gas canister while going to buy bread during the protests against the prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He was a symbol for the police brutality that, among others, caused the Gezi-protests of last year to escalate. These protests started as a relatively small environmentalist movement to save Istanbul's central Gezi Park but evolved into a nationwide wave of protests against Erdoğan, who is seen as increasingly authoritarian.
On Wednesday 12 March, the European Parliament agreed on a framework for sanctions against Russia. The sanctions would impose travel bans and asset freezes on people and firms Brussels believes to have violated the integrity of Ukraine. The EU is prepared to take harsher measures such as arms embargo’s and trade measures, if need be.
Libya’s Prime Minster, Ali Zeidan, was ousted by parliament, the General National Congress, after a vote of no confidence on Tuesday 11 March. Zeidan was blamed for letting an oil tanker, laden with rebel sold oil, escape naval forces. Zeidan will be temporarily replaced by Defence Minister Abdallah al-Thinni.
On 30 January Serbia president Tomislav Nikolic called early parliamentary elections for 16 March. According to the president Serbia “shall certainly get a government with more energy and enthusiasm and released from problems that this government has solved.” The coalition government, in which the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) is the main party, explained its request for early elections by the need to ensure ‘as wide as possible support for accelerated reforms and modernization of Serbia’. However, the fact that SNS is skyrocketing in all polls (above 40%) is considered as crucial factor for SNS to go to the polls and having its leader Aleksandar Vucic as prime minister.