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The spirit of political turmoil keeps reigning in the transitioning countries with questionable democratic advances. As expected, times of economic difficulties and power succession provide the needed background for tensions to escalate into massive clashes between the incumbent government and the opposition.Read more...
9 out of 9 for Prime Minister Erdogan
This Sunday’s local elections in Turkey were the decisive moment for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) to prove they still got the better share of public support. With 60% of the votes counted, it was Erdogan’s AKP that was winning with 47% of the popular vote compared to 27% for their main opposition – the Republican People’s Party (CHP). While AKP’s victory was very narrow in some places, such as the capital Ankara where they beat the secular CHP by just a percent, it represents a resolute triumph for the pious Muslims and middle class of Turkey.
“This day is a victory for new Turkey! Democracy has won!” a joyous Erdogan said to thousands of supporters in Ankara after the early results were announced. “We didn’t achieve our victory on the streets. We won through political methods, through democracy, through elections.”
This is Erdogan’s ninth consecutive win of parliament or local elections. It may prove to be his biggest as this was the first poll after the mass anti-government protests that shook the country last June. Erdogan and his government have been accusedof authoritarianism as well as engaging in large-scale corruption practices.
AKP’s victory is even more impressive considering the strong anti-government campaign that the opposition forces launched over the last two months by anonymously uploading a series of online leaks. The campaign’s largest move in discrediting Erdogan’s administration was a video recording showing high-ranking Turkish military officers discussing an invasion plan of Syria that was uploaded on Twitter. As a result access to Twitter and YouTube was banned in order to stop “spreading misinformation”, as Ergodan explained.
While the CHP is the largest political faction to challenge AKP, it is the U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen who is Erdogan’s main political adversary, being a former ally as well. Learning of his victory Erdogan was quick to announce that he will “enter the lair” of his enemies and “make them pay”. Many translate this as a sign of future crackdowns in the police and judiciary where Gulen is said to have multiple supporters.
French socialists win Paris, but lose the war
The same day brought quite a different mood for another ruling party to the west as the French socialists suffered a harsh blow in local elections. The end results left the socialists with only 40,6% of the votes compared to 46% for the opposing right conservatives of UMP, with the far-right winning in 15 towns. President Francois Hollande’s party still managed to retain their dignity by winning the pearl of the crown – Paris, a city that will have its first female mayor – Anne Hidalgo.
“What matters is how President Hollande takes this message and how we can change those politics which are completely disastrous for the country,” UMP leader Jean-Francois Cope said.
Hollande was quick to interpret the message as he immediately accepted current Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault’s resignation and gave the position to Interior Minister Manuel Valls. In a recent poll, Valls, a liberal who is very unpopular with the far-left of the socialist party, received larger support from conservative voters than from people of his own party. Announcing the change on television, Hollande called for reduction in taxes and worker contributions to spur job creation.
This Sunday’s elections showed a sign of a “blue wave” as center-right and far-right snatched 155 towns with a population of more than 9000 people away from the socialists. Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right’s National Front, described the situation as her party’s biggest success in municipal elections. The National Front is openly fighting against immigration and the so-called “Islamization of the country”.
By Ivaylo Gyurov
International attention has been turned to the dramatic changes taking place in Ukraine over the course of the past four months. The failure of former Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovich to establish closer ties with the EU, and the turning to Moscow instead, sparked massive protests in the country. Violence, division of opinions and international pressure led to the overthrowing of Victor Yanukovich. Continue reading…Read more...
These past several days have seen some of the most exciting and worrying developments on the international scene, giving political analysts plenty of food for thought. On one hand, the international community united in its opposition to Crimea’s secession from Ukraine and its attempt to join the Russian Federation. On the other hand, Western countries have not been able to come up with a strong and unified response to the situation and are unlikely to do so. Continue reading…Read more...
On February 26, AUBG continued its tradition of welcoming distinguished lecturers. Dr. Mark Kramer, program director for a Project on Cold War studies at Harvard University, met students and faculty in Andrey Delchev Auditorium in order to talk about the myths and reality of the Cold War. A part of the Panitza Communist Studies Lecture Series, the point of the presentation was to discuss today’s threats and challenges from a historical perspective. Continue reading…Read more...