The centre-left Social Democrats won the majority of the seats in the parliament of Denmark. And despite opposition complaints of voting irregularities in Thailand, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha was re-elected by parliament for another five-year term. Continue reading
Following the uncertainty last week, there is continued unrest in Europe, with major protests in France, Brexit challenges in the United Kingdom, and worry about the use of cyberattacks to manipulate elections. In France, for the third weekend in a row, major protests against mounting gas prices and eco-taxes continued. This “yellow vest” movement has become a wider protest against President Emmanuel Macron, who announced a suspension of fuel tax and utility hikes later in the week. In the United Kingdom, for the first time ever, the British government was found in contempt of Parliament after it refused to publish the full legal advice underpinning its Brexit plan. And in Europe in general, a survey found that 61 per cent of Europeans worry about the use of cyberattacks to manipulate elections. Continue reading
The spotlight this week shifts to Catalonia and Iraqi Kurdistan, where there are moves for independence. In Catalonia, plans for a referendum in October is set to be approved, even though the Spanish government has said the vote is illegal. Spanish economy minister Luis de Guindos also warned that Catalonia’s gross domestic product could contract by 30 per cent upon secession. In Iraqi Kurdistan last week, likewise, the parliament of Iraq rejected Kurdish plans to hold an independence referendum, and the country’s Supreme Court has also weighed in to order the suspension of the planned referendum on September 25. President of Iraq Fuad Masum, in addition, cancelled his trip to the United States “to jump start an initiative to resolve the crisis [involving the Kurdish independence referendum]”. The countries of Iran, Iraq, and Turkey, furthermore, are considering counter-measures against this planned referendum.
“The Economist” argued that while the Kurds do have a case for the right to self-determination, under international law, the Catalan government does not, for it is not colonised, occupied, or oppressed. The newspaper argued that Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy should instead negotiate a new settlement with Catalonia, “while also offering to rewrite the constitution to allow referendums on secession, but only with a clear majority on a high turnout”. Instead, Mr. Rajoy insists the vote is illegal and unconstitutional. Continue reading