Archive for the ‘Democracy & Human Rights’ Category

24
Dec

With the results of Spain’s election on Sunday, a tumultuous 2015 for Europe is ending on a stinging note that underscores Germany’s increasing isolation and Europe’s deepening division.

Spain’s voters followed those in Portugal and Greece this year in punishing a conservative government that had allied with Brussels, Berlin and international creditors in carrying out the austerity policies pushed as the solution to Europe’s debt crisis.

After the Spanish vote, Italy’s prime minister, Matteo Renzi, a center-leftist who had built a good relationship with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, renewed his attack on austerity and, quite nearly, Ms. Merkel personally, effectively blaming her policies for the rise of populism across Europe. Read more...

Published on Dec. 22 in www.nytimes.com

15
Dec

Marine Le Pen, Postponed

Written on December 15, 2015 by Waya Quiviger in Democracy & Human Rights, Europe, Op Ed

The good news, on Sunday night, was that the National Front failed to win any of the 13 French regions. The prospect of seeing the far-right party’s leader, the bellicose Marine Le Pen, as chairwoman of the northern region, or her young equally pugnacious niece, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, as head of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in the south, had evaporated.

One week earlier, after the first round of regional elections, their party had achieved unprecedented results, reaching 40 percent of the vote in those two regions and scoring a national average of 27.7 percent, ahead of all other parties. On Sunday, French voters rallied to stop them. Many who had stayed away for the first round eventually turned up for the second round.

7
Dec

Marion Marechal-Le Pen greets supporters (6 Dec)

The far-right National Front’s victory in the first round of French regional elections on Sunday will have an impact far beyond the composition of local governments and the shock it will have sent through the French political establishment.

In every single European capital, politicians will ponder the results and wonder how an anti-immigration, anti-European movement could become France’s first political party. They will also worry about what it means for Europe in a time of crisis — economic and existential.

The National Front may take over two, three or even more French regions after a second round of voting on December 13, but for many, the damage has been done.
1. Le Pen’s mainstream push pays off

Marine Le Pen, the National Front’s current leader and daughter of the party’s founder Jean-Marie, is reaping the rewards for her strategy of pulling the party away from the far-right fringes, ridding it of its extremist stigma, and courting the disenfranchised working class she says is being abandoned by the mainstream political parties of both right and left.

She stands a good chance of winning and then running the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, an area more populous than 12 EU countries. Her personal victory, winning more than 40 percent of the popular vote in an industrial area that was historically a stronghold of the Communist and Socialist parties, shows how many voters have drifted away from the ruling left, after seven years of economic crisis.

Le Pen’s niece, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, who is seen as more conservative than her aunt, notably on social issues, did even better in the Provence region. Other leading candidates also did better than expected, showing that the party has developed a grassroots following far beyond mere adhesion to Marine Le Pen herself. Read more…

12/7/15; http://www.politico.eu

18
Nov

Last month the IE Master in International Relations Academic Director and Professor, Daniel Kselman, travelled to Washington D.C. where he gave a Master Class on democracy, prosperity, and economic growth, showing the interconnection between each as well as the practical importance in modern societies.

Professor Kselman showed this through real life examples charting the relationship between political freedom at the national level and its link with economic performance, indicating pluralism as the key factor. He then looked at how policy makers can use this information going forward when looking to create more open and democratic societies.

While professor Kselman did make note to point out the positive implications of this research, he also cautioned that governments and international funding arms such as the IMF and the World Bank should be careful of how and more importantly to whom they allocate their resources, posturing that pluralism should be their main indicator when faced with these decisions.

The event was preceded by admissions events related to IE´s Master in International Relations program and was followed by a networking cocktail with interested students, alumni, and professors.

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13
Nov

A new era in Myanmar

Written on November 13, 2015 by Waya Quiviger in Asia, Democracy & Human Rights

FOR once the headline of the Global New Light of Myanmar, the rag that churns out the paranoid delusions of Myanmar’s ruling generals, told the real story: “Dawn of a New Era”. Even before a final result is declared, it is plain that the National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel peace-prize winner, has won by a landslide in Myanmar’s first free, but far from fair, election in 25 years.

The NLD seems likely to have won enough seats to secure a majority—even with a quarter of the parliamentary seats reserved for the army. That is a remarkable victory for Miss Suu Kyi, a vindication of her policy of compromise with the generals and a repudiation of decades of military rule (see article). One of Asia’s most isolated and brutal dictatorships may thus be setting a democratic example to an ever more autocratic neighbourhood: in recent years Thailand has suffered a military coup (again), China and Vietnam have been locking up more dissenters and bloggers than ever and Malaysia’s government has clung to power only through rigged elections.

Amid the euphoria though, there is a nagging fear that Myanmar’s generals will seek to frustrate the people’s will. The early signs are that they will not do so blatantly, as they did when they ignored Miss Suu Kyi’s last general-election success in 1990. But apart from their parliamentary block, the generals retain control of the army, police and key ministries as well as much of the civil service. The army-inspired constitution ensures that Miss Suu Kyi cannot become president. Read more…

Published on Nov. 13 in the Economist

 

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