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India: taking stock of Modi's five years

10-04-2019

From 11 April to 18 May 2019, 900 million Indians are invited to take part in the world's biggest democratic event: the election of the 543 members of the Lok Sabha (lower chamber). Voting will be held across the country in seven phases and the result will be declared on 23 May. In 2014 the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) obtained the absolute majority in India's Lok Sabha, and Narendra Modi became prime minister. Enjoying a strong and undisputed mandate, Modi has generated expectations ...

From 11 April to 18 May 2019, 900 million Indians are invited to take part in the world's biggest democratic event: the election of the 543 members of the Lok Sabha (lower chamber). Voting will be held across the country in seven phases and the result will be declared on 23 May. In 2014 the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) obtained the absolute majority in India's Lok Sabha, and Narendra Modi became prime minister. Enjoying a strong and undisputed mandate, Modi has generated expectations of unleashing the country's economic potential and has adopted many flagship initiatives in a bid to change the country. In the last five years, India has overtaken China as the fastest growing economy, becoming the world's sixth biggest economy and a space power. Doing business in the country has become easier. Poverty has been reduced. The government succeeded in introducing major fiscal unification reform and a new law on bankruptcy. It failed, however to create the necessary stock of jobs for young people or to promote long-awaited labour reforms. The situation for farmers has worsened, and an overnight demonetisation hindered progress among small businesses and rural communities, while failing to bring real advances in the fight against corruption. State banks hold large stocks of bad loans and the government has increased pressure on the central bank and on its independence. Hindu nationalism and religious intolerance, pressure on freedom of expression, possible state intrusion into privacy, citizenship issues and other topics have been matters for concern in the area of human rights, although the country remains a robust democracy governed by the rule of law. Modi has increased the country's presence in the global arena, although the framework of India's relations with the major powers has not changed. Following two summits in 2016 and 2017, the EU and India have embarked on a road towards cooperation on non-trade issues. Trade has meanwhile stagnated and little progress has been made in negotiations on a trade and investment agreement.

Pakistan ahead of the 2018 elections

17-07-2018

Pakistan will hold general elections on 25 July 2018. This event deserves attention for several reasons. With around 200 million inhabitants, Pakistan has the sixth-largest population in the world. One of the world's nine nuclear powers, it is the only Muslim country among them. It is strategically located between India, China, Afghanistan and Iran. It plays a major role with regard to Afghanistan's stability and the fight against terrorism, for which it has often been accused of connivance with ...

Pakistan will hold general elections on 25 July 2018. This event deserves attention for several reasons. With around 200 million inhabitants, Pakistan has the sixth-largest population in the world. One of the world's nine nuclear powers, it is the only Muslim country among them. It is strategically located between India, China, Afghanistan and Iran. It plays a major role with regard to Afghanistan's stability and the fight against terrorism, for which it has often been accused of connivance with militant groups. Finally, it is home to the world's second-largest Muslim population. The election is set to secure the second consecutive democratic transition of power in a country marked by chronic dualism between political and military power. The event is particularly important, given the current political turmoil following the removal of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from office. Pakistan is accused of giving support to terrorist groups. However, after the Taliban massacred 132 children at an army-run school in 2014, the authorities adopted a number of provisions to curtail terrorism. Nevertheless, the US administration, which considers Pakistan one of its key allies in the Afghanistan war, is unsatisfied with its record of fighting terrorism. The resultant US freeze on military aid to Islamabad may force the latter to switch allegiance to China and Russia, which could jeopardise Washington's efforts in Afghanistan. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) of infrastructure projects is an example of the already flourishing relations with Beijing. An EU election observation mission is monitoring the electoral process. Since 2014, Pakistan has benefitted from the EU's Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), which has boosted the country's exports to the EU. A new EU-Pakistan strategic engagement plan is to be signed in 2018. The European Parliament has expressed concern over the country's human rights situation on several occasions, with special reference to the persecution of religious minorities.

Mexico 2018: Elections that will make history

21-06-2018

Mexico's 1 July 2018 elections will be the biggest in its history, as people go to the polls to vote for the country's president and legislature, but also for most of its governors and local councillors. There is a record number of registered voters (89 million), 45 % of whom are below the age of 35 and 12 million are newly entitled to vote. For the first time in decades, a candidate of the left has real chances of becoming president. For the first time in the country's political history, some candidates ...

Mexico's 1 July 2018 elections will be the biggest in its history, as people go to the polls to vote for the country's president and legislature, but also for most of its governors and local councillors. There is a record number of registered voters (89 million), 45 % of whom are below the age of 35 and 12 million are newly entitled to vote. For the first time in decades, a candidate of the left has real chances of becoming president. For the first time in the country's political history, some candidates are able to stand for consecutive re-election, and independent candidates are running for president or member of the Senate. On a more negative note, the 2018 Mexican election process has been one of the most violent so far, with over a hundred politicians and candidates murdered since it started in September 2017, and hundreds others exposed to aggression. Nine political parties grouped in three different coalitions, as well as some independent candidates, will participate in the elections. There are four presidential candidates. Of these, left-wing candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador leads the polls with nearly 50 % of the voting intention, followed by right-wing candidate Roberto Anaya with over 25 %, centre candidate Juan Antonio Meade with just around 20 %, and independent candidate Jaime Rodríguez with slightly over 2 %. The high number of young and new voters, the climate of political violence and US President Donald Trump's Mexican policy – or the 'Trump effect' – are among the main factors likely to influence the results. Mexico is a strategic partner of the EU and the parties hold high-level dialogues with each other. The Global Agreement between the two parties is being modernised, with a new trade agreement in principle having been reached in April 2018. This process has been supported by the European Parliament, which has also shown concern for the violence affecting the country.

Argentina ahead of the 2017 mid-term elections

10-10-2017

Since his election in 2015, Argentina's centre-right President, Mauricio Macri, has pursued sweeping domestic and foreign policy reforms, although his 'Let's Change' (Cambiemos) coalition of centre-right and centre-left parties holds only a minority of seats in the bicameral Congress. His presidency has marked a major shift from left-wing populism under his predecessors, Néstor Kirchner (2003-2007) and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (2007-2015), to economic neoliberalism. The mid-term vote on 22 ...

Since his election in 2015, Argentina's centre-right President, Mauricio Macri, has pursued sweeping domestic and foreign policy reforms, although his 'Let's Change' (Cambiemos) coalition of centre-right and centre-left parties holds only a minority of seats in the bicameral Congress. His presidency has marked a major shift from left-wing populism under his predecessors, Néstor Kirchner (2003-2007) and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (2007-2015), to economic neoliberalism. The mid-term vote on 22 October 2017, to renew one third of the Senate and half of the Chamber of Deputies, will reveal whether President Macri has a strong mandate to press ahead with his pro-business policies.

Review of European and National Election Results. 2014-2019 Mid-term - January 2017

27-02-2017

The current edition of 20 January 2017 is the fourth update of the Review of European and National Elections; first published in November 2014. The first focused on the results of the European elections of May 2014, featured a historical report on the 35 years of direct elections to the European Parliament since 1979, and presented various national election results. This mid-term edition includes the three previous updates (as of 24 July 2015, 4 February 2016, and 15 July 2016) on both the composition ...

The current edition of 20 January 2017 is the fourth update of the Review of European and National Elections; first published in November 2014. The first focused on the results of the European elections of May 2014, featured a historical report on the 35 years of direct elections to the European Parliament since 1979, and presented various national election results. This mid-term edition includes the three previous updates (as of 24 July 2015, 4 February 2016, and 15 July 2016) on both the composition of the EP and national elections.

Review of European and National Election Results. Third update

22-08-2016

This document provides a third update of the Review of European and National Elections, published in November 2014 by the Public Opinion Monitoring Unit of DG Communication. The Review was dedicated to the results of the European elections of May 2014 and to the history of 35 years of direct elections to the European Parliament since 1979, as well as to the different national elections. This latest edition addresses the changes in the European Parliament since the second update, published in February ...

This document provides a third update of the Review of European and National Elections, published in November 2014 by the Public Opinion Monitoring Unit of DG Communication. The Review was dedicated to the results of the European elections of May 2014 and to the history of 35 years of direct elections to the European Parliament since 1979, as well as to the different national elections. This latest edition addresses the changes in the European Parliament since the second update, published in February 2016. The reader will also find the results of the elections held in Member States until July 2016: four legislative elections (ES, IE, CY, and SK) and one direct presidential election (AT).

Review of European and National Election Results. Second update

26-02-2016

This document provides a second update of the Review of European and National Elections, published in November 2014 by the Public Opinion Monitoring Unit of DG Communication.  The Review was dedicated to the results of the European elections of May 2014 and to the history of 35 years of direct elections to the European Parliament since 1979, as well as to the different national elections. This latest edition addresses the changes in the European Parliament since the first update, published in July ...

This document provides a second update of the Review of European and National Elections, published in November 2014 by the Public Opinion Monitoring Unit of DG Communication.  The Review was dedicated to the results of the European elections of May 2014 and to the history of 35 years of direct elections to the European Parliament since 1979, as well as to the different national elections. This latest edition addresses the changes in the European Parliament since the first update, published in July 2015. The reader will also find the results of the elections held in Member States since July 2015: five legislative elections (EL, ES, HR, PL, and PT) and one direct presidential election (PT).

Argentina: A Change of Course

25-11-2015

On 22 November 2015, Mauricio Macri, candidate of a coalition named 'Let's change' (Cambiemos), was elected president of Argentina. He will assume office on 10 December. Macri received 51.4 % of the vote in the second round of the presidential elections. His election ends 12 years of Peronist governments. Macri's victory owes much to the high number of votes he received in urban centres, particularly in the capital Buenos Aires and the second largest city, Córdoba. Despite Macri's final victory in ...

On 22 November 2015, Mauricio Macri, candidate of a coalition named 'Let's change' (Cambiemos), was elected president of Argentina. He will assume office on 10 December. Macri received 51.4 % of the vote in the second round of the presidential elections. His election ends 12 years of Peronist governments. Macri's victory owes much to the high number of votes he received in urban centres, particularly in the capital Buenos Aires and the second largest city, Córdoba. Despite Macri's final victory in the presidential elections, the 25 October parliamentary and provincial polls showed that the Peronist movement remains the principal political force. After the 25 October Congress elections, the Front for Victory (Frente para la Victoria, FpV), currently in government, remains the largest bloc in the new Congress, although it lost its absolute majority in the Chamber of Deputies. Macri faces the challenge of mobilising support in Congress for the new government's legislative proposals. The most likely scenario is that he will try to establish a coalition with the Peronist factions opposed to President Cristina Fernández and the FpV. The new government is likely to take measures to liberalise and open up the economy. The new government will seek strengthened links with the USA and the EU, and may well push for trade liberalisation in Mercosur. Macri has announced that he will ask for Mercosur's 'democratic clause' to be invoked against Venezuela. Macri has stressed the need to advance towards a Mercosur-EU free trade agreement. Overall, the change of government appears an opportunity for renewed relations between the EU and Argentina.

Ad-hoc exchange of views with the President of the Eurogroup and the Managing Director of the ESM on Greece

06-11-2015

Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem and Managing Director of the ESM Klaus Regling have been invited for an ad hoc Exchange of views relating to the macro-economic adjustment programme for Greece. Jeroen Dijsselbloem has been Eurogroup President since 21 January 2013. He was re-appointed for a second term on 13 July 2015. As the President of the Eurogroup, he is also chairing the Board of Governors of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). Klaus Regling has been Managing Director of the ESM ...

Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem and Managing Director of the ESM Klaus Regling have been invited for an ad hoc Exchange of views relating to the macro-economic adjustment programme for Greece. Jeroen Dijsselbloem has been Eurogroup President since 21 January 2013. He was re-appointed for a second term on 13 July 2015. As the President of the Eurogroup, he is also chairing the Board of Governors of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). Klaus Regling has been Managing Director of the ESM since its inauguration on 8 October 2012. His term of office lasts for 5 years and may be renewed only once. Note that the Eurogroup is to discuss the state of play regarding the implementation of Greece's economic adjustment programme at its meeting of 9 November 2015.

Myanmar/Burma's 2015 elections: Democracy at last?

28-10-2015

Twenty-five years ago, Aung San Suu Kyi's NLD party won an overwhelming electoral victory, only to be denied power by the SLORC junta. The 2015 elections give the party and its leader a second chance to end decades of direct and indirect military rule. In the absence of opinion polls it is impossible to reliably predict the results. While the NLD is widely seen as the likely winner, the incumbent USDP party, closely linked to the former junta, and ethnic parties will probably win substantial minorities ...

Twenty-five years ago, Aung San Suu Kyi's NLD party won an overwhelming electoral victory, only to be denied power by the SLORC junta. The 2015 elections give the party and its leader a second chance to end decades of direct and indirect military rule. In the absence of opinion polls it is impossible to reliably predict the results. While the NLD is widely seen as the likely winner, the incumbent USDP party, closely linked to the former junta, and ethnic parties will probably win substantial minorities. The 2012 by-elections are an encouraging precedent, raising hope that elections in 2015 will be considerably fairer than in 2010. It is however unlikely that they will be completely transparent and credible, among other things due to the large share of the population excluded from voting. With one quarter of parliamentary seats filled by military appointees, the NLD needs to win two thirds of elected seats in order to command an overall majority. Failing this, it will have to form a coalition, possibly with the ethnic parties. On the other hand, with military support, the USDP only needs to win one third of elected seats to stay in power. The newly constituted parliament will then elect a president, who in turn appoints the new government. With Nobel and Sakharov prize-winner Aung San Suu Kyi constitutionally excluded from the presidency, no obvious alternative has emerged. A victory for the opposition would be a major step forward for democracy. However, difficult reforms will still be needed, and a military backlash cannot be completely excluded either, potentially repeating the tragic events of 1990.

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