18

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US recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel

11-12-2017

On 6 December 2017, US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, mirroring the official Israeli position on the status of the city. In doing so, the US has become the first country to officially endorse the Israeli position on a hotly disputed issue that lies at the very heart of the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP), potentially weakening the role of the US in that process as an impartial mediator and tilting the odds further in Israel’s favour. The move has been widely ...

On 6 December 2017, US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, mirroring the official Israeli position on the status of the city. In doing so, the US has become the first country to officially endorse the Israeli position on a hotly disputed issue that lies at the very heart of the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP), potentially weakening the role of the US in that process as an impartial mediator and tilting the odds further in Israel’s favour. The move has been widely condemned as a violation of international law and a political provocation. However, it leaves open the possibility to address the status of the city as part of a comprehensive peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians.

Kyrgyzstan's 2017 presidential election

09-10-2017

On 15 October 2017, Kyrgyz voters go to the polls. Despite worrying signs of backsliding into authoritarianism, the country is still the most democratic in Central Asia and the result is far from a foregone conclusion. The two main candidates are Sooronbai Jeenbekov, an ally of incumbent president Almazbek Atambayev, and his younger rival, Omurbek Babanov.

On 15 October 2017, Kyrgyz voters go to the polls. Despite worrying signs of backsliding into authoritarianism, the country is still the most democratic in Central Asia and the result is far from a foregone conclusion. The two main candidates are Sooronbai Jeenbekov, an ally of incumbent president Almazbek Atambayev, and his younger rival, Omurbek Babanov.

NATO and EU defence [What Think Tanks are thinking]

12-05-2017

The US President, Donald Trump, will meet with the other leaders of the NATO member states at a summit in Brussels on 25 May 2017. Among issues on the table are the new US Administration's commitment to Europe's security, and the levels of military spending in Europe, which Washington considers too low. President Trump’s early statements created doubts in Europe about the future of transatlantic relations, but he and his officials have since reassured both NATO and the European Union that such ties ...

The US President, Donald Trump, will meet with the other leaders of the NATO member states at a summit in Brussels on 25 May 2017. Among issues on the table are the new US Administration's commitment to Europe's security, and the levels of military spending in Europe, which Washington considers too low. President Trump’s early statements created doubts in Europe about the future of transatlantic relations, but he and his officials have since reassured both NATO and the European Union that such ties will remain very important. This note offers links to commentaries, studies and reports by major international think tanks, on NATO, its relations with the EU and the wider issue of European security. More papers on the topics can be found in a previous edition of 'What Think Tanks are thinking', published in December 2016, PE 589.766.

Mexico and the new US Administration

07-04-2017

Donald Trump's election as US President has brought about an important policy shift with regard to Mexico, all the more so because the new US Administration seems determined to complete the promised wall along the US-Mexico border and deport undocumented immigrants. It also intends to renegotiate NAFTA, stating that it does not adequately protect US interests.

Donald Trump's election as US President has brought about an important policy shift with regard to Mexico, all the more so because the new US Administration seems determined to complete the promised wall along the US-Mexico border and deport undocumented immigrants. It also intends to renegotiate NAFTA, stating that it does not adequately protect US interests.

Nicaragua's post-electoral situation

06-12-2016

The landslide victory of Daniel Ortega and his Sandinista National Liberation Front in Nicaragua's 6 November presidential and legislative elections came as no surprise, after the main opposition alliance – whose presidential team had been disqualified by the Supreme Court of Justice – withdrew from the contest. Both the opposition and the international community are worried that the country could drift towards an authoritarian regime.

The landslide victory of Daniel Ortega and his Sandinista National Liberation Front in Nicaragua's 6 November presidential and legislative elections came as no surprise, after the main opposition alliance – whose presidential team had been disqualified by the Supreme Court of Justice – withdrew from the contest. Both the opposition and the international community are worried that the country could drift towards an authoritarian regime.

United States humanitarian aid policy

17-05-2016

The USA is the biggest state provider of humanitarian assistance in the world. It has a complex governmental structure for the provision of this aid that delivers a vast array of measures, ranging from grants for international and non-governmental relief organisations, to direct food aid, healthcare, help for refugees, and assistance with building disaster resilience. At international level, the US supports reform of the humanitarian system in order to improve the response to crises.

The USA is the biggest state provider of humanitarian assistance in the world. It has a complex governmental structure for the provision of this aid that delivers a vast array of measures, ranging from grants for international and non-governmental relief organisations, to direct food aid, healthcare, help for refugees, and assistance with building disaster resilience. At international level, the US supports reform of the humanitarian system in order to improve the response to crises.

Philippine political landscape ahead of elections

02-05-2016

On 9 May 2016 Filipinos will elect executives and legislatures at local, provincial and national level. The spotlight is on the close-run presidential race between four main contenders. Overall the elections are expected to be reasonably free and fair, although some concerns remain.

On 9 May 2016 Filipinos will elect executives and legislatures at local, provincial and national level. The spotlight is on the close-run presidential race between four main contenders. Overall the elections are expected to be reasonably free and fair, although some concerns remain.

The election impasse in Haiti

27-04-2016

The run-off in the 2015 presidential elections in Haiti has been suspended repeatedly, after the opposition contested the first round in October 2015. Just before the end of President Martelly´s mandate on 7 February 2016, an agreement was reached to appoint an interim President and a new Provisional Electoral Council, fixing new elections for 24 April 2016. Although most of the agreement has been respected , the second round was in the end not held on the scheduled date.

The run-off in the 2015 presidential elections in Haiti has been suspended repeatedly, after the opposition contested the first round in October 2015. Just before the end of President Martelly´s mandate on 7 February 2016, an agreement was reached to appoint an interim President and a new Provisional Electoral Council, fixing new elections for 24 April 2016. Although most of the agreement has been respected , the second round was in the end not held on the scheduled date.

Democracy in Africa: Power alternation and presidential term limits

04-04-2016

The democratic landscape in Africa is complex, featuring a mixture of examples of progress, in some areas, and regression in others. While some countries have continuously come closer to high democratic standards, considerably strengthening their democratic systems, others have seen their democratic credentials worsen. A pervasive feature of political systems on the African continent has been the fact that the incumbent presidents and ruling parties tend to win elections, whether fair or not. Since ...

The democratic landscape in Africa is complex, featuring a mixture of examples of progress, in some areas, and regression in others. While some countries have continuously come closer to high democratic standards, considerably strengthening their democratic systems, others have seen their democratic credentials worsen. A pervasive feature of political systems on the African continent has been the fact that the incumbent presidents and ruling parties tend to win elections, whether fair or not. Since independence, few African states have experienced transfer of presidential and parliamentary power as a result of elections. At the beginning of the 1990s, during the democratisation wave that swept the continent, most African countries introduced constitutional term limits for their presidents. However, ultimately many of these limits were short-lived, as the leaders who initiated them were often themselves later responsible for spearheading constitutional amendments in order to extend their position in power. In several cases, strong opposition from civil society, but also from political actors, was successful in upholding constitutional rules. In others, however, popular opposition was repressed and the will of the heads of state concerned prevailed, sometimes at the cost of prolonged turmoil. In this context the question arises: how essential and useful to democracy are presidential term limits? While the US under the Obama administration has been vocal in defending term limits in Africa, the EU has not taken sides on the issue as such, focusing instead on the respect of constitutional processes when revisions occur.

Political parties in Turkmenistan

16-07-2015

Turkmenistan is a 'presidential republic' in which the president is vested with extensive authority. After independence in 1991, the country was ruled by Saparmurat Niyazov until his death in 2006. His successor, Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedov, took timid steps towards democratisation and liberalisation. Although there are some welcome developments, the regime is still considered authoritarian. In December 2013, the Turkmens held their first ever multi-party elections.

Turkmenistan is a 'presidential republic' in which the president is vested with extensive authority. After independence in 1991, the country was ruled by Saparmurat Niyazov until his death in 2006. His successor, Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedov, took timid steps towards democratisation and liberalisation. Although there are some welcome developments, the regime is still considered authoritarian. In December 2013, the Turkmens held their first ever multi-party elections.

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