Azerbaijan, politically, culturally and sportively, argues it wants to be considered a “European”, modern and admirable country. This becomes problematic, as nation branding can never replace state building. On September 26 the population of Azerbaijan went to the polls to give their opinion on no less than 29 proposed amendments to different chapters of the 1995 Constitution. It is no overstatement that the Referendum went by largely disregarded by the international community – and on average the Azerbaijani population did not care much.
The low turnout is one of the most worrying signals in these elections. Only 51.6 percent of the electorate went out to vote. The incumbent party the Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia (GD) did win a striking mandate with 115 of the total 150 seats in the Georgian Parliament. The party will now be able to govern without support from other parties, and it also passed the 113 seats required to make constitutional changes.
Kersti Kaljulaid is the youngest (aged 46) and the first female president of the Estonian republic. According to an opinion poll that the Baltic News Service (BNS) agency conducted throughout the first half of October, the new President enjoyed an approval rate of 73% among the respondents. However, there were also these voices which hinted at the new president’s alleged lack of experience.
The European willingness to interact with Belarus at any cost and Lukashenko’s interest in maintaining such interaction can be, and has become already to some extent, some kind of window of opportunity. Even though it does not change the fact that political decision making is only conducted top-down, as such completely inaccessible not only for the general public but for the house of representatives as well this new ‘thaw’ is seemingly bringing with it some more room for maneuvering.
The outcome of the 2016 Duma elections further consolidates the Russian authoritarian system. The changes in the electoral legislation resulting in the reintroduction of the mixed voting system could, in theory, have helped open up the system to other parties. This did not prove to be the case, however, as it instead favoured Putin’s current constellation of power.
On October 2 at the upcoming Hungarian referendum voters are expected to give a “yes” or “no” answer to the following question: “Do you want to allow the European Union to mandate the obligatory resettlement of non-Hungarian citizens in Hungary without the approval of [the Hungarian] Parliament?”
With the democratic opposition from the early 1990’s decimated, the return of right wing nationalism as a political force, and a third pro-reform party entering Parliament, it is obvious that the opposition is divided.
When the media informed about an unexpectedly high electoral turnout shortly after the election, no one still had any idea just how surprising the results of the Slovak general election would be.
While the ongoing ideological struggle between the right-wing parties in government and the center-left opposition is in full swing, Croatia continues to face an adverse economic climate and an unresolved problem with its neighbors regarding the issue of migrant and refugee movements on the way to northern Europe. It is far from certain that MOST will be able to act as the bridge over troubled waters that it framed itself as during the election campaign.
At the moment, there are virtually no signs or signals from the Government of Azerbaijan pointing toward democratic reforms. All international criticism is brushed away as propaganda and the government actively promotes ideas to undermine an international political order where it is regarded as a deviant country lacking respect for the rights of its own citizens.