On 12 February 2017, the president of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, won a predictably handsome presidential election victory with a margin of 97.7% and an impressive turnout of 97.28%. At first sight it might seem like just another Soviet-style election, with a solitary contender predestined to win a plebiscitary type contest. During this election, however, the Turkmen political elite constructed a facade of pluralism by running an unprecedented nine candidates representing three political parties.
Although the elections were on the large respecting international standards and fundamental freedoms, the process has showed that Montenegro’s democracy is fragile and deeply divided along two lines, where NATO membership and ultimate geopolitical allegiance is strongly contested. The Montenegrin democracy may face important challenges from within, and is seemingly standing with few defenders among the established political actors.
2016 PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS IN ROMANIA BREAKING THE PATTERN OF RISING RADICAL RIGHT POPULISM IN CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE
The December 11th 2016 Romanian Parliamentary elections witnessed a dramatic redrawing of the Romanian political map, and confirmed the inability of the radical right populist parties to be serious contenders in parliamentary politics for the coming mandate. The elections also marked the return to a system of proportional electoral representation on party lists.
What could be expected from Mirziyoyev’s term in office? First of all, there is no reason to doubt about his promise to follow Karimov’s policies both in domestic and foreign policy domain. His backing comes from the clans and he must continue to balance between the state’s and regional power brokers’ interests, the first and foremost being stability at all costs.
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?”