The Finnish version of populism is known in the vernacular as “Vennamoism,” after the colorful founder and long-time leader of the Finnish Rural Party, Veikko Vennamo. Although Finnish populism has been pronounced dead over and over again, it has always managed to rise again and reinvent itself. The high polling numbers of the True Finns in the lead-up to the forthcoming Finnish general election in April indicate that populism in Finland is once again making a comeback as a political force to reckon with.
2011 elections in Estonia is a distinct indication of a political development in very much the right direction. The government coalition did ´deliver´ to the voters, and in a relation of reciprocity, the voters delivered back.
Ukraine clearly became a democratic country after the Orange Revolution because all subsequent elections, the parliamentary elections in 2007 and even the presidential elections of 2010, raised no doubts or concerns from the international community, representing a new reality for Ukraine. However, in a mere matter of months, the perception of Ukraine by the international democratic took a turn for the worse after the last presidential election.
In a joint proclamation, signed by ten organizations, the democratic opposition in Belarus now urges the EU not to negotiate on anything with the regime in Minsk other than the immediate release of all political prisoners, including the four presidential candidates who are still imprisoned and threatened with long-term prison sentences.
The 19 December presidential elections in Belarus did not meet the high expectations that the partial but encouraging regime liberalization of the past two years had raised in Western democracies and among the Belarusian opposition. Incumbent president Alexander Lukashenka was once again re-elected with supposedly 79,65 % of the votes in an election OSCE observers did not recognize as free and fair.
On Monday the 20th and on Tuesday the 21st Minsk was back to its normal life. The life of fear. The doors that had been opened during the month before had once more, at least for a period, been closed. In an interview the 21th, the independent professor of Political Science, Mr Valery Karbalevich comment the situation.
Elections in Azerbaijan have regularly been criticized by international observers and mainly seem to be a formalization of political balance agreed by different economical interest groups in the country. Being split, the opposition parties now once again admit that, in addition to election fraud, they suffer from low support from an electorate that sees them as a weak force in society. In the foreseeable future political changes in Azerbaijan will rather be a result of shifting powers within the elite than of electoral processes.
Andrey Sannikov is a wellknown Belarusian diplomat. In the 1980s, he served as representative of the Belarusian Soviet Republic at the United Nations. In the beginning of the 1990s, when Belarus declared its independence, he was an active member of the the newly formed independent adminstration and held the post of deputy foreign minister. Here in an interview about dicatorship, the importance of voting and the role of international observers.
Visiting Warsaw in November 2010, during a tour to the neighboring countries, Uladzimir Nyaklyaeu, gave the following interview for Baltic Worlds’ correspondent Peter Johnsson. November 2011 the poet and former opposition candidate to Lukasjenka is not allowed to leave his house and to be in Stockholm to receive the Tucholsky Award. The Tucholsky Award is presented each year by Swedish PEN to a persecuted, exiled, threatened author or journalist. The Award is named after the author Kurt Tucholsky, who in the early 1930s fled to Sweden from the Nazis in Hitler’s Germany.
The highly preliminary electoral results of the regional elections in Ukraine indicate that the rapidly changing framework has had a highly diverse effect on the political arena, emboldening some, and discouraging others.