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Stories related to the internal politics of states and various domestic issues. 

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Emir of Kuwait dissolves parliament amid continuing political crisis between government and parliament

Emir of Kuwait dissolves parliament amid continuing political crisis between government and parliament

The Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, on Thursday issued a decree dissolving the National Assembly following "disrespectful remarks by lawmakers regarding the ruler".  An official statement cited by the state news agency, KUNA,  said the parliament has been dissolved “due to the National Assembly breaching constitutional principles as it failed to show due respect to the political leadership and for deliberately using uncontrolled and offensive language”. The remarks were made by lawmaker Abdulkarim Al-Kandari last week. It is the third time the National Assembly has been dissolved during the past 18 months and the ninth time since 2006 amid non-stop political crises between the elected parliament and the government. The decree said the dissolution was based on article 107 of the constitution, which gives the Emir the authority to dissolve the National Assembly but by stating the reasons. The article also states that fresh elections must be held within two months of the date of the dissolution. The dissolved Assembly was elected barely nine months ago in early June last year after the dissolution of the previous Assembly over disputes with the government. The parliament of Kuwait (National Assembly) has more power than similar institutions in the other Gulf monarchies. This came about after the liberation of Kuwait following the Iraqi invasion and the first Gulf War. Whilst there are no political parties, parliamentarians are usually elected to represent interest groups, including religious groups. In recent years Parliament has been involved in a constant struggle with the government, which is usually led by a member of the ruling al Sabah family. This is the first political crisis under the new Emir, Sheikh Mishal al-Ahmad al-Jaber Al-Sabah, who took over as ruler in December, following the death of his predecessor. The new Emir has as yet also not named a Crown Prince, which leaves the issue of succession open. The Crown Prince usually comes from a different branch of the Al Sabah family, further complicating matters
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Opinion
Opinion: Pashinyan's Constitutional Gambit

Opinion: Pashinyan's Constitutional Gambit

Reforming the constitution of any nation is inherently challenging, but in Armenia it has always proven particularly controversial, writes Onnik James Krekorian in this op-ed for commonspace.eu "Speaking at the Ministry of Justice in January, Pashinyan not only emphasised the necessity of constitutional reform but even argued for a comprehensive overhaul rather than piecemeal amendments. The purpose, he said, in addition to possibly switching from majority to minority governmental system, was to make Armenia “more competitive and viable” in a new “geopolitical and regional situation.” The opposition instinctively interpreted those words as referring to his administration’s attempts to normalise relations with Azerbaijan. At the heart of these claims is a belief that the preamble in the current constitution referring to the 1990 Declaration of Independence, itself based on the 1989 decision on the “Reunification of the Armenian SSR and the Mountainous Region of Karabakh,” could be removed. The opposition claims that doing so would only be at the behest of Baku. Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan has not categorically denied the claim but does confirm that Azerbaijan continues to raise this issue in negotiations, interpreting the preamble as indisputable claims on its territory."

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Editor's choice
News
Erdogan wins another five years as Turkish president after hotly-contested campaign

Erdogan wins another five years as Turkish president after hotly-contested campaign

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has won another five years as the President of Turkey in a run-off against his main challenger, Kemal Kilicdaroglu. The first round which took place on 14 May saw Erdogan winning just shy of an outright majority, forcing a second round vote yesterday (28 May). According to the state-run Anadolu Agency, incumbent Erdogan won 52% of the vote while Kilicdaroglu won 48% of the vote. Erdogan's victory means that, assuming he sees out his coming five-year term as the Turkish President, he will have been either Prime Minister or President of Turkey for 25 years. Speaking to a victory rally in the Turkish capital, Ankara, President Erdogan said "today nobody has lost. 85 million have won as a whole. As required by the responsibility that our nation gave us, we are not upset, sad, resented or raged against anybody." "Now it is time to leave all the discussions and debates from the election campaigning process. And to unite and get together around our national goals and dreams," he said. Meanwhile, responding to Erdogan's victory, defeated challenger Kilicdaroglu complained about what he called the "most unfair election in recent years".
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News
Azimuth Airlines to operate Russia-Georgia flights from 17 May

Azimuth Airlines to operate Russia-Georgia flights from 17 May

The Georgian Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) announced yesterday (15 May) that Azimuth Airlines will start operating flights between Moscow and Tbilisi from 17 May. On Wednesday (10 May), Russian President Vladimir Putin reversed a 2019 ban on Russian airlines flying to Georgia, prompting many Georgian politicians to insist that no Russian airlines under international sanctions would be permitted to operate flights to Georgia. Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said that his government's "unequivocal" position was that "flights with sanctioned aircraft will not be carried out. This will happen only with planes and companies not under sanctions", he said. The GCAA statement from yesterday reads: "The Civil Aviation Agency of Georgia issued the necessary permission to the airline today, on May 15. As of today, Azimuth Airlines is not on the European Union blacklist. In accordance with the flight application submitted by the airline to the Civil Aviation Agency, flights on the Moscow-Tbilisi-Moscow airline will be performed from May 17 of this year, seven times a week."
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Erdogan falls short of outright majority in first round of Turkey presidential election

Erdogan falls short of outright majority in first round of Turkey presidential election

Turkey's highly anticipated presidential election held yesterday (14 May) has left incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan falling short of securing the necessary votes for a first-round victory.  Despite polls having predicted an initial first round victory for Erdogan’s challenger Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the outcome sets the stage for a runoff between the two, the outcome of which may have huge implications for Turkey's political landscape and its role on the international stage. The second round will take place on 28 May.  Erdogan, who has been either Prime Minister or President for 20 years, failed to reach the required 50% of votes in the first round to declare outright victory. With 97.95% of votes counted, Erdogan secured 49.34%, while Kilicdaroglu garnered 44.99%, according to state-run Anadolu news agency. The third candidate, Sinan Ogan, received 5.28% of votes This election marks a significant test for Erdogan, who has faced economic challenges and criticism regarding the government's handling of the earthquake on 6 February. Kilicdaroglu on the other hand fronts a coalition of six parties who are seeking to oust Erdogan with promises to address economic issues and restore democratic institutions.
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News
Biden calls Sudan violence a "betrayal", 17,000 tonnes of food aid looted

Biden calls Sudan violence a "betrayal", 17,000 tonnes of food aid looted

U.S. President Joe Biden has called the ongoing violence in Sudan an "unconscionable betrayal" in a statement made at the White House on Thursday (4 May).  The fighting, which will enter its fourth week this weekend, broke out on Saturday 15 April after the Sudanese army and a rival paramilitary group, the Rapid Support Forces, failed to reach an agreement over a transition to a civilian government. “The violence taking place in Sudan is a tragedy — and it is a betrayal of the Sudanese people’s clear demand for civilian government and a transition to democracy,” President Biden said. “I join the peace-loving people of Sudan and leaders around the world in calling for a durable ceasefire between the belligerent parties.” Meanwhile, also on Thursday, the U.S. state department announced that it had completed its evacuation of at least 1,300 U.S. citizens in Sudan, as well as evacuating at least 700 more from other countries. Air strikes and heavy shelling returned to the Sudanese capital city of Khartoum on Thursday as a fragile and frequently violated ceasefire lapsed.
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News
Ten days to go until Turkish presidential election with opposition leader ahead in polls

Ten days to go until Turkish presidential election with opposition leader ahead in polls

There are now ten days to go until Turkey heads to the polls for the first round of the Turkish presidential election on 14 May. The main race is being fought between incumbent president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has served as either Prime Minister or President since 2003, and Kemal Kilicdaroglu, a former bureaucrat from the country's social security authority who is leading a coalition of six parties from across the political spectrum. The election is expected to be tight. Over the weekend, Istanbul-based opinion pollster TEAM released its April report, according to Al-Monitor, which put challenger Kilicdaroglu at 47.4% and Erdogan at 44.4%. If no candidate reaches a majority in the first round of voting, the election will head to a second round. If it were to reach this stage, Kilicdaroglu is predicted to beat Erdogan by a 5% margin, according to TEAM. Turkey is currently experiencing major challenges that have dented Erdogan's hopes of winning May's election.
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News
At least 85 killed in Ramadan crush in Sanaa, Yemen

At least 85 killed in Ramadan crush in Sanaa, Yemen

At least 85 people have been killed in a crush at a school in the rebel-held Yemeni capital of Sanaa on Wednesday night (19 April). This figure is reported by The Guardian as of Thursday afternoon, although some sources give a higher death toll. The crush took place at the Maeen school in central Sanaa as hundreds of people gathered in a narrow street to get charity handouts worth $9 from a merchant to celebrate the end of the holy month of Ramadan, known as Eid al-Fitr. On top of the at least 85 confirmed dead, The Guardian reports that some 322 were injured, 50 of whom critically so.  The rebel Houthi movement has controlled Sanaa since the start of the war in Yemen in 2014. The head of their Supreme Revolutionary Council, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, said the merchant received people via a back gate that was reached by a narrow street and steps, resulting in overcrowding and a crush when the gate was opened. The Associated Press meanwhile have quoted two witnesses who said that the crush began after Houthi forces fired into the air at an attempt at crowd control, allegedly hitting an electrical wire, causing an explosion and leading to panic.
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Editorial
Editorial: Missed opportunities in the South Caucasus

Editorial: Missed opportunities in the South Caucasus

The last two weeks have seen missed opportunities for the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process, and for the Georgian government to establish facts and proving the truth over the US sanctioning of four Georgian judges, writes commonspace.eu in this editorial. Instead of building trust and confidence, the burning of the Azerbaijani flag at the European Weightlifting Championships in Yerevan "further entrenched the enemy imagery". Meanwhile in Georgia, "by obstructing the establishment of a parliamentary investigative commission to assess the US accusations against Georgian judges, the Georgian government missed an opportunity to deal openly and transparently with what is clearly a very sensitive and controversial issue."