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

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News
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
Mass protests in Israel after PM fires defence minister

Mass protests in Israel after PM fires defence minister

Last night (26-27 March) saw massive protests in Israel after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired his defence minister after he spoke out against controversial judicial reform plans that have led to weeks of protests. Gallant had voiced concerns that the divisions in society being caused by the proposed legislation were hurting morale in the military and emboldening Israel’s enemies across the region. "I see how the source of our strength is being eroded," Gallant said. This led to Netanyahu removing him from his position, saying that "he doesn’t have any faith in him anymore and therefore he is fired." Meanwhile Israel's President Isaac Herzog addressed Netanyahu, tweeting, "For the sake of the unity of the people of Israel, for the sake of the responsibility we are obliged to, I call on you to stop the legislative process immediately." The judicial reform plans announced on 4 January would give parliament the authority to override Supreme Court decisions with a basic majority. The plans would also make it very difficult for the courts to declare a prime minister unfit for office and remove them for the courts.
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Editorial
Editorial: the parallel struggles in Georgian politics

Editorial: the parallel struggles in Georgian politics

At the moment in Georgia, "on the one hand there is the struggle for power between elements of the government and elements of the opposition. There have been plenty of examples in the past of these elements being willing to sacrifice anything to hold on to this power," writes commonspace.eu in this editorial. "There is also however a parallel struggle, that is based on values and foreign policy orientation [...] The prospect is now emerging that the next political struggle will be about values. The quicker Georgian politicians understand this, the better. And for their own sake, as well as that of their country, they should make sure they position themselves on the right side of history."
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News
Ruling Amanat party wins Kazakh parliamentary vote after election reforms

Ruling Amanat party wins Kazakh parliamentary vote after election reforms

Six parties have been elected to the Mazhilis, Kazakhstan's national parliament after elections were held on Sunday (19 March). The six parties are the ruling Amanat party, who won 53.9% of the vote; the Auyl People's Democratic Patriotic Party (10.9%); Respublica Party (8.59%); Aq Jol Democratic Party of Kazakhstan (8.41%); People's Party of Kazakhstan (6.8%); National Social Democratic Party (5.2%). The Baytaq party won only 2.3% of the vote, and, with a 5% threshold necessary to win seats in parliament, will not be represented. 3.9% voted against all parties. The Astana Times reports that over 6.3 million people out of more than 12 million eligible voters cast their ballots in the elections to the parliament and local representative bodies on Sunday, representing a turnout of over 54%.
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News
Kazakh parliamentary election polls project victory for ruling party despite big losses

Kazakh parliamentary election polls project victory for ruling party despite big losses

A poll released by the Strategy Center for Social and Political Studies in Kazakhstan has projected victory for the ruling Amanat party despite heavy losses in the upcoming 19 March parliamentary election. In the poll that surveyed 1,600 people between 17 and 27 February, 43.6% said they would vote for the ruling Amanat party, the former party of the current president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. This is however considerably lower than what the party received in the 2021 elections, when it received 71.09% of the vote, according to the Central Electoral Commission. Madi Omarov, political scientist and project coordinator at the Strategy Center, said that the "significant decrease in the support for the party is most likely due to several factors, including President Tokayev’s resignation as party leader, rebranding, and the decline in popularity after the events of January 2022." Meanwhile, 11.3% said they would vote for the Aq Jol party, 9.9% said they would vote for the Auyl party, 6.3% said they would vote for the People's Party, and 6.2% would vote for the Respublika party.
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Commentary
Commentary: Georgia is in a hole, and its politicians must stop digging

Commentary: Georgia is in a hole, and its politicians must stop digging

"The Georgian people have over a long period of time expressed their desire to be part of the European family," writes the commonspace.eu editorial team. "Georgia is situated in a difficult neighbourhood, with predators, such as Vladimir Putin’s Russia, as neighbours. Europe and the broader west need to support Georgia in this difficult moment. But first, Georgian politicians need to step back and defuse the current crisis...in a move that surprised even its own supporters, Georgian Dream came up with the idea of a law on foreign funding for NGOs and media and others, popularly known as the “foreign agents” law. Regardless of the small print of the law, on which lawyers can happily argue for many years, politically this was a reckless act by the Georgian Dream government with two consequences that could have easily been predicted. First, it united a broad spectrum of political and civil society forces behind one objective – that of opposing the GD government and preventing the law from being enacted. Second, it galvanised international public opinion against the tactics of the Georgian Dream government."