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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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Georgian government withdraws proposed foreign agent law after second night of violent protests

Georgian government withdraws proposed foreign agent law after second night of violent protests

The Georgian government has announced that they have withdrawn the controversial proposed law on "foreign agents" that sparked two nights of violent protests in the capital, Tbilisi. In an announcement released on Thursday morning (9 March), the ruling Georgian Dream party, the People's Power movement that introduced the law, and the parliamentary majority said: “We, as an authority responsible to every member of society, have decided to unconditionally withdraw the bill we supported without any reservations.” The announcement comes after a second night of violent protests on Tbilisi's central Rustaveli Avenue outside the parliament building, that saw riot police deploy huge quantities of tear gas, water cannon, protesters blocking access to parliament, building barricades, smashing windows, and destroying and burning cars. Dozens of protesters were also arrested. The proposed law was particularly controversial because of its similarity to a law passed in Russia in 2012 that has been used to clamp down on civil society and stifle opposition, and Tbilisi in particular is known for its vibrant civil society.
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Turmoil in Tbilisi as thousands protest against foreign agent law

Turmoil in Tbilisi as thousands protest against foreign agent law

Tbilisi's central Rustaveli Avenue was in turmoil last night (7-8 March) as thousands came out to protest against a proposed foreign agent law that had been backed in parliament earlier on 7 March. It was the second day of large protests in the Georgian capital over the proposed law, with a large group having gathered at the back of the parliament building on Monday (6 March) as the law was debated in parliamentary committee meetings, which themselves led to scuffles between parliamentarians. Yesterday's protests in Tbilisi grew in size as the sun set, and riot police were deployed to control the protesters whereupon scuffles between them began. Protesters waved EU and Georgian flags, the EU and Ukrainian national anthems were also heard, and protesters chanted anti-government slogans. Riot police employed increasing force to disperse the protesters, including using water cannon and large amounts of tear gas. Some protesters were seen falling on the ground and coughing, and journalists on the ground also reported choking and being unable to breathe because of the quantity of tear gas used against the protesters. The government says several policemen were hurt and police gear was damaged.
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Turkish opposition nominate Kemal Kilicdaroglu to challenge Erdogan

Turkish opposition nominate Kemal Kilicdaroglu to challenge Erdogan

After weeks of fierce negotiations between an alliance of six opposition parties from across the political spectrum, the so-called "Table of Six" officially nominated Kemal Kilicdaroglu on Monday (6 March) as their candidate to challenge incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May's presidential elections. Kilicdaroglu, who has led the center-left Republican People's Party for over a decade, is an understated 74-year-old former bureaucrat from the country's social security authority. There has been some criticism that he lacks the flair and charisma needed to topple Erdogan's populism after 20 years of rule. In speech in Ankara announcing his nomination, Kilicdaroglu said that the opposition coalition would "run the country in consultation and agreement with one another". The group has pledged to reverse many of the changes that Erdogan has brought about since becoming prime minister in 2003, including returning the country to a parliamentary system.
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Georgian MPs resume discussions on foreign agent law amid protests and scuffles

Georgian MPs resume discussions on foreign agent law amid protests and scuffles

Georgian MPs have resumed discussing a draft law on "foreign agents" amid large protests in Tbilisi and even scuffles between politicians inside the committee room. The draft law was introduced on 14 February by a group of pro-government MPs who formally left the ruling Georgian Dream party last year. During discussions on Monday (6 March), a large crowd gathered at the back of the Georgian parliament to protest against the proposed law. According to OC Media journalist Mariam Nikuradze who was at the protest, protesters chanted "Russians", waved EU and Georgian flags, some taped their mouths shut, and one threw eggs at the building. Inside parliament, some opposition MPs were removed from the sitting of the Parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs after physical confrontation between lawmakers. The chairman of the committee, Anri Okhanashvili, requested the removal of several deputies from the hall due to shouting from their seats. This then led to the chairman of the United National Movement Levan Khabeishvili physically confronting Orkhanashvili, leading to larger scuffles. Later, Salome Samadashvili, Khatuna Samnidze and Tamar Kordzaia were also removed from the sitting, having previously been warned about disruption by the chairman, according to reports.
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Kazakh parties outline priorities in TV debate ahead of 19 March election

Kazakh parties outline priorities in TV debate ahead of 19 March election

Representatives of seven political parties in Kazakhstan debated live on TV on Wednesday (1 March) ahead of the country's 19 March elections to the lower house of parliament, the Mazhilis. The debate lasted 70 minutes and consisted of four rounds. The first round focused on the main priorities of the parties’ election programmes. In the second round, participants asked and responded to each other’s questions. In the third round, debate moderator Armangul Toktamurat challenged the participants to identify three issues they would try to resolve first if elected to the Mazhilis. And finally, in the fourth round, each party leader made a personal address to the audience.