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Domestic Politics

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

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Russia declares The Moscow Times newspaper 'undesirable'

Russia declares The Moscow Times newspaper 'undesirable'

Russian prosecutors on Wednesday (10 July) declared The Moscow Times newspaper 'undesirable' for its coverage of Russian President Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine and deepening the Kremlin's crackdown on independent journalism. This was reported by The Moscow Times itself. This stamp ensures that anyone working with or connected to the organisation can be prosecuted for it.

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Sheikh Mishaal sworn in as new Emir of Kuwait

Sheikh Mishaal sworn in as new Emir of Kuwait

Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah took the constitutional oath as the new Emir of Kuwait at a special session of the country's parliament on Wednesday (20 December), becoming the 17th Amir of the State of Kuwait.   In a speech after the constitutional ceremony in the Assembly, Sheikh Mishal paid tribute to late Emir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah who died on Saturday, and strongly criticized the government and the Assembly for taking “unanimous decisions that harm national interests”. Kuwait has a complex constitutional arrangement that has developed over decades to balance the interests of different branches of the ruling al Sabah family, and the power of the royal family and people’s opinion reflected through the country’s elected parliament which has become increasingly adept at providing scrutiny of the ruling family. For this reason, Kuwait is considered the most democratic of the six GCC monarchies, but the system has also often ended in deadlock between the parliament and ruling family, sometimes triggering fresh elections and often bringing down Ministries headed by members of the Royal Family. Sheikh Mishal, who until Saturday was the country’s Crown Prince, was declared as Kuwait’s 17th ruler by the Cabinet of Ministers on Saturday, hours after announcing the death of Sheikh Nawaf.
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Commentary
The attempt to impeach the president of Georgia was politically unnecessary and diplomatically costly

The attempt to impeach the president of Georgia was politically unnecessary and diplomatically costly

Georgia is a parliamentary republic. The people vote for the members of parliament who then appoint a prime minister. He/She and his/her ministers are the executive authority. The president, with one or two small exceptions is a symbolic head of state, a totem pole for the nation to unite around, much as is a constitutional monarch in say Scandinavia or the Benelux. So when the Georgian government says that President Salome Zurabishvili had no authority to travel to Europe without its permission, and to speak to foreign governments on sensitive foreign policy issues without its permission, they were technically right. Yet, the Georgian government’s decision to push forward the impeachment of President Salome Zurabishvili was not only politically unnecessary, but also counterproductive and wrong. The government knew it was unlikely to succeed with the impeachment given it did not have the necessary numbers in the parliament, but proceeded just the same. It sought the advice of the Constitutional Court, which as predicted, on 16 October ruled that the Constitution had been breached. It then moved the impeachment resolution to the parliament, where it only secured 86, out of the 100 votes necessary. Salome Zurabishvili thus remains the president of Georgia. Yet this act of political folly comes with a diplomatic price. It puts question marks on the wisdom of the current government, and it makes Georgia appear increasingly like a banana republic, hardly fit to become an EU member anytime soon.
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Donald Tusk set to become Poland's next leader

Donald Tusk set to become Poland's next leader

After parliamentary elections held on Sunday (15 October) in Poland, Donald Tusk is set to become the country's next leader. Exit polls results after the close of voting showed that Poland’s opposition parties look like they’ve won convincingly opening the way for the leader of the Civic Coalition led by former president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, to become the country's next leader. Whilst the current governing party, the Law and Justice (PiS) party still emerged as the largest party, winning 36.8 percent of the vote, it will still not be enough to form a government and other opposition parties are likely to join the Civic Coalition, which won 31.6 percent, to form the new government. Two smaller opposition parties, the center-right Third Way which won 13 percent, and the Left which won 8.6 percent, are likely to join the new government. A far-right Confederation won 6.2 percent, but is unlikely to be included in the new coalition. In 2019, PiS won 43.6 percent of the vote. The poll was conducted by IPSOS and was shared with Poland’s three main television networks. The poll has a 2 percent margin of error. Turnout was was high at 73 percent. If the exit poll results are confirmed, the Law and Justice will win 200 seats, Civic Coalition 163, Third Way 55, the Left 30 and Confederation will take 12. Poland is one of the largest and most important members of the European Union but in recent years its government has clashed continuously with the European institutions, as the PiS tried to implement changes in the judicial system and other sectors of government that Brussels considered to be against accepted European norms and values.
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Pashinyan's party victorious but weakened after Sunday's elections in Yerevan

Pashinyan's party victorious but weakened after Sunday's elections in Yerevan

Voters in Armenia's capital Yerevan went to the polls on Sunday to elect a new city council and Mayor. The vote was seen as a test of the popularity of the current prime minister Nikol Pashinyan, and his Civic Contract party, particularly as they move towards signing a peace treaty with Azerbaijan. Pashinyan's party emerged victorious since it gained the most votes, but the vote has been less than decisive. In fact a coalition will be required for a majority to be established in the city council following elections that were also marked by a low turnout. The Armenian Central Electoral Commission (CEC) said that as of closing of polls at 8 p.m. on Sunday, turnout was 28.5 percent, representing 234,553 voters out of 824,250 eligible. Civil Contract's mayoral candidate in Yerevan elections is current Deputy Mayor Tigran Avinian, who served as Armenia’s deputy prime minister in 2018-2021. Hayk Marutian, a former Pashinian ally who served as Yerevan mayor from 2018 to 2021 when he was relieved of his duties by a vote of no confidence passed by the Civil Contract-dominated Council of Elders emerged in second place. The CEC on Monday completed the electronic counting of votes. The results of all 475 polling stations have been summarized, according to which, based on preliminary data, 5 political forces are entering the Yerevan Council of Elders: Pashinyan's Civic Contract, "National Progress" (Hayk Marutian), "Mother Armenia" an alliance  that has the support of former president Robert Kocharian, "Republic", a political force seen as sympathetic to Pashinyan, and "Public Voice".
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Opinion
Opinion: Forthcoming municipal elections in Armenia may pose a first test for a peace agreement with Azerbaijan

Opinion: Forthcoming municipal elections in Armenia may pose a first test for a peace agreement with Azerbaijan

Delays in signing an Armenia-Azerbaijan peace agreement open the prospects that the process may be derailed as a result of domestic politics. Next month, Yerevan will go to the polls to indirectly elect a new mayor. The parliamentary opposition is boycotting the vote, and a large number of voters remain apathetic or undecided, but the vote can still be seen as demonstrative enough ahead of the 2026 national parliamentary elections. In this op-ed for commonspace.eu, Onnik James Krikorian argues that Pashinyan foes are already attempting to turn the 17 September 2023 vote into a ‘referendum’ on Armenia-Azerbaijan talks and former de facto State Minister of Karabakh Ruben Vardanyan has called for the same. If Karabakh does dominate the campaign trail, and if Pashinyan’s Civil Contract can emerge victorious with no major abuse of administrative resources recorded, then there would hardly be any political reason not to sign a peace agreement in the nearest future. But if the government were to lose City Hall as 2025 and 2026 approaches, then that would look even less certain. For now, that does not appear likely, but what happens next month could greatly influence Pashinyan’s options in the weeks, months, and years ahead.
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News
At least 27 killed in petrol station explosion in Dagestan, Russia

At least 27 killed in petrol station explosion in Dagestan, Russia

At least 27 people are confirmed to have been killed in a huge explosion and fire at a petrol station in the Republic of Dagestan in southern Russia on Monday (14 August). The explosion happened in the regional capital Makhachkala at 21.40 local time. Over 100 people are understood to have been injured in the incident, which is believed to have occured after a fire started in a nearby car repair workshop and spread to the petrol station, causing the explosion. Three of those killed were children, Dagestan’s governor Sergei Melikov said.
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Shovi landslide death toll reaches 20, Blinken offers condolences on behalf of U.S.

Shovi landslide death toll reaches 20, Blinken offers condolences on behalf of U.S.

At least 20 people are confirmed to have been killed by a landslide in Shovi, northern Georgia, on Thursday last week (3 August). The Speaker of the Georgian Parliament, Shalva Papuashvili, gave the latest update on Wednesday morning (9 August). According to the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs, around a dozen people remain unaccounted for.