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Domestic Politics

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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Commentary
A new sense of purpose in Central Asia as leaders seek better relations between their countries and with the rest of the world

A new sense of purpose in Central Asia as leaders seek better relations between their countries and with the rest of the world

For more than three decades after the collapse of the USSR the five Central Asia Republics continued to live largely in the shadow of Moscow.  Neighbouring China made headway, particularly in the economic sphere, largely with Moscow’s acquiescence, and there were a few moments when the west appeared to be making a mark on the region too, especially after the 9/11 attacks, when the US was allowed facilities to help with its invasion of Afghanistan. But this moment did not last long. On everything else that mattered, and for most of the time, Moscow continued to call the shots. The last five years have seen a seismic change in the region. A new generation of leaders are seeking better relations with the rest of the world: connectivity has become a buzzword, and there is a genuine effort to engage with the EU and the US, in most if not all the capitals. Ukraine, and the implications of the Russian invasion on future relations with all the post Soviet states, has focused minds, particularly in Tashkent and Astana.
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Opinion
Opinion: Sweden must re-evaluate its internal and external relations before NATO accession can become reality

Opinion: Sweden must re-evaluate its internal and external relations before NATO accession can become reality

Given the increasingly uncertain political climate in which Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson finds himself, Sweden requires an internal and external positional re-evaluation in order to finalise its accession to NATO, writes Alfred Stranne in this op-ed for commonspace.eu. Meanwhile, Sweden needs to understand the increasing anger coming from Ankara, which is severely hindering its progression towards becoming a member of the alliance. Meanwhile, Sweden must also look within NATO itself to seek support in reassuring Ankara that Sweden will be a significant security provider for the alliance, providing added benefits for Ankara as well. This would repair Sweden’s relations with Turkey and reassure Ankara that despite the ideological and religious differences between Kristersson and Erdogan, Sweden and Turkey have common interests in seeking regional peace and stability.
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News
Ukrainian authorities raid tycoon's home amid corruption crackdown

Ukrainian authorities raid tycoon's home amid corruption crackdown

Ukrainian authorities have raided the home of the prominent business tycoon Ihor Kolomoisky amid a nationwide anti-corruption crackdown. On Wednesday (1 February) the home of the former interior minister Arsen Avakov was also searched, and the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers fired the heads of the customs and tax agencies too. Kolomoisky is an erstwhile ally of President Volodymyr Zelensky, whose TV channel gave Zelensky his break with the comedy series Servant of the People, in which Zelensky played a history teacher who ends up becoming president after a student posts a video online of an expletive-laden rant by Zelensky's character about the state of politics in the country. Kolomoisky also backed the former actor's real-life bid for the presidency. He was also the governor of the wider Dnipropetrovsk region from 2014 to 2015, and played a key role in funding volunteer battalions in response to Russia's initial invasion of Ukraine in 2014.
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Georgian GDP booms by more than 10% in 2022

Georgian GDP booms by more than 10% in 2022

Georgia's GDP boomed by 10.1% in 2022, according to figures released by the National Statistics Office of Georgia, Geostat, on Tuesday (31 January). The country's economic performance was particularly strong towards the end of the year, registering a year-on-year increase of 11% in December 2022. According to the report published by Geostat, growth was registered in construction, manufacturing, transportation and storage, financial and insurance activities, trade, hotels and restaurants. Meanwhile a decline was registered in real estate activities, professional, scientific and technical activities, electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply. Georgia imported US$134.5bn of goods in 2022, 33.2% more than last year. Meanwhile exports also rose by 31.8%, totalling almost US$56bn. Another notable statistic from the report concerns the number of newly registered enterprises, at 6,436 in December alone. This marks a year-on-year increase of 41.4%.
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Five people killed in mass shooting in Sagarejo, Georgia

Five people killed in mass shooting in Sagarejo, Georgia

A retired military veteran has killed five people in the eastern Georgian town of Sagarejo before committing suicide, the country's interior ministry announced on Friday morning (20 January). The offender, according to the Georgian interior ministry, had served in the Georgian Defence Forces between 2006 and 2021, including in the NATO-led peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan. Among the dead is 38-year-old Otar Gvinashvili, a police officer who sustained fatal injuries while trying to protect another person during the shooting. Five other people were wounded. Vakhtang Gomelauri, the Georgian Interior Minister who arrived at the scene early on Friday, said the offender had been with his adult child who escaped the flat following the incident. The 49-year-old offender is believed to have killed himself as security forces entered his flat. Neighbours told local media the shooter had rented his flat and was reportedly undergoing treatment for psychological problems. There is currently no known motive for the mass shooting.
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Repression and executions continue in Iran as regime struggles to contain protests

Repression and executions continue in Iran as regime struggles to contain protests

Iran's clerical dictatorship has unleashed another wave of repression and executions in an effort to contain protests that continue unabbetted across the country. Four men, including two on Saturday, have been executed for killing and wounding security force members in connection with the protests. Twenty-six further prisoners are currently awaiting execution. They were sentenced to death in show trials meant to intimidate the population and put an end to the protests. At least 11 people have been sentenced to death, and another 15 have been accused of crimes that are punishable by death in Iran — including waging "war against God". Writer and illustrator Mehdi Bahman is among them. He was sentenced to death by a court in Tehran after giving an interview with Israeli media. Iran’s judiciary announced on Sunday four people had been jailed for up to 10 years for calling for strikes in support of ongoing nationwide protests against the regime. It is the first time the judiciary has announced prison sentences for such an act during demonstrations triggered by the death of Mahsa Amini at the hands of the morality police in September. Activists used social media early last month to call for a three-day nationwide strike in support of the protesters.