Articles in Politics News
As GeoCurrents reported in the past, native peoples of the Russian Far North struggle to fit into the modern global village while retaining their ethnic identity and cultural distinctiveness. In recent days, the situation seems to have rapidly changed for the worse, with Moscow threatening to close an indigenous peoples’ NGO and with the director of the Pomor Institute in Archangelsk being accused of treason.
Unlike the hotly contested presidential elections in the U.S., the general elections held in the Netherlands in September 2012, attracted little media attention. The Dutch elections mostly strengthened the status quo, although some important changes in the balance of powers were effected as well. Like the U.S. and Georgian votes, the Dutch elections were in large measure an informal referendum on the economic situation and foreign policy, specifically on the country’s relations to the EU.
Recent elections in Ukraine largely revolve around relations with Russia. While the parliamentary elections were generally characterized by geopolitical stasis, two details are significant: a continuous growth of the ruling Party of the Regions and a troubling expansion of the vote for the ultra-nationalist Svoboda (“Freedom”) Party.
The parliamentary elections conducted in Georgia in October 2012 became “a referendum on the past eight years” (in the words of The Economist) of President Mikheil “Misha” Saakashvili’s rule. His economic and administrative reforms have turned the former Soviet republic into a showcase where petty corruption has all but vanished, the transport system has been transformed, and the economy is growing fast. Yet, a party led by an eccentric billionaire has won the legislative elections in October 2012.
Lost in the extensive coverage of the 2012 U.S. Election is the recurrent and important issue of Puerto Rico’s relationship to the U.S. On Tuesday, the Puerto Rican electorate appeared to endorse statehood in a two-part non-binding referendum.
While several posts in the main portion of GeoCurrents website deal with the results of the recent U.S. elections, a number of forthcoming news posts will cover recent elections elsewhere in the world. In mid-October, the citizens of Lithuania voted in the national legislative elections, as well as in a special advisory referendum on nuclear power. Energy independence—one of the key topics of the U.S. presidential race—is even more hotly debated in Lithuania.
The Indian state of Bihar has long been noted for its poverty, corruption, and lack of social progress, ranking last in most Indian developmental indicators. But Bihar now has one of India’s fastest growing economies, and its levels of corruption have recently plummeted. Less pronounced gains have also been made over much of northern India. As a result, the impoverished BIMARU region (BIhar, MAdhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh) is now considered to be defunct
As previously noted on GeoCurrents, the political entities that comprise the French Republic exhibit a multitude of different administrative designations with varying legal responsibilities. One such possession is French Polynesia, which was officially designated an “overseas country” in 2004, though legally its status is indistinguishable from that of France’s other overseas collectivities.
Preliminary results are in for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s October 7th local elections. The elections went smoothly and without irregularities, but many fear that the results may fan the flames of ethno-nationalism and separatism in the fragile country’s political discourse.
Bavarian separatism, a long-standing if still rather minor political movement, is finally getting some attention in the global media, thanks to the recent publication of Bayern kann es auch allein (or Bavaria Can Also Go It Alone), a book described by Canada’s Maclean’s as a “191-page polemic covering a range of standard Bavarian complaints about the present German (and European) political order and a paean to the benefits and glories that await an unfettered Free State of Bavaria.”
Fear are mounting that Spain will face a new secession crisis after the government of Catalonia called for a snap election on November 25, which is widely seen as a referendum on enhanced autonomy if not outright independence. The move came shortly after the Madrid government rejected Catalonia’s demand for greater autonomy on taxation issues. Desire for political separation is growing in the region, as evidenced by massive (600,000+) pro-independence demonstrations in Barcelona earlier this month.
In recent months, relations between the Ogoni people of Rivers State in southeastern Nigeria and the government have come under intense pressure. On August 2nd, a group of Ogoni led by Goodluck Diigbo of the pro-autonomy Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) declared their sovereignty in internal affairs while stopping short of secession.
Though South Sudan remains a predominantly rural country, its urban areas—particularly Juba—are growing rapidly. Juba, the country’s largest city and its current capital, is estimated to house nearly 400,000 people, twice as many as in 2005.
Although Germany is far more politically stable than it has been over much of the past century, it has recently experienced a rise in crimes linked to radical politics. According to a government investigation, the number of reported criminal extremist activities increased from last year by 3.8 percent to 21,610.
As traffic through the Panama Canal rises, Nicaragua and Costa Rica examine alternatives in a charged political atmosphere.