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Africa Politics Under The Radar

Uganda Seeking Inroads to Compete for Regional Influence

The continued closure of key border crossings between Rwanda and Uganda has prompted both nations to seek alternative trade prospects and influence amongst their neighbours. For Uganda, recent efforts have centred on Burundi and the DRC, with infrastructure agreements and plans for military cooperation directed at offsetting Rwanda’s recent diplomatic gains with their eastern neighbour. 

Eurasia Politics

Russia and its ‘diversionary space race’?

The International Space Station (ISS), that hub of extra-terrestrial cooperation, recently announced that Russia will be withdrawing from its team from 2025. Russia plans to set up a separate orbital space station by 2030. As a result, there has been much debate about what this means in terms of Russia-US  and Sino-Russian relations. However, little attention has been paid to the domestic implications of Russia’s decision: is it an attempt to divert attention from the ongoing saga with Alexei Navalny and muster patriotic fervor?

Latin America Politics

Honduras and Vaccine Diplomacy: Are Increased Relations with China Likely?

Honduras, one of the few countries that recognize Taiwan as a sovereign state, is making attempts to build diplomatic bridges with China in order to acquire the much needed Covid-19 vaccines. So far, only 1% of the Honduran population has been vaccinated. This situation constitutes another chapter in the so-called ‘vaccine diplomacy’, where geopolitics comes into play in vaccine acquisition.

Insights Latin America Politics

Ecuador’s constitutional court decriminalizes abortion in cases of rape

On April 28th 2021 Ecuador’s Constitutional Court voted to decriminalize abortion in cases of rape, marking a milestone for women’s reproductive rights in Latin America. However, the deeply divisive nature of the debate means that the complete decriminalization of abortion in the near future remains unlikely. 

Africa Politics

Chad – Death of Chad’s President Leaves Vacuum in the Heart of the Sahel

On 20th April Chad’s President, Idriss Déby Itno, was killed inspecting troops fighting a rebel insurgency in the North of the country. A close ally of Western powers, his death has left a vacuum at the center of power in Chad, potentially threatening security in the wider Sahel region. In the wake of a swift military transition, Chad now stands at a crossroads as protesters call for democratic elections and international allies appear to flounder in their policy towards the country.

Latin America Politics

Peru: Voters take to the polls amid a political and public-health crisis

On April 11th, Peru held the first round of its presidential elections, after which candidates Keiko Fujimori and Pedro Castillo emerged in the lead. The second and final round of Peru’s presidential election will take place this Sunday. Whoever is ultimately successful at becoming Peru’s new President will face institutional challenges exacerbated by a public-health crisis.

Africa Politics

Kenya: Camp Closures Weaponised as Relations with Somalia Sour

The maritime dispute between Kenya and Somalia has dragged diplomatic relations between the two neighbours to a new low, with the most likely outcome favouring Somalia. In threatening to close Dadaab and Kakuma, Kenya may be seeking a new source of pressure to apply to Mogadishu through deploying the prospect of thousands of returnees as leverage. 

Africa Politics

New Cabinet Signals Tshisekedi’s Tightening Grip on Power

On Monday 12th April Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde, Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), announced a new cabinet representative of President Felix Tshisekedi’s ruling coalition. Tshisekedi’s “Sacred Union” coalition has had figures appointed to key posts including finance minister, mining minister and interior minister. The previous government had a majority of ministers loyal to former president Joseph Kabila and was headed by a pro-Kabila Prime Minister. The replacement of all but ten of those figures represents the changing balance of power in Congolese politics.

Europe Politics

The Domino Effect of Normalizing Violence Against Women: Why Turkey’s Withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention Has Become the Norm Rather Than the Exception

Turkey’s decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention has been highly criticized by the European Union and human rights advocates. However, Turkey is not the first and most likely not the last country to opt out of the Convention on preventing and combating gender-based violence. Whereas much of the focus has been on Erdogan’s political motivations behind the decision, the issue of violence against women in Central and Eastern Europe in relation to the Istanbul Convention remains in the shadows and requires further attention.

Middle East/North Africa Politics

Hezbollah’s Economic Initiatives in Collapsing Lebanon

With the Lebanese Lira hitting a new low at the beginning of March, Lebanon is at the brink of collapse, undergoing fuel shortages and driving its population into poverty. The economic crisis has worsened in the last year due to the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, the explosion of the port of Beirut in August, and, above all, to the Lebanese political class that has repeatedly failed to form a government. The political vacuum has given room to Hezbollah, which is likely one of the actors responsible for stalling the government’s formation, to demonstrate its abilities in managing the country through its apparently well-developed social welfare.