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Europe Politics

A Never-Ending Saga: Kosovo’s Elections

On February 14th, 2021 Kosovo held its sixth parliamentary election in fourteen years. The result was a resounding victory for Albin Kurti and his left-leaning Vetevendosje party, gaining just over 48% of votes. This will likely transform the tone of Kosovo’s domestic politics, but Kurti’s ability to deliver on his wide-ranging promises may be limited by the state’s difficult realities. More definitively, his pro-Albanian stance makes it highly unlikely that Kosova-Serb relations will see any meaningful improvement. 

Europe Politics

Irregular Migration to Europe: How a New Pact is Shifting Old Routes

The EU’s New Pact on Migration and Asylum aims to address irregular migration through better management of external borders and stronger international partnerships. While certain aspects of the proposal create opportunities for a better cooperation, the current approach to stricter return policies is pushing asylum seekers towards riskier and less controlled migration routes to Europe, putting lives at risk and increasing criminal activities.

Eurasia Politics

Turkish Democracy Again at a Crossroads

While Turkish citizens are trying to cope with Covid-19, the government took the opportunity to further its agenda. In an unprecedented move, the Turkish government replaced Boğaziçi University’s director with Melih Bulu, a non-faculty member at the university and a former politician under Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party.

Politics Sub-Saharan Africa

The Zondo Commission: Consequences for President Ramaphosa

The Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture or the Zondo Commission, headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, has been notified about the overwhelming scale of corruption and fraud involving public bodies under the presidency of Jacob Zuma (2009-2018) in South Africa. The Commission’s findings have badly damaged the reputation of the African National Congress (ANC) and South African institutions. The revelations of this ongoing inquiry highlight a pressing issue for Cyril Ramaphosa, Zuma’s successor as president: Ramaphosa must restore confidence in South African politics in order to restore the position of both his own party and South Africa’s international standing.

Middle East/North Africa Politics

Biden’s policy shift means Saudi Arabia will have to adapt to regain favour with Washington

On Thursday, February 4, Joe Biden announced the US State Department’s new foreign policy on Saudi Arabia. The announcement confirmed a long-awaited shift in US foreign policy which will see an end to US support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen and a new effort to find a peace agreement to end the conflict. Prioritising human rights for future relations with the Saudis, Biden’s policy likely provides significant leverage to draw the Saudis out of Yemen as they seek to ameliorate their relations with the new administration. 

Africa Politics

Are COVID-19 Measures Being Used to Stifle Democracy in Africa?

The global pandemic presents a unique challenge to democracy in sub-Saharan Africa. Aside from making it more difficult and more expensive to carry out elections, there is an emerging worry that democratic activity will be suppressed in the name of ‘stopping the spread’. 

Politics Southeast Asia

Japan and Myanmar’s Coup: The Likelihood of a Restrained Response

The news of the Myanmarese military’s coup against the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi at the start of February this year shocked the international community. Many countries have issued statements condemning the coup, with some moving forward in introducing measures such as sanctions. How is Japan likely to react to this crisis and what impact might Japan’s response have on its foreign relations?

Middle East/North Africa Politics

Public Sector Reform: A Way Forward for Iraq?

The public sector in Iraq accounts for the majority of employment in the oil-rich country. Plummeting oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in economic crisis and an ever increasing budget deficit. Where there is crisis however, there is opportunity: will 2021 bring a much needed reform of the public sector in Iraq? 

International Politics

The Capitol Riots: How Have America’s Two Biggest Rivals Reacted?

The January 6th storming of the US capitol caused outrage amongst a large number of world leaders. Some of these dissenting world leaders, however, are now using the event as a central tactical argument to shore up their authoritarian regimes. Whilst there was a consistent display of shock and outrage from many governments, two of America’s principal rivals took a particularly different approach to the event. Both Russia and China have used the event as an instrument of propaganda at a time when stirring xenophoic and nationalist sentiment are important tools in Xi and Putin’s tactical arsenal. 

Politics Technology and infrastructure

The United States, Section 230, and Big Tech

There has been increasing bipartisan scrutiny over how to regulate Big Tech, and one prominent issue is whether to repeal Section 230 which gives social media companies sweeping immunity over the content published on their sites. With growing pressure to mitigate the risks posed by social media, it is worth considering why Section 230 is important, the risks associated with the repeal, and the likelihood something will happen in the new administration.