Mart Helme, chairman of the Estonian Conservative People’s Party, or EKRE, after parliamentary elections in Tallinn, Estonia, March 4, 2019 (AP photo by Tanel Meos).

After doubling its support in parliamentary elections that were held in March, Estonia’s far-right, populist Conservative People’s Party, known as EKRE, is now part of a three-party coalition government. EKRE’s emergence reflects rising political discontent in Estonia, but its euroskeptic and anti-immigrant positions are likely to be tempered by its coalition partners, which include incumbent Prime Minister Juri Ratas’ Center Party and the conservative Fatherland party. In an email interview with WPR, Martin Mölder, a researcher at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies at the University of Tartu, in Estonia, discusses the recent election results and what to expect […]

Members of the Serbian gendarmerie stand guard in front of the Serbian presidency building in Belgrade, Serbia, March 17, 2019 (AP photo by Darko Vojinovic).

Anti-government protests have been taking place every week in Serbia since late last year, underscoring widespread frustrations with the government and concerns about President Aleksandar Vucic’s consolidated hold on power. Vucic and his political party, the Serbian Progressive Party, have been content to shrug off the protests and cite them as evidence that, contrary to what his critics may say, dissent is alive and well in the country. Yet as Aleks Eror points out in this week’s in-depth report, the president can respond dismissively to the protests precisely because of the strength of his political position and his ability to […]

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Council President Donald Tusk applaud after the signing of a new Germany-France friendship treaty, Aachen, Germany, Jan. 22, 2019 (AP photo by Martin Meissner).

European Parliament elections usually play two roles. The first is a practical one. The voting determines the makeup for the next five years not only of the European Union’s deliberative branch, but also indirectly its executive branch, the European Commission. The second is symbolic. Amid widespread apathy and abstention, European Parliament elections often amount to national referenda on the popularity of sitting governments across Europe. On both counts, French President Emmanuel Macron has reason to worry about this year’s elections, which take place next week. His Republic on the Move party, or LRM, has run a lackluster campaign and could […]

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, left, arrives for a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, April 25, 2019 (Photo by Kenzaburo Fukuhara for Kyodo via AP Images).

Although divisive internationally, President Rodrigo Duterte has remained popular at home in the Philippines despite a deeply illiberal streak. And with this week’s midterm elections, he has amassed even more political power—probably more than any Philippine leader since dictator Ferdinand Marcos. After pro-Duterte candidates dominated elections for the Senate—the only real remaining source of resistance to Duterte’s agenda—his allies control both chambers of the Philippine Congress. There will now be even fewer constraints on Duterte, who has already been working to weaken the checks on his powers, including by reshaping the Supreme Court. By the end of the year, he […]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he arrives to deliver a speech to members of his ruling Justice and Development Party, Ankara, April 27, 2019 (Presidential Press Service photo via AP Images).

ISTANBUL—After 17 years in power, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his governing Justice and Development Party, the AKP, face perhaps their toughest test yet. Voters in Istanbul will head to the polls again on June 23 to elect a mayor for the second time in three months, after Turkey’s Supreme Election Council controversially canceled the results of the March vote, which the opposition narrowly won. The Supreme Election Council cited irregularities, backing a complaint brought by Erdogan and his party. All 11 of the board’s members were appointed under Erdogan’s government. Just as the opposition’s surprising win in Istanbul […]

A supporter of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic waves Serbian flags and shouts slogans during a rally to counter months of anti-government protests in Belgrade, Serbia, April 19, 2019 (AP photo by Darko Vojinovic).

BELGRADE, Serbia—The night in mid-March when protesters stormed the headquarters of Serbia’s public broadcaster began like many recent Saturday nights in the Serbian capital. Weekly protests against the government of President Aleksandar Vucic had entered their fourth month, and several thousand people turned out for a mile-long march across the city. They planned to vent their frustrations over escalating political violence and democratic backsliding in the country. The previous 14 protests had largely unfolded without incident, and there was no reason to believe this one would be any different. But as protesters made a pit stop in front of Radio […]

Municipal workers at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, June 26, 2018 (AP photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko). The role of immigrants in the labor force is an unresolved question of Russia's immigration policy.

Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series on immigration policy around the world. Like many other advanced economies, Russia faces serious demographic challenges in the coming decades. According to government projections, the population is expected to shrink by 2.5 million people by 2035, and the active working-age population will likely decrease by 3.1 million people. Russian federal and state authorities recognize the need to hold these trends in check by keeping the country’s doors open, but immigrants, particularly migrant workers, often have trouble accessing social services and must navigate a complex patchwork of rules and regulations in order […]

Panama’s president-elect, Laurentino Cortizo, waves to supporters in Panama City, May 6, 2019 (AP photo by Arnulfo Franco).

Laurentino Cortizo, a veteran politician and former agriculture minister, narrowly won Panama’s presidential election earlier this month. Cortizo had focused his campaign on cleaning up the Central American nation’s image after a series of high-profile corruption scandals. But given the entrenched patronage networks and weak institutions of accountability in Panama, he will have a hard time following through on that promise, says Orlando J. Pérez, an expert on Latin American politics at Millersville University in Pennsylvania. In an email interview with WPR, he discusses the election results and what to expect from the new administration. World Politics Review: How did […]

Gabriela Hernandez, executive director of the nonprofit New Mexico Dream Team, holds up an image of Roxana Hernandez, a Honduran transgender woman who died in U.S. custody, Albuquerque, N.M., June 6, 2018 (AP photo by Mary Hudetz).

The desperation of daily life in Honduras is driving thousands of people to join other Central American migrants in their long march northward toward what they hope is asylum and safety in the United States. Yet the situation is especially grave for those who are LGBT, in particular gender non-conforming men and minors. Perhaps that was why the first people to reach the U.S. border in the widely publicized migrant caravan last November were 85 LGBT people. “LGBT people band together to protect each other,” says Aaron Morris, the executive director of Immigration Equality, which advocates for LGBT immigrants to […]

North Korean men ride their bicycles in Pyongyang, North Korea, Feb. 1, 2019 (AP photo by Dita Alangkara).

Though the government maintains a stance that they are illegal and undesirable, the use of drugs in North Korea, particularly crystal meth, appears to be growing as state actors profit from its production and sale. The use of illegal drugs in North Korea appears to be on the rise. Radio Free Asia reported that crystal meth was popular as a gift during February’s Lunar New Year holiday, and the Daily NK, a Seoul-based news site, recently reported that drug addiction is increasingly prevalent among the country’s youth. The appeal of crystal meth, which is widely produced in North Korea and […]

Voters gather at a polling station to cast their votes in Cape Town, South Africa, May 8, 2019 (AP photo by Halden Krog).

Editor’s Note: Starting this week, Andrew Green is taking over Africa Watch, WPR’s weekly roundup of the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. South Africa went to the polls Wednesday for the fifth national election since the end of apartheid in 1994. The vote was largely seen as a referendum on the African National Congress, which has been the ruling party for the past quarter-century, and its leader, President Cyril Ramaphosa. Official results are not due until Saturday, though early returns show the ANC is set to win, and that Ramaphosa will secure a full term […]

A Ukrainian serviceman guards a position near the frontline of the conflict in Mariinka, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, April 20, 2019 (AP photo by Evgeniy Maloletka).

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree late last month to expedite the process of applying for Russian citizenship for people living in separatist regions of eastern Ukraine. The move came only days after the second round of Ukraine’s presidential election, which was won by former actor and comedian Volodymyr Zelensky. The decree poses challenges for Zelensky’s agenda and could exacerbate divisions that worsened due to the nationalist policies of outgoing President Petro Poroshenko, says Gordon Hahn, a senior researcher at the Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies and the author of “Ukraine Over the Edge: Russia, the West and […]

Supporters of Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa attend a rally organized for the white community in Harare, July 21, 2018 (AP photo by Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi).

One of the promises Emmerson Mnangagwa made after becoming Zimbabwe’s president in late 2017 was to reach a compromise on one of the most divisive issues in the country: how to compensate the estimated 4,500 white farmers whose property was violently expropriated under Robert Mugabe. But Mnangagwa’s attempts to take a more conciliatory tone risk creating new divisions and reopening old wounds. Mnangagwa is trying to strike a nearly impossible balance, treating the land seizures under Mugabe’s so-called fast track land reform program as “irreversible” while offering “appropriate compensation” to dispossessed white farmers, but only for improvements they made to […]

Guatemalan military officers carry the coffin of former dictator Efrain Rios Montt to his burial site at a cemetery in Guatemala City, April 1, 2018 (AP photo by Moises Castillo).

It has been more than two decades since the civil wars in El Salvador and Guatemala came to a close. Yet in both countries, transitional justice is still a goal, rather than a reality, and recent progress risks being undermined by powerful forces intent on blocking accountability. For this week’s in-depth report, Anna-Catherine Brigida spoke with survivors of civil war-era atrocities who have campaigned—in some cases successfully—to make the alleged perpetrators of those atrocities stand trial. She also examined efforts by officials allied with former military regimes to use legislation and the courts to revive amnesty provisions. In this week’s […]

Colombian President Ivan Duque and Vice President Marta Lucia Ramirez, left, take part in a march to repudiate terrorism in Bogota, Colombia, Jan. 20, 2019 (AP photo by Fernando Vergara).

Nine months into his tenure and still finding his footing, Colombia’s president is close to a bitter legislative defeat on one of the country’s most charged political issues: peace. Ivan Duque’s attempt to roll back parts of Colombia’s landmark 2016 peace accord already went down by a 110-44 vote in Colombia’s House of Representatives on April 8. The Senate went through a series of gyrations last week, initially rejecting Duque’s initiative 47-34 before ultimately sending the issue to a top court that is likely to rule against the president. It’s bad news for Duque, but good news for Colombia’s peace […]

A voter on his way to a polling station in Los Angeles, California, Nov. 6, 2018 (Photo by Britta Pedersen for dpa via AP Images).

The 2020 U.S. presidential election is still a year and a half away, but the debate over the future of American foreign policy is already taking shape. For now, that debate is primarily taking place among foreign policy experts, with a few of the Democratic presidential hopefuls also offering outlines of their priorities for American engagement with the world. But a report published this week by the Center for American Progress unintentionally raises an interesting question: Is expert opinion among the foreign policy elite driving that debate, or is it the popular attitudes of everyday Americans? If I say the […]

Antonio Garcia, a negotiator for the National Liberation Front, a Colombian rebel group, left, and Israel Ramirez Pineda, the group’s commander, at a press conference, Caracas, Venezuela, March 30, 2016 (AP photo by Ariana Cubillos).

HAVANA, Cuba—A judge in Colombia last week ordered President Ivan Duque to notify the United Nations Security Council about the progress made in peace talks with guerrillas from the National Liberation Army, or ELN, which the government ended earlier this year in the wake of an ELN bombing. The ruling came after two senior Colombian politicians had sued Duque, claiming that he had neglected to inform the U.N. and the guarantor countries—Venezuela, Cuba, Chile, Brazil and Norway—about the state of the negotiations. The judge said that Duque had failed to “give substantive explanations or reasons” for suspending the talks. The […]

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