Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part series on Australia’s upcoming elections. Part I looks at the domestic politics of the elections. Part II will examine the foreign policy issues at stake. When a desperate Australian Labor Party (ALP) ousted the incumbent prime minister, Kevin Rudd, in June 2010, replacing him with Australia’s first female prime minister, Julia Gillard, no one foresaw that the ALP would be relying on Rudd to bring the party back from political oblivion in 2013. But in June of this year, with polls predicting the ALP would be decimated in the September election, […]

Next month, Sri Lanka’s northern province, which until four years ago was the site of a devastating war between the central government and ethnic Tamil separatists, will hold its first postwar provincial elections. In an email interview, Alan Keenan, senior analyst and Sri Lanka project director at International Crisis Group, discussed the trajectory of Sri Lanka’s politics and governance since the end of the civil war. WPR: How has the end of the war affected the political standing of Tamils in Sri Lanka? Alan Keenan: The political standing of Tamils has been weakened since the end of the war, despite […]

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Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) moved to rein in the Turkish military last week by blocking the promotion of a high-profile commander, Gen. Bekir Kalyoncu, and instead forcing the general’s retirement. Turkish media described the move as being tied to what is called the Ergenekon case, in which military officials are accused of trying to overthrow the government. Kalyoncu’s forced retirement, combined with the life sentence handed to former military chief Gen. Ilker Basbug in the Ergenekon case, underscored the shifting state of civil-military relations in Turkey, which is marked by a […]

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe will serve a seventh term in office, having reportedly won 61 percent of the vote in Zimbabwe’s general elections last week, compared to 34 percent of the vote for Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, despite charges of electoral fraud. South African President Jacob Zuma extended his congratulations to Mugabe, while the United States and the United Kingdom expressed concerns about the integrity of the vote, with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry saying the outcome failed to “represent a credible expression of the people.” In an email interview with Trend Lines, James Hamill, a lecturer in the […]

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Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s recently announced asylum policy made headlines around the world. The approach is punitive, insisting that no asylum-seeker who arrives in Australia by boat without a visa will ever be settled there. Instead, asylum-seekers’ claims will be processed in Papua New Guinea; if successful, that is where they will be resettled. The policy also comes against the backdrop of a steady increase in boat arrivals, or irregular maritime arrivals (IMAs) in the language of Australian bureaucracy. In 2010-2011 there were 4,750 IMAs, while in 2011-2012 there were 8,092. Current estimates are for even more during 2012-2013. […]

Last month, a war crimes tribunal in Bangladesh handed down a guilty verdict against Islamist party leader Ghulam Azam, its fifth conviction of a prominent political figure for involvement in atrocities committed during the country’s 1971 war for independence. In an email interview, Zakia Afrin, an adjunct professor in international law at Golden Gate University who focuses on intra-state conflict and peacebuilding, discussed the state of Bangladesh’s war crimes trials and the lessons they yield for other contexts. WPR: How well have Bangladesh’s war crimes trials succeeded in terms of providing a fair and legitimate legal process? Zakia Afrin: As […]