Prime Minister Viktor Orban, center, during a Fidesz party press conference after nationwide local elections, Budapest, Hungary, Oct. 13, 2019 (MTI photo by Szilard Koszticsak via AP).

Hungary’s populist prime minister, Viktor Orban, and his right-wing Fidesz party incurred significant losses in local elections earlier this month, as opposition candidates won control in 11 of the country’s 23 major cities, unseating several Fidesz-backed incumbents. In an email interview with WPR, Péter Krekó, executive director of Political Capital, a Budapest-based policy research and consulting institute, explains how opposition parties were able to notch so many wins against Fidesz and why, in addition to a setback for his party, the elections were a personal blow for Orban. World Politics Review: What allowed so many opposition candidates to unseat incumbents […]

An anti-government protest in Beirut, Lebanon, Oct. 20, 2019 (AP photo by Hassan Ammar).

From Lebanon and Iraq to Ecuador and Chile, popular protests have shaken governments and captured the imagination of pundits worldwide in the past few weeks. Combined with the mass demonstrations that forced regimes in Algeria and Sudan to cast aside longtime leaders earlier this year, as well as the Yellow Vest movement that stunned France from December 2018 through the late spring, some observers are wondering whether we are witnessing a revolutionary moment of global proportions. Has popular dissatisfaction with the unfair distribution of globalization’s spoils reached a tipping point? Or are these protests locally driven, offering little or no […]

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of Poland’s Law and Justice party, at a rally after voting closed in the nation’s parliamentary elections, Warsaw, Oct. 13, 2019 (AP photo).

Was it a populist triumph or a thinly veiled setback? The victory of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party, known as PiS, in parliamentary elections earlier this month has been called both. The verdict should become clearer in the months ahead, as the PiS-dominated government comes to terms with an upper house of parliament that is now narrowly controlled by the opposition Civic Coalition. The first test will come next year, when President Andrzej Duda, who is backed by PiS, faces a potentially tough reelection. PiS can perhaps claim a strong mandate, having retained a majority in the lower house […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi, Oct. 24, 2019 (pool photo by Gavriil Grigorov of TASS News Agency via AP Images).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. Russian President Vladimir Putin had a message for African leaders this week: Moscow is ready to make some deals. Putin’s government brought 43 African heads of state or government to the Black Sea resort town of Sochi for the first-ever Russia-Africa Summit. The Russians simultaneously sent a pair of nuclear-capable bombers to South Africa, apparently the first time the Soviet-era aircraft had ever landed on the continent, reinforcing both Russia’s strategic capabilities and what it might be able to offer African governments. […]

Portuguese Prime Minister and Socialist Party leader Antonio Costa delivers a speech during a campaign rally, Lisbon, Sept. 24, 2019 (AP photo by Armando Franca).

Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa and his ruling Socialist Party scored a solid victory in parliamentary elections earlier this month, capturing roughly 37 percent of the vote and expanding their plurality in parliament from 86 to 106 seats. However, the Socialists fell short of the 116 seats needed for a majority, and are foregoing the formal support agreements with smaller left-leaning parties that allowed them to govern over the past four years. That means they will have to negotiate with other parties on an ad hoc basis in order to enact legislation. In an email interview with WPR, Sofia Serra-Silva, […]

Anti-Brexit supporters during a march in London, Oct. 19, 2019, (AP photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth).

Despite saying that he would “rather be dead in a ditch” than delay Brexit, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was forced to do just that late Saturday night, sending a letter to the European Commission requesting another extension for the United Kingdom’s long-awaited departure from the European Union. As with two earlier delays, the core challenges to resolving Brexit remain avoiding a highly disruptive, “no-deal” exit; keeping the Irish land border open; and defining trade relationships with the EU and the rest of the world that mitigate the costs of leaving the world’s largest customs union. The British Parliament refused […]

A photograph of local politician Walter Luebcke at his funeral service, Kassel, Germany, June 13, 2019 (Photo by Swen Pfoertner for dpa via AP Images).

BERLIN—When Walter Luebcke, the president of a regional council in the central German state of Hesse, was found lying on his porch with a bullet wound to his head in early June, investigators initially resisted the notion that the shooting was connected to his work as a politician. Luebcke had spent the evening sitting outside, within earshot of a festival taking place in his hometown of Istha that night. His son found him, after returning home from the festival, and called the paramedics. Luebcke died in the hospital a few hours later. For years, Luebcke had been the target of […]

LGBT activists marching in the country’s first-ever Pride parade in downtown Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sept. 8, 2019 (AP photo by Darko Bandic).

Bosnia and Herzegovina hosted its first Pride parade last month, as LGBT activists and supporters marched in the capital, Sarajevo, amid heavy security. Bosnia is the last country in the Balkans to hold a Pride parade. The march’s success testifies to the strength and capacity of Bosnia’s LGBT activists, says Zorica Mršević, principal research fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences in Belgrade, Serbia. In an email interview with WPR, she discusses the recent progress in expanding LGBT rights across the Balkans, and the obstacles going forward. World Politics Review: What is the current state of LGBT rights in Bosnia […]

Armenian soldiers after shooting practice at the Mataghis army base in Armenian-controlled Karabakh, May 11, 2018 (AP photo by Thanassis Stavrakis).

The honeymoon is over for Armenia’s popular prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan. In addition to a series of problems at home, he has no choice but to deal with a perennial headache: the three-decades-old conflict with Azerbaijan over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, which dates back to the last years of the Soviet Union in 1988. Pashinyan came to office suddenly and unexpectedly in April 2018 on a wave of popular protests that swept away the previous government, which had monopolized power and was tainted by corruption. That peaceful revolution transformed Armenia overnight, briefly put it on the world’s television screens […]

Drugs and drug paraphernalia in Belfast, Northern Ireland, March 28, 2004 (Photo by Paul Faith for Press Association via AP Images).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series about national drug policies in various countries around the world. Scotland is in the throes of a devastating drug crisis. Data released this past summer showed that the number of drug-related deaths in 2018 spiked to nearly 1,200—a 27 percent increase over the previous year. Scotland’s drug-related fatality rate is three times higher than that of England and Wales, and is now on par with that of the United States on a per capita basis, according to The Guardian. In an interview, Catriona Matheson, professor in substance use at the […]

President Trump meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the InterContinental Barclay New York hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Sept. 25, 2019 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

With every day, a new thread seems to emerge in the ongoing impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, which centers on Trump’s efforts to pressure the government of Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden, the former vice president and now Democratic presidential candidate. According to multiple whistleblowers and a released rough transcript of a July 25 phone call, Trump urged his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, to investigate Biden. The request put Zelensky in a tough position, caught between his need for American support to fight a war in eastern Ukraine against Russia-backed separatists, and his desire to avoid […]

Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti speaks to supporters during a political rally in the town of Ferizaj, Kosovo, Sept. 26, 2019 (AP photo).

A left-leaning anti-establishment party scored an upset victory in parliamentary elections in Kosovo last weekend, as voters strongly rebuked the ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo, or PDK, which had been in power since the country declared independence in 2008. The left-wing Albanian nationalist Self-Determination Movement, or Vetevendosje, took a plurality of 26 percent, and the more mainstream Democratic League of Kosovo finished a close second. Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti, a former political dissident, will now try to form a coalition government, but how exactly he will do so is unclear, says Aleksandar Kocic, a Serbian-born journalist and lecturer in journalism […]

President Donald Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in the Rose Garden of the White House, Washington, July 25, 2018 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

The U.S. announced last week that it will begin imposing new tariffs on $7.5 billion in imports from the European Union on Oct. 18. Unless there is a quick settlement to an underlying dispute over plane-manufacturing subsidies, which seems unlikely given that it has dragged on for 15 years, American lovers of single-malt scotch, French wine and cheese, Spanish olive oil and English wool sweaters had better stock up on these and other items imported from Europe. Yet these tariffs aren’t like the others imposed so far under President Donald Trump, and it is premature to assume they signal the […]

Newspaper headlines capture the shock of Brexit in the days after the U.K. voted to leave the EU, Freiburg, Germany, June 25, 2016 (Photo by Winfried Rothermel for dpa via AP images).

On the morning of June 24, 2016, Britons woke up to a new reality—and to what, for many of them, surely felt like a new and unfamiliar country. A day earlier, 52 percent of the U.K. electorate had unexpectedly voted to leave the European Union in a historic referendum, a result that had blindsided most experts. The newspaper headlines that morning reflected the general mood, which could be best described as shellshock. “Brexit Earthquake,” declared The Times of London, succinctly capturing the emotional state of most Remain voters. “Britain breaks with Europe,” was the Financial Times’ more sober take, but […]

A North Korean fishing boat in the Sea of Japan, late May 2019 (Japan Coast Guard via AP Images).

Russian border guards have escalated a crackdown on North Korean squid poachers in recent weeks, detaining dozens of fishing vessels and hundreds of crew members for illegally fishing inside Russia’s exclusive economic zone in the Sea of Japan. Moscow had previously ignored North Korean incursions into its waters, but the increasing scale of the problem and a mounting domestic outcry finally prompted authorities to take action. In an email interview with WPR, Artyom Lukin, a scholar specializing in Russia’s ties with East Asia at the Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok, Russia, explains the timing behind Russia’s clampdown and how […]

The prime meridian line in Greenwich, England, Sept. 12, 2010 (photo by Flickr user ~36ducks~).

It’s easy to take for granted, in this globalized era, that all peoples and nations use a common standard to tell the time. But it wasn’t always this way. Not until the late 19th century did the world finally synchronize its watches. This milestone in multilateral cooperation occurred at a pivotal if unsung gathering, the International Meridian Conference, which convened in Washington, D.C., in October 1884, 135 years ago this month. President Chester A. Arthur had invited the world’s 26 “civilized”—that is, independent—nations to resolve a dilemma that increasingly bedeviled international commerce and communication: namely, the absence of any agreed […]

From left, Bosnian Serb President Milorad Dodik, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, Croat President Zeljko Komsic and Muslim Bosniak President Sefik Dzaferovic after their meeting in Brussels, Jan. 29, 2019 (AP photo by Francisco Seco).

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s unique and often unstable tripartite presidency missed its deadline to form part of its national government in early September, almost a year after general elections, amid continued disagreements on whether to proceed with long-in-the-works plans to join NATO. With its leaders deadlocked, the country’s path toward both the Western military alliance and membership in the European Union is as uncertain as ever. Twenty-five years after the end of the brutal war that killed over 100,000 people and left millions displaced, Bosnia’s dysfunctional political system continues to hamper its long recovery. The country is still reliant on international […]

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