News from 05/2017

30 May 2017

German chancellor tells election rally in Munich that Europe must take its fate into its own hands

Speaking after bruising meetings of Nato and the G7 group of wealthy nations last week, the German chancellor suggested the postwar western alliance had been badly undermined by the UK’s Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s election as US president“ The times in which we could completely depend on others are, to a certain extent, over,” she told an election rally in Munich on Sunday. “I’ve experienced that in the last few days. We Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands.”.


29 May 2017

United Kingdom general election, Thursday 8 June 2017

The United Kingdom general election of 2017 is scheduled to take place on Thursday 8 June 2017. Each of the 650 parliamentary constituencies will elect one Member of Parliament (MP) to the House of Commons, the lower house of Parliament.

In line with the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, an election had not been due until 7 May 2020, but a call for a snap election by Prime Minister Theresa May received the necessary two-thirds majority in a 522 to 13 vote in the House of Commons on 19 April 2017.

The Conservative Party, which has governed since 2015 (and as a senior coalition partner from 2010), is…Read

28 May 2017

Ostensibly, the UK General Election could be a tight finish if the Labour Party continues to advance

Jeremy Corbyn has dramatically cut Theresa May’s previously commanding lead in approval ratings among voters, according to the latest Opinium/Observer poll, in a further sign that the race for Downing Street may be tightening with 10 days to go until the general election.

The narrowing of May’s lead suggests her decision to call a snap election and then focus her campaign almost entirely on her leadership, contrasting it with Corbyn’s, may be backfiring.

More than a third of voters (37%) say their opinion of the prime minister is…Read

23 May 2017

UK Snap Election Date - June 8th 2017

“A general election campaign is meant to offer vision for the road ahead but Labour and Tories are both blocked by a lack of originality and too much nostalgia.”

Theresa May’s constant insistence that Britain needs strong and stable government is banal, since no party in history has campaigned with the intention of forming a weak and insecure one. In the same platitudinous spirit, all parties’ manifestos talk about the future as a place of hope and opportunity for all. The Conservatives encapsulate this idiom in the title of their 2017…Read

22 May 2017

Hassan Rouhani wins Iran’s presidential election

Iran's reformist President Hassan Rouhani has decisively won the country's presidential election, according to official results, fending off a challenge by principlist rival Ebrahim Raisi. "Of some 41.2 million total votes cast, Rouhani got 23.5 ... and won the election," Rahmanifazli said in remarks carried live by state TV. Raisi, Rouhani's closest rival, got 15.8 million votes, he added. The election was seen by many as a verdict on Rouhani's policy of opening up Iran to the world and his efforts to rebuild its stagnant economy. Rouhani swept into office four years ago on a promise to…Read

16 May 2017

France’s Macron calls for ‘historic reconstruction’ of Europe

France's new president, Emmanuel Macron, has called for a "historic reconstruction" of Europe, saying it is "the only reaction" to fight populism. Speaking in Berlin on the first full day of his presidency, he was joined by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She said the pair had a "joint conviction" that they needed to "deepen the European Union". Both said they would work together more closely on defence, eurozone reform and reducing bureaucracy.




Emmanuel Macron picks centre-right Édouard Philippe as PM

Le Havre mayor from Les Républicains party chosen to lead battle for majority in French parliamentary elections.

France’s centrist president, Emmanuel Macron, has appointed a prime minister from the right to lead his bid for a parliamentary majority in June’s elections and push through his plans to loosen strict labour laws.

Édouard Philippe, 46, the mayor of the Normandy port town Le Havre, comes from Les Républicains, the party that was headed by Nicolas Sarkozy until last year and whose candidate, François Fillon,…Read

15 May 2017

Victory for Merkel’s Christian North Rhine-Westphalia

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s time spent rallying her Christian Democratic troops this week paid off.

In the final state vote ahead of federal elections in September, voters in Germany’s most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia handed her party a solid victory with 33 percent of the vote, knocking the incumbent SPD state premier, Hannelore Kraft, out of office.


14 May 2017

“I think she really will be chancellor again,” said one stallholder from North Rhine-Westphalia.

Under the wooden beams of Brilon's medieval hunting lodge, Angela Merkel sweeps past a gleaming brass band to address her party faithful. Voters here have yet to make their choice in the regional election. But already there's something of the victory march in the chancellor's step.

This is Social Democrat country. The centre-left SPD currently rules in coalition with the Greens but polls suggest that could be about to change.


Macron Victory Promises Franco-German Revival

Pro-EU candidate Emmanuel Macron has defeated far-right firebrand Marine Le Pen in a landslide. His decisive victory has raised hopes in Berlin that Germany and France can kick-start their stalled partnership.

In Berlin, Mr. Macron’s clear victory raises hopes that Germany and France can rekindle their post-war partnership, known as the Engine of Europe, which has stalled in recent years as support for outgoing French President François Hollande collapsed, leaving him unable to lead decisively in Europe.


Martin Schulz, has said 13 May North Rhine-Westphalia vote will show who will triumph in September

The vote is the last test of the nation’s mood before the general election in September, in which Merkel will stand for the fourth time. The 13 million people eligible to cast their ballot in Germany’s industrial heartland on 14 May will offer the strongest indication yet as to whether Merkel can win, or whether the rival Social Democrats (SPD) might end her 11-year reign.

The SPD has put all its store by Martin Schulz, the former president of the European parliament, who unexpectedly swept on to the German political stage in January. Last month…Read

12 May 2017

The German state of North Rhine-Westphalia will elect a new parliament on Sunday, 14 May 2017.

The election is perceived as a trial run for the federal election later in the year.

Why is the NRW (North Rhine-Westphalia) election perceived as a test run?

State elections are a barometer for the federal elections. Depending on the state, voters take to the polls every four or five years. Three state elections are scheduled for 2017: voting will take place in Saarland, Schleswig-Holstein and North Rhine-Westphalia. The most populous German state with its rural and urban regions, its 18 million residents and 13.2 million eligible voters is viewed as a particularly relevant indicator for the…Read

11 May 2017

Britain heads to the polls on June 8 for a snap general election.

Thursday, 8 June United Kingdom general election, 2017

Theresa May is a strong leader - but Jeremy Corbyn is more in touch with ordinary people

Another poll putting Labour around 16 points behind the Tories with four weeks to go until polling day - and that’s about as good as the news got for Jeremy Corbyn. Fewer than half of people who voted Labour in 2015 - and just 56.9% of people who intended to vote Labour in June - thought Jeremy Corbyn would make the best Prime Minister. And perhaps even more alarmingly,…Read

10 May 2017

A New Leader for South Korea - Moon Jae-in

The outcome of South Korea's presidential contest, while not quite an electoral landslide, certainly represents a seismic shift in the country's political centre of gravity. Moon Jae-in's success in winning the contest with some 41% of the vote, while not a foregone conclusion, confirmed the expectations of many observers that the population would move leftwards rejecting the trend of the past eight years that has seen conservative candidates occupying the presidential residence, or Blue House, since 2008.

If domestic reform was not enough of a problem, Mr Moon will confront a plethora of foreign policy challenges.…Read

9 May 2017

Victorious Emmanuel Macron plots phase two of plan to change France

France’s president-elect, Emmanuel Macron, has begun the battle to win a parliamentary majority in legislative elections next month, the crucial next step if he is to deliver his his pro-business policy promises, including loosening France’s strict regulations on labour law.

Sunday’s vote underlined France’s social divisions, with Macron popular among better-paid, middle-class voters in cities with higher education degrees, and Le Pen ahead among blue-collar workers. Macron took his biggest scores in Paris and the surrounding area, Ile de France. Le Pen topped the poll in the northern areas…Read

8 May 2017

Macron wins French presidency

With 93% of the votes counted, Mr Macron has about 19.3 million votes, while Ms Le Pen has about 10.4 million, the French interior ministry says.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, told Macron: "I am delighted that the ideas you defended of a strong and progressive Europe, which protects all its citizens, will be those that you will carry into your presidency".

 An initial policy objective that Macron wants to reach with Germany is to agree a closer integration of the euro zone..

Paris and Berlin will have…Read

7 May 2017

French voters will decide within a few hours whether it will be Emmanuel Macron or Marine Le Pen

After an exciting election campaign the final voting is now in process. This though, is more than a French election because the outcome will involve all members of the EU. But, I believe French voters will understand this particularly after seeing the results of the recent British referendum (Brexit) and also the General Election in the U.S.A.


3 May 2017

What would Emmanuel Macron as France’s leader mean for Europe?

A presidential win could offer a last chance for liberal reform of Europe but may prove bad news for Britain’s Brexit trade hopes.

From Patrick Wintour Diplomati editor at the Guardian Newspaper.

In a sign of how quickly European politics has moved, senior diplomats in the British embassy in Paris less than a decade ago held intense discussions about whether British officials could ever have a meeting with members of the French Front National. The party, then run by Jean-Marie Le Pen, was regarded as so off-limits as to…Read

2 May 2017

1 May 2017

If Marine Le Pen Wins The French Election? These Graphic Novels Decode A Possible Far-Right Future

By Beatrice Mabilon-Bonfils, Université de Cergy-Pontoise

One thing that’s nearly certain is the presence of extreme-right populist Marine Le Pen among the top vote-getters. Her party, the Front National (FN), has gone from a pariah in the 1980s to a major political force. While she and her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, have fallen short up to now, what would happen if she won in 2017? The answer can perhaps be found in – of all places – a graphic-novel series. Created by writer François Durpaire and artist Farid Boudjellal, the first volume, &ldquo…Read