Kenya is one of the most politically and economically developed countries in Africa and on Tuesday conducted its second presidential election since a political unrest in 2007-8 over disputed election results. Since this instability powers have been devolved away from Nairobi and the country has embarked on some measures of electoral reform in order to tackle corruption and defend the integrity of the country’s elections. The elections were predicted to be a flashpoint for violence but so far there only been a few examples of tensions boiling over into physical confrontations, and nothing on the scale of the 2007-8 political crisis.
The first round of the French presidential election took place a number of weeks ago and the result was that neither candidate from the two main political parties of France- the Socialist Party and Les Républicains- made it into the second round of voting. Instead, former Socialist Party minister and self-declared centrist Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen of the far-right Front National made it into the second round vote. Left-wing populist Jean-Luc Mélenchon narrowly finished fourth with nearly 20% of the vote. Mélenchon was the candidate that I wished to see elected as the French President and but because of the result there have been many questions about who these voters should support. I’m going to argue against some of the nonsense that has been proposed in recent weeks before revealing what I would do.
The ANC have been governing South Africa since 1994, but they have not been doing so alone. The ANC stands for election as an independent political party but it is also a member of the Tripartite Alliance, which sees it supported by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Communist Party (SACP). However the increasingly erratic behaviour of President Jacob Zuma, and the numerous and longstanding allegations of corruption, have alienated many within COSATU and the SACP. COSATU General Secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali has said that the current ANC leader is not the “right person” to lead the country. Zuma needs to be removed, and this move shows that the labour movement may well be the ones to do it.
The French elections will be a massively symbolic event. Not only will the French people who will be their legislators and their next President, the result will either embolden far-right populists across Europe or the those parties opposed to this tide of authoritarian feeling. I have previously argued that the structural barriers in the Dutch and German political systems make the election of far-right parties much more difficult, and I remain convinced of this view. However, the same cannot be said of France. The following few articles shall be exploring the French political system and the election because if France falls to the same far-right forces as have prevailed elsewhere, the ramifications will be numerous. This piece shall analyse the constitutional ambiguity that has given me cause for concern.
One of the things that the mainstream press have done is focus on Trump’s outlandish statements, particularly his empirical statements. For example at his press conference today Donald Trump said that “I guess it’s the biggest electoral college win since Ronald Reagan”. I don’t blame the media for doing this as there is only so much time in the day, and such a statement is easy to disprove, but given the scale of the lying by Trump, I have decided to avoid these little things as much as possible. At the end of the day whether Trump’s win was the biggest ever or the smallest ever doesn’t really matter because he still won. Instead, I’m going to look beyond the stupid statements of the President, and highlight the horrible things the GOP are doing. And this starts right now.
One of the first things that Donald Trump has done in office is introduce new barriers for women seeking an abortion. Specifically, Trump has reintroduced the ‘Mexico City policy’, an approach to US developmental aid that requires NGOs to not preform abortions in order to qualify for federal funds. This policy was first introduced by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 but had been ignored by Democratic administrations of Clinton and Obama. Trump’s decision will make women seeking abortions around the world more difficult, but there are some who are willing to stand up.
Hours after the first ECOWAS forces entered The Gambia to remove former President Yahya Jammeh from power, the new head of state announced that Jammeh had agreed to step aside. Adama Barrow said on Twitter: “I would like to inform you that Yahya Jammeh has agreed to step down. He is scheduled to depart Gambia today”. Not only is this a massive step forward for Gambian democracy, it is a victory for diplomacy as not single shot was fired by ECOWAS forces, and a political solution was found. The people of The Gambia have their new leader, and hopefully the country can move forward.