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Short political reports of the KAS offices abroad

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IMAGO / Lehtikuva

Government work involving right-wing nationalist parties

Current experiences from Sweden and Finland

Since the fall of 2022, Sweden has had a conservative minority government made up of the Moderates, Christian Democrats and Liberals, supported by the right-wing nationalist "Sweden Democrats" (SD) via a cooperation agreement, the so-called "Tidöavtalet." While cooperation on issues such as fighting crime, expanding nuclear power, as well as in economic and budgetary matters seems to be working, the SD's rhetoric on the EU, migration and Islam has become increasingly strident in recent weeks. Although the Sweden Democrats have officially endorsed Sweden’s membership in NATO in the wake of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the party’s action about Koran burnings has complicated the ratification of Sweden’s NATO membership by Turkey and contributed to the destabilization of Sweden’s domestic security situation.

Since June 2023, Finland has also had a conservative government, which – unlike in Sweden - brought the right-wing nationalist Perussuomalaiset (PS) into government as a coalition partner with a portfolio covering 8 ministries. Within just a few days of the formation of the government, however, cracks began to show - the PS's economy minister was forced to resign over ties to neo-Nazi circles, and two other PS ministers had to publicly apologize for making racist comments. The finance minister and PS party leader is also under pressure after a violent, xenophobic blog post she had written surfaced. Leader of the conservative National Coalition Party and Prime Minister Orpo has now invited the leaders of the governing parties to an internal debate about racism and discrimination immediately following the summer break. As a result, there is a high degree of confidence that the work of the government can progress. This process was important for the continued viability of the coalition, as the increasing number of scandals surrounding right-wing PS politicians, or their statements put the three other coalition members under immense political pressure.

IMAGO / Panthermedia

Elections in Ecuador

Runoff between Entrepreneur and Correísta

In Ecuador, which is characterized by increasing drug-related crime and eroding institutionality, the extraordinary presidential elections took place on August 20, 2023. After an election campaign overshadowed by violence, culminating in the assassination of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio on August 9, 2023, the elections were held in a climate of great fear and uncertainty. With 23.73% of the vote, the 35-year-old center-right candidate Daniel Noboa surprisingly succeeded in advancing to the runoff election on October 15, 2023, against Luisa González from the Correístas camp, who, as expected, was the formal winner of the first round with 33.26% of the vote.

imago / ZUMA Wire

"Change and the future" - Hope has triumphed

Presidential elections in Guatemala: result clear-impact open

After the surprising outcome of the 1st round of presidential elections on June 20, 2023, Guatemalan democracy came under intense pressure in the weeks that followed. The fact that the runoff election with the two top finishers in the 1st round could now actually take place shows that basic democratic structures are still in place and capable of acting. The election results are clear: based on 99.59% of the votes counted, Bernardo Arévalo won 58.14% for the SEMILLLA party against 37.10% for Sandra Torres of the UNE party. This result is a sensation and would have been considered impossible weeks ago. However, the stress test for Guatemala's political system may not yet be over.

Adobe Stock / vladimirfloyd

A lot of news in the East: NATO combat brigades for the Baltic States

6 countries - 2 ways - 1 common purpose: Scaling the trip wire to heavy ordnance

Russia's expanded and unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine since February 2022 continues to determine NATO's course. While the response to the vaguely formulated Ukrainian membership perspective in NATO varied widely after the recent summit in Vilnius, the allies' positioning against Russia's aggression is supported by a broad consensus. Both, the measures agreed upon by the allies in the summits' communiqué and further bilateral agreements reached in recent months, leave no doubt: NATO partners stand together.

Adobe Stock / Xand777

Primaries in Argentina

Surprising landslide victory for Javier Milei

On Sunday 13 August, the Primarias Abiertas, Simultáneas y Obligatorias, or PASO for short, took place in Argentina. Since 2009, the candidates of the parties for the parliamentary and presidential elections have been determined in the open primaries, which are obligatory for all citizens entitled to vote. The PASO are particularly important for smaller parties, as they decide which political forces will ultimately be allowed to stand for election on 22 October. To do so, they have to win at least 1.5 % of the vote.

IMAGO / Gruppo LiveMedia

The battle for Berlusconi's political legacy

Between tidying up and a complete overhaul: Forza Italia's survival now depends on Antonio Tajani

After the death of Silvio Berlusconi, Forza Italia must reinvent itself under its new party leader Antonio Tajani. He obviously has a clear idea: the former political club should take on the historic legacy of the "Democrazia Cristiana". Exactly 30 years after its demise, there is a longing in Italy for a new DC. But Tajani could be too late with his plans: Giorgia Meloni with her Fratelli d'Italia is already well on the way to collecting the voters of political Catholicism. If she succeeds with her strategy of gathering national conservatives and Christian Democrats under one roof, this is likely to result in the creeping death of Forza Italia and permanently change Italy's party landscape.

Adobe Stock / Vitalii Vodolazskyi

Saudi Arabia: After Iran, now Israel?

New Conditions for a Saudi-Israeli Rapprochement

It would be the deal of the century - but so far it is still a long way off. An agreement between Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United States on the recognition of the Jewish state by the guardian of Islam's holiest sites would be a political earthquake in the region and beyond. Not only could it transform the already existing unofficial cooperation between Israel and Saudi Arabia into a new regional political alliance while also complicating the recent rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran. It might also cement the decades-old alliance between Riyadh and Washington and counter current trends in international geopolitics, particularly the Gulf states' strategic orientation toward China. But while U.S. policymakers are already dreaming of a foreign policy coup, major hurdles to rapprochement remain: Riyadh wants advanced weapons, a civilian nuclear program and security guarantees from the United States. And last but not least, concessions from Israel in the conflict with the Palestinians.

IMAGO / Xinhua

The EU's migration agreement with Tunisia

Perception in Tunisia and Macroeconomic and Geostrategic Relevance

"Recently, the European Union and Tunisia signed a memorandum of understanding on a "strategic and comprehensive partnership." In addition to the planned closer cooperation in the areas of economy and trade, long-term energy and mobility partnerships are to be established. The core area, however, is migration management to limit irregular migration across the Mediterranean. For the EU, the agreement is the first yardstick for its future migration policy with the countries of North Africa. For the Tunisian government, the prospect of early financial aid and an expansion of economic cooperation in the midst of a national budget and debt crisis represents an important potential lifeline. However, key questions regarding the implementation of the agreement remain unclear. "

IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development 2023 – a blueprint for the SDG Summit?

How can we build on the momentum from the HLPF for a successful SDG Summit?

In July 2023, Member States came together to assess progress on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the United Nations (UN) High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development. As we reach the halfway point to the deadline of achieving the 2030 Agenda, the HLPF discussions concentrated on the key policy areas in which accelerated progress is needed. At this critical inflection point, only 12% of the 140 SDG targets are on track and the UN Secretary-General’s latest SDG Progress Report issues a dire “Rescue Plan for People and Planet” to put the world on a better path. The SDG Summit, taking place from 18-19 September 2023 in New York, will be an opportune moment to reverse our current trajectory and redouble efforts towards SDG implementation. This country report offers a synthesis of key themes from the HLPF and prospective outlook on the SDG Summit.

IMAGO / ITAR-TASS

The Wagner Group in Belarus

Possible scenarios based on their previous activities worldwide

The alarming reports about the relocation of the private military company (PMU) Wagner to Belarus after the aborted "March on Moscow" raise a number of questions with regard to national and regional security: Will the Wagner Group act as a political actor in Belarus? Which "instruments" from previous missions in other parts of the world could it bring to bear? And what danger is there for Ukraine and NATO countries if Lukashenka openly fantasises about "excursions" to Poland by his new guests?

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About this series

The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung is a political foundation. Our offices abroad are in charge of over 200 projects in more than 120 countries. The country reports offer current analyses, exclusive evaluations, background information and forecasts - provided by our international staff.

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Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e.V.