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Country Reports

Short political reports of the KAS offices abroad

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IMAGO / Zoonar

Church tax in Italian

How do churches and religious communities finance themselves south of the Alps?

Even in the land of the popes, more and more pews remain empty at Sunday Mass. The situation in Italy is not yet as dramatic as in Germany, but the trend is rising. However, in contrast to Germany the church tax cannot be the reason many people are leaving the church, since there is no such thing in Italy. How does the Church finance itself in the supposedly most Catholic country in Europe? Would the Italian model also be suitable for Germany? And how Catholic are the Italians still? We explore these questions in this country report.

KAS Canada/Annika Weikinnis

Worst poll results since 2015: Justin Trudeau becomes a burden for his party

Canada's Conservatives are riding a mood high

The dissatisfaction of the Canadian population with their governing party and its leader has reached new depths. There seems to be no end in sight to the Liberals' 15-month slide. The popularity of both the party and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has steadily declined, and the latest results of opinion polls by Canada's leading institutes are not likely to reassure the Liberals' worried base. At the same time, the Conservatives (CPC) under their charismatic leader Pierre Poilievre are basking in poll results that currently even suggest that a majority government for the party, which has remained in opposition since 2015, is possible.

IMAGO / Xinhua

What's next for Zimbabwe?

Economic, domestic and foreign policy consequences of Zimbabwes 2023 elections

Six years after the fall of Mugabe and the beginning of a new foreign policy of rapprochement with Europe and America, this year's elections show the true extent of reforms - or rather their absence. While the opposition has made small strides against all odds, hopes for an economic turnaround have been largely disappointed.

@luzitanija / Adobe Stock

South Korea and Vietnam

A comprehensive strategic partnership

An overview of the cooperation between South Korea and Vietnam - from from economy to security policy to culture

Army seizes power in Gabon

A military coup as a warrant of democracy and the rule of law?

Francophone West and Central Africa are in further turmoil. After five military coups in the last three years (Mali, Chad, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Niger), the military also took power in Gabon at the end of August 2023. Is this military coup in Gabon also a result of recent anti-democratic developments in sub-saharan Africa, or can it be seen in a different light?

IMAGO / Xinhua

Regional normalisation – Syrian perspectives

Turkish and Arab attempts to establish a new foundation for their relationship with Syria are viewed with concern especially in areas outside of the regime’s control.

Both the Arab League and Turkey have initiated a process of normalizing ties with the Syrian regime: While the Arab track, led by Saudi Arabia, has received wide international attention and media coverage, in Syria itself the Turkish efforts are monitored much more closely due to Turkey’s active role in Syrian political and security affairs. Yet, as of now, none of the two initiatives have achieved any significant progress, which can mainly be attribute to the Assad regime’s unwillingness to make any concessions. Nonetheless, non-state actors in Northern Syria remain apprehensive. Furthermore, amidst an ever-worsening economic crisis in Syria, unrest and demonstrations are also flawing up in regime-held territories.

Seksan Rochanametakul

Thailand's New Government - Coalition of Arch Enemies Opposes Political Change

The priorities of the new head of government, Srettha Thavisin, are in the economic sphere, also for Thailand's foreign policy

The May 14 parliamentary elections in Thailand were deemed a success for the democratic process by all observers, with the Electoral Commission recognizing a large victory for the progressive Move Forward Party (MFP), which became the largest faction in the House of Representatives. The unelected Senate – appointed by the former military government – prevented the MFP from forming a government, while the Constitutional Court suspended its leader Pita Limcharoenrat over an alleged breach of election rules. The outcome of the 2023 electoral cycle reflects the balance of power in Thailand under the current constitution, under which conservative elites and the military continue to exert control over the political process in order to protect their interests. This election demonstrates what appears to be their collective goal -- maintain control over political outcomes, while creating enough democratic space to ensure that Thailand saves face internationally and its citizens refrain from demonstrating in the streets. 

Vince Musi / The White House, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

30 years of the Oslo Accords 

Will there be a new upheaval in the Middle East Conflict? 

30 years after the historic handshake between Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat in the garden of the White House in Washington, D.C., the peace process has come to a standstill; the political majorities in Israel and an escalating spiral of violence in the Palestinian Territories put hope of a diplomatic solution with two coexisting states into the distant future. Rather, after 30 years of the Oslo system, the question arises: How much longer will these agreements be viable? 

IMAGO / ITAR-TASS

Russia's Demographic Policy in the Context of the War

Long-term challenges for the Russian Federation

This country report explores the demographic policies of Russia in the context of the war in Ukraine. It traces Russia's demographic changes over the past century, from the Tsarist era to the present Russian Federation, and discusses the various measures the government has taken to address the demographic challenges, especially the declining birth rate. The conflict with Ukraine has introduced additional challenges, including the loss of life and mass migrations. While government initiatives have shown some positive results, the demographic situation remains complex and precarious, with regional disparities, urbanization, and external factors influencing the population dynamics.

Andreas Klein/KAS

Mit Erfahrung und Optimismus in die Zukunft

Tharman Shanmugaratnam zum neunten Präsidenten der Republik Singapur gewählt

Mit einem überzeugenden Ergebnis von 70,4 Prozent ist der langjährige Finanzminister und Parlamentsabgeordnete Tharman Shanmugaratnam am 1. September zum neunten Staatspräsident Singapurs seit der Unabhängigkeit im Jahr 1965 gewählt worden. Nach einem kurzen Wahlkampf von nicht einmal zehn Tagen setzte er sich in der Wahl, zu der 2,7 Millionen Singapurer und Singapurerinnen aufgerufen waren, deutlich gegen die beiden Mitbewerber Tan Kin Lian und Ng Kok Song durch. Shanmugaratnam tritt die Nachfolge von Präsidentin Halimah Yacob an, die als erste Frau und Muslima in der 58jährigen Geschichte der Inselrepublik von 2017 bis 2023 als Staatsoberhaupt diente. Die vor wenigen Tagen 69 Jahre alt gewordene Staatspräsidentin, ehemalige Parlamentssprecherin und Ministerin hatte am 29. Mai 2023 angekündigt, keine zweite Amtszeit anzustreben, sondern in den politischen Ruhestand überzugehen.

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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.