Asset Publisher

Further publications

Asset Publisher

adobe stock / H_Ko

Health and psychosocial effects of the legalisation and commercialisation of cannabis

Cannabis legalization at the expense of children and young people

Cannabis legalization leads to an increase in consumption. In addition, the risk perception of harmful effects decreases due to the easier availability of cannabis. Harmful effects include impaired concentration and memory, apathy, anxiety, depressive and schizophrenic disorders. Legalization in Germany is an experiment that is being carried out on the backs of children and young people for the benefit of robust luxury consumers.

IMAGO / ITAR-TASS

The Human Rights Situation in Belarus on the Eve of the “Single Voting Day”

The repressive system in Belarus today is no less brutal than in Putin's Russia

Just days after the breaking news of Alexei Navalny's death made global headlines, Belarusian independent media reported another tragedy that is similar in character but will likely cause much less attention. The political prisoner Ihar Lednik died in a hospital in Minsk after he had been incarcerated despite a known heart condition. He had been accused of “slandering Lukashenka” in a publication that demanded the dissolution of the Union State with Russia. This underlines yet again that the repressive system in today’s Belarus is not less brutal than in Putin’s Russia. Since 2020, at least five political prisoners have died in Belarus, four of them within the last nine months. Since last spring, at least six political prisoners, among them the most prominent leaders of the 2020 democratic protest, have “disappeared”. Former inmates and relatives describe the conditions in the penal colonies as “creeping death” and the UN sees signs of “crimes against humanity”. Since the repressions aim to secure Lukashenka’s rule beyond “elections”, this report is to give an overview of the human rights situation in Belarus on the eve of the “single voting day” on February 25, 2024.

Collage: Stafeeva, stock.adobe.com (people); KAS

Online, offline or both?

Practical test of survey methods – which survey method delivers trustworthy, representative results?

Survey data that is supposedly representative of the population is published almost daily. However, its quality is increasingly being questioned. These doubts are also linked to an accelerating trend towards online surveys. So-called mixed-mode samples from online and telephone data are also increasingly entering the survey market. But which survey method delivers reliable results? What are the opportunities and problems of internet-based methods? What role do data weighting and accessibility play? Analyses of telephone, online and mixed-mode samples provide answers.

IMAGO / CTK Photo

Fico pushes through controversial criminal law reform - and thus unites the opposition

The fight for the rule of law characterises the first months of the legislative period. Presidential elections in March will also be essential for the country's further development.

Although the result of the parliamentary elections in Sept. 2023 also allowed for other constellations, SMER-SD formed the government for the fourth time with Robert Fico at the lead. Coalition partners are Peter Pellegrini's HLAS-SD and Andrej Danko's National Party SNS.

One of the first things the Fico government did was to abolish the special anti-corruption prosecutor's office and shorten the statute of limitations and prison sentences in a shortened legislative procedure. Experts warned, the opposition held firm against this, as coalition MPs and former SMER-SD ministers would also benefit directly from this. Tens of thousands of people demonstrated across the country week after week - a testament to how divided the country is and a sign of how tough the upcoming election campaign for the direct presidential elections in March will be. In the run-off, the Social Democrat Pellegrini is expected to face off against the civic candidate and former foreign minister Ivan Korčok.

In terms of foreign policy, Fico is still using harsh rhetoric against Ukraine, but he is not blocking the EU's joint decisions in this regard. Commercial arms exports as well as humanitarian and technical support for Ukraine will continue under Fico, but bilateral military aid will not.

KAS Genf

The E-Commerce Moratorium: 404 Not Found

The "Geneva Telegram" explores events in Geneva-based multilateral organizations on a current topic. This time, we focus on the E-Commerce negotiations ahead of the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization, which will take place from 26-29 February in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

Senegal's democracy passes the stress test

The Constitutional Council has repealed Macky Salls' decree of 03.02.24 annulling the elections

There was much commotion in the country after President Macky Sall canceled the election date set for 25.02.2024 just a few hours before the start of the campaign. Senegalese civil society and the international community reacted with bewilderment and interpreted the annulment as an attempt by Macky Sall to extend his mandate indefinitely. Now, in a historic decision, the Constitutional Council has annulled the presidential decree.

IMAGO / Pond5 Images

Why the European elections could be decided in Italy

Movement in the Italian party system reaches as far as Strasbourg and Brussels

2024 will be a real stress test for Italy's party landscape. European elections, regional elections, local elections - a super election year has begun. For some party leaders, political survival is at stake. And some groupings may no longer exist afterwards. Only Giorgia Meloni and her Fratelli d'Italia can look to the future with relative calm when looking at the demoscopic data. The election to the European Parliament could even make the Italian head of government a key figure in Brussels when it comes to appointing new EU leaders. And surprises cannot be ruled out on the Tiber either.

IMAGO / SNA

Nothing new in Baku

Incumbent Ilham Aliyev was declared the winner of the presidential elections in Azerbaijan with an overwhelming result. Only the president's vote itself caused a stir.

The start of the "super election year" 2024 had hardly any surprises in store. According to the official results, the incumbent Ilham Aliyev emerged as the clear winner of the early presidential elections in Azerbaijan on February 7. With this election victory, Aliyev has further consolidated his power and will remain in office for another seven years. Even before the election, his fifth re-election was considered a mere formality, as it was a rehearsed simulation of democracy in a state that has been firmly ruled by an authoritarian regime for three decades. Beyond the expected course of events, the president's own vote was of extraordinary symbolic value.

U.S. Mission / Eric Bridiers / flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

The 154th Meeting of the WHO Executive Board

The "Geneva Telegram" explores events in Geneva-based multilateral organizations on a current topic. This time, we focus on the 154th meeting of the Executive Board of the World Health Organization (WHO), which met in Geneva from 22 to 27 January 2024.

Significant progress was made at the 154th meeting of the Executive Board of the World Health Organization (WHO). A decisive milestone was the design of the WHO strategy for the period 2025-2028, which will be submitted to the World Health Assembly (WHA) for approval in May. Member states signalled broad support for the comprehensive plan of the first round of investment, which is supposed to take place in November 2024. This was a crucial step for sustainable financing and strengthening of the WHO. The session comprehensively covered health priorities, including universal health coverage, noncommunicable diseases, immunization, maternal and child health, neglected tropical diseases, antibiotic resistance, polio, emergencies, and health and peace. Progress has also been made on organisational and governance reform.

www.sobranie.mk

Technical government in Skopje: Kick-off to the super election year in North Macedonia

The technical government begins its work

The super election year in North Macedonia was heralded with the swearing-in of the technical government on January 28, 2024, which had to be formed 100 days before the election date. The basis for this is the so-called Przino Agreement of 2015, which ended a serious domestic political emergency through the intervention of the EU and the USA. Talat Xhaferi is the first member of the Albanian population group to assume the office of Prime Minister. The government's main task is to organize the upcoming parliamentary elections.