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IMAGO / Manuel Winterberger

Tight race in the conservative camp in the National Council elections in Switzerland

The center and FDP are in a neck-and-neck race for the third place in parliament.

On October 22, the Swiss electorate will be called to the polls. This year's parliamentary elections are likely to see a resurgence of the Swiss People's Party (SVP). The right-wing populist party is benefiting from the boom in immigration issues and remains by far the strongest force in polls. The winners of the 2019 elections, the Greens, do not seem to be able to repeat their strong result, and the FDP is also stumbling. The Christian Democratic party "Die Mitte" could benefit from this and is preparing to enter the Swiss parliament as the third strongest force in a historic step.

Conflict in the Christian Community in Iraq

Internal conflicts of a millennial community

The number of Christians in the Middle East has declined rapidly in recent decades. For example, while around 1.5 million Christians still lived in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, there are no more than 250,000 today. The reasons for this vary. In particular, armed conflicts and the reign of terror of the so-called Islamic State (IS) in parts of Iraq have intensified the exodus of Iraqi Christians. Even after the end of IS rule, the situation of the Christian community in Iraq, which is one of the oldest in the entire region, is difficult. But in addition to external factors, internal ones are increasingly playing a role: Iraqi Christians are threatened with a split that could lead to the breakup of the community.

Adobe Stock / adonis_abril

Argentina before the elections

The hope for a turnaround

Presidential and parliamentary elections will be held in Argentina on 22 October. The country, which has been plagued by debt and economic crises for decades, seems to have reached a low point in the perception of its citizens, with inflation at 125%, a poverty rate of 44% and a chronic shortage of foreign currency and the accompanying shortage of imported goods. Anger at the traditional political elites who have run down Argentina, once one of the richest countries in the world, is high. The mood before the elections oscillates between desperate, heated and hopeful of "things can only get better" and "things can't get worse". Despite years of hardship, many people still believe that the country, rich in raw materials, natural gas, oil and lithium, can prosper again if properly managed.

IMAGO / ABACAPRESS

Senate elections 2023:

Confirmation of the bourgeois-conservative camp in the French upper house of parliament

The French Senate, which has been dominated by the bourgeois-conservative camp since the beginning of the Fifth Republic - with the exception of a three-year socialist interlude between 2011 and 2014 - saw no political surprise in the partial elections to the Senate on September 24, 2023. The Républicains (LR), along with their Union centriste allies, retained an absolute majority in the Palais du Luxembourg, the seat of the Senate in Paris. The Union Centriste is a French parliamentary group that unites center and center-right deputies in the Senate. It is currently the third strongest political force in the upper house and unites, among others, the parties Union des démocrates et indépendants, Les Centristes, Parti radical, Alliance centriste, Calédonie ensemble and Tapura huiraatira. Currently, 144 seats (previously 145) are expected for LR and around 60 seats for the Union centriste (previously 57). The final results will be announced on October 3, the deadline for newly elected deputies to join a parliamentary group Senator Gérald Larcher (LR), re-elected for the sixth time, is expected to be reconfirmed in his post as Senate president. The election results of the partial elections can be classified as an indicator of the development of the French party landscape. At the same time, the elections distort the current mood among French voters due to their specific electoral law - while the election says a lot about the traditional and local anchoring of the parties, hardly any or no conclusions can be drawn for the next presidential, parliamentary or European elections.

IMAGO / Xinhua

First center-left government in Latvia

A change of government with shaky foundations

The new government is in place - albeit with a narrow majority. After the presidential elections in May of this year, a political reshuffle of the government was inevitable. The new president was elected with the votes of the largest opposition party, the Union of Greens and Peasants (ZZS). The fact that a major oligarch is behind the ZZS made the new coalition formation difficult and also poses major challenges for the strongest party, New Unity (JV). In practical terms, this has already become clear in the election of the new speaker of parliament. But this constellation also holds explosive potential politically.

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.

Stagnation instead of Growth

Why the Bundeswehr is not an attractive employer and how it can become one

The Bundeswehr must grow in terms of personnel in order to be able to meet the demands placed on it. Despite efforts, its goal of 203,000 active soldiers is a long way off. Why has the Bundeswehr so far failed to recruit and retain personnel and how can it become an attractive employer in the future and thus a guarantor of security for Germany and its allies?

@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