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IMAGO / NurPhoto

What next for Sri Lanka?

In 2023, the country’s struggle for political and economic stability is far from over

The situation in Sri Lanka continues to remain volatile and precarious with Sri Lankans still facing economic hardships in 2023. In November 2022, the Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore, together with its partner, Rule of Law Programme Asia, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Singapore, hosted a closed-door hybrid workshop, under Chatham House rules, with four sessions to bring together distinguished speakers from Sri Lanka, Singapore and outside the region. While the main takeaways of the workshop have recently been published in a Special Report that examines the constitutional, legal and political dimensions of the ongoing crisis, this country report assesses the latest developments on the economic, political and social fronts in Sri Lanka from a current yet broader perspective.

Guvernul României

Changing of the guard in Romania

Ciucă leaves, Ciolacu comes

On 12 June 2023, the Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă (PNL) resigned. Already on 15 June 2023, Marcel Ciolacu (PSD) was sworn in as the new Romanian Prime Minister with his new cabinet. The changing of the guard at the top of the government had been long agreed and could actually have proceeded smoothly, but was delayed by several weeks by massive teacher strikes and a very difficult collective bargaining process. The new government programme already gives an indication of how the governing parties are positioning themselves for the Romanian super-election year of 2024.

Adobe-Stock / NDABCREATIVITY

Science is inherently competitive

Interview with Prof. Dr. Gregor Bucher: How can the framework conditions be improved through tenure track, permanent positions and funding?

Scientists are exposed to high performance pressure, especially in early career phases - and without reliable security for their living conditions. That is why they need better framework conditions and planning perspectives. These are in the interest of the scientists concerned, but also in the interest of the research institutions. Nevertheless, everyone must be aware that working in research always remains associated with a high level of competitive pressure, which requires a willingness to perform and an "affinity for risk".

IMAGO / Xinhua

Malaysia five years after its democratic breakthrough

The recognizable dawn of a new Malaysia

On 9th May it has been exactly five years since Malaysia saw its first democratic change of government since independence in 1957 following its 14th national election in 2018. What followed were five turbulent years, as Malaysia has had five governing coalitions and five prime ministers since the beginning of 2018. The 15th national elections were held on 19th November 2022 and were won by long-time opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. His now six-month-old governing coalition has not found it easy to satisfy the Malaysians' desire for both stability and genuine democratic change.

IMAGO / NurPhoto

Gubernatorial elections in Mexico

Clear results and no surprises

The last gubernatorial elections before the 2024 presidential election in the states of Coahuila and Estado de México confirmed the forecasts and polls before the election on 4 June. In Estado de México, the most populous state, MORENA candidate Delfina Gómez won by a wide margin, ending over 90 years of PRI rule. In Coahuila, however, the PRI candidate of the opposition coalition "Va por México", Manolo Jiménez, won as expected. With this event, the political focus and the corresponding speculation and debates are now also entirely on the presidential election due in June 2024 and thus on the succession to the incumbent president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO).

Flickr / President Of Ukraine

Sweden’s EU Presidency

Stable Navigation Through Crises.

Sweden assumed the EU presidency in the beginning of the year. The priorities of the presidency are unity and security, prosperity and the green transition, resilience and competitiveness, as well as democratic values and the rule of law.

IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

Spain has decided - and will soon have to decide again.

Results of the municipal and regional elections of May 28, 2023. Announcement of early elections on July 23, 2023

The results of the local and regional elections lead to mayor changes in the balance of political power in Spain. Significant vote gains by the liberal-conservative People's Party (PP), considerable gains by the ultra-conservative VOX party, largely unchanged vote percentages for the socialist PSOE party and drastic losses by the radical left and left-wing populist parties mean that the left-wing coalitions are losing their power to govern almost across the whole country. For this reason, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez (PSOE) has called early elections, which will now take place on July 23, 2023 instead of December 2023. Spain is moving seamlessly from one election campaign to the next.

Adobe Stock / katatonia

Responsible staffing policies at universities – For the Promotion of Young Scientists

Interview with Prof. Dr. Michael Sommer: What helps scientists in early career phases?

Scientists in early career phases are important players in the science system, regardless of their field. Even if their career paths in publicly funded research are fundamentally associated with imponderables and require a high degree of risk tolerance, it is a necessary task to strive to continually improve working conditions and prospects. This benefits the needs of researchers and, at the same time, the universities' interests in scientific excellence.

IMAGO / NurPhoto

Reboot of Colombia's Neighborhood Policy

President Petro seeks rapprochement with Venezuela.

Colombia and Venezuela were once part of the same state, have shared a history since their founding, wear the same colors on their flags, and share a 2,219-kilometer border. What happens on one side of the border affects the other. However, relations between the two sister states have not always been friendly and have experienced some very critical moments. The inauguration of Gustavo Petro as Colombian president in August 2022 marked a turning point for the prospects of bilateral relations, especially politically, but also economically and socially. The ultimately unsuccessful policy approach of the previous Duque government, which was characterized by non-recognition and the goal of replacing Maduro's regime, has given way under President Petro to an open attitude that is willing to engage in dialogue. Critics accuse him of not taking sufficient account of the authoritarian character of the Venezuelan government. In the course of the rapprochement, President Petro still has more than three years left in his term of office to prove that his course of détente with Venezuela is the better policy approach for strengthening democracy, security and development in the region.

Reuters / Ints Kalnins

Presidential Elections in Latvia

A Choice for Unity

On May 31, 2023, the Latvian Saeima elected Edgars Rinkēvičs, a long-time minister The election required at least 51 of the 100 votes cast by Saeima deputies.