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IMAGO / Lehtikuva

Finland Relies on Popular Politicians in Times of Crisis

Alexander Stubb in first place after the first round of the presidential elections

Finland has enjoyed special attention in the security policy context at least since the country joined NATO in April 2023 and due to its comprehensive strategy of defensive democracy ("total defense"). Hybrid attacks from the Russian side have increased since Russia's attack on Ukraine. Finland recently had to close its border posts in the east due to migration controlled by Russia. The Finnish president, who is directly elected every six years, is the commander-in-chief of the army and is responsible for enacting laws, appointing ministers and foreign and security policy. Sauli Niinistö, who is still in office, negotiated the path from his country's application to NATO membership prudently and purposefully with an overwhelming vote of the Finnish population and thus also received a great deal of international recognition. Alexander Stubb, like Niinistö from the conservative Rally Party, is now likely to succeed him. He received 27.2% of the vote on election night, but was closely followed by Pekka Haavisto, former Green Foreign Minister in the Marin cabinet, with 25.8%.

Senegal elects a new president

On the way to a new era

On February 25, 2024, Senegal will elect a new president. It is the twelfth election since Senegal's independence in 1960. Four presidents have been in office so far, now the fifth will be elected. This is the first time in Senegal's history that an incumbent president is no longer standing as a candidate. Although Macky Sall can look back on 12 successful years, there are many voices - especially among the predominantly young population - who would prefer to see a different generation of politicians as future rulers. The controversial opposition politician Ousmane Sonko himself has not been admitted. It remains to be seen whether the weakened but still very present opposition will be able to assert itself.

IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

China's powerlessness in the Red Sea

Houthi attacks pose a strategic dilemma for Beijing

Washington has asked Beijing for support to curb attacks by Yemen's Houthi rebels on merchant ships in the Red Sea, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing US government circles. China's own interest in de-escalation and securing trade and supply chains appears to be obvious. However, why China is holding back in the conflict, even though it is economically heavily dependent on exports, raises questions.

Media Lens King, stock.adobe.com

AI in Subsahara-Africa – Afrofuturism without African languages?

The challenges for large language models

As a technology, AI has enormous potential to make many processes simpler, faster and more efficient. AI would therefore be suitable for so-called leap-frogging. If AI were integrated quickly and well, especially the global South could benefit from it. However, large amounts of data are required for the development of large language models (e.g. ChatGPT). This could slow down the spread of AI on the African continent. Liberal and transparent data policy should therefore play a central role in the political discourse there.

IMAGO / USA TODAY Network

How important is Iowa?

On the Outcome of the First Primaries for the U.S. Presidential Election.

Donald Trump wins the Republican primaries in Iowa by a large margin. This consolidates his role as the favorite for the presidential nomination. However, Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley remain in the race.

IMAGO / Bestimage

Smaller, bourgeois-conservative, constant

France has a new government.

President Emmanuel Macron and the new Prime Minister Gabriel Attal presented a streamlined and largely conservative government on 11 January, which is characterized by the retention of several political heavyweights and the unexpected arrival of former Sarkozy minister Rachida Dati in the culture portfolio.

IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

Indonesia in Super Election Year 2024

Indonesia faces the biggest elections in its history in 2024.

Indonesia faces the biggest elections in its history in 2024. In the third largest democracy in the world, more than 204 million voters will not only elect a new president and the composition of the national parliament, but will also elect governors and regional parliaments in all 38 provinces, as well as all county councils and mayors in the country. The incumbent president, Joko Widodo, is no longer allowed to run after two terms in office. But even if the election campaign for his successor is fiercely waged, all signs point to continuity. For Germany and the EU, this means that Indonesia will continue to be an important, albeit not always easy, partner.

IMAGO / ABACAPRESS

President Emmanuel Macron prepares for the European elections with new prime minister

Gabriel Attal succeeds Élisabeth Borne.

There had been rumors in Paris for several weeks that there could be a government reshuffle and on 8 January the time had come. Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne submitted the resignation of her government to President Emmanuel Macron. In a message published on X, he thanked the outgoing prime minister and spoke of her "exemplary" work, which had been carried out with "courage". In her letter of resignation, Borne explained that she was not resigning on her own initiative, but had been asked to do so by the President of the Republic. Emmanuel Macron then appointed Gabriel Attal, the former education minister and Macronist from the very beginning, on January 9. At the age of 34, he is the youngest prime minister of the Fifth Republic, having recently been named the most popular politician in French opinion polls and having previously been Macron's government spokesman and education minister in the Borne cabinet.

Government reshuffles are not unusual in France. In his first term of office (2017 - 2022), two prime ministers served under President Emmanuel Macron. After the tense end to 2023 surrounding the reform of the immigration law, Macron wants to calm the political waters within his own majority by appointing Prime Minister Gabriel Attal in the 2024 European election year, which will once again be characterized by a duel between the liberals and the right-wing populist camp in France.

adobeStock / jivimages

Political panorama in Panama four months before the general elections

On 5 May 2024, general elections will be held in Panama every five years.

It is already clear that the population is anxiously and impatiently awaiting these elections, which will be very different from those held in previous years. Their uniqueness lies in the participation of two former presidents of Panama, who are competing for the presidency with six other candidates, regardless of the parties they belonged to during their previous terms in office.

IMAGO / Xinhua

Kuwait Before a Generational Change

A new era might dawn after the death of Emir Nawaf

Following the death of the Emir of Kuwait, a new ruler of almost the same age takes power in the Gulf emirate. The late Sheikh Nawaf ruled only briefly and will go down in history for his reconciliatory efforts with the opposition. The term of his successor Mishal is slated to mark a transition. After it, Kuwait will see a shift that could overcome years of political standstill: the passing of power to a new, younger generation of rulers, which has already taken place elsewhere in the Gulf. Thus, all eyes are already on the selection of the next crown prince. With the sons of the former and new emirs, two promising candidates are in the starting blocks - or will a third one win the race in the end?