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Ecuador: Muerte Cruzada Keeps President Guillermo Lasso in Office

By using the controversial but constitutional tool of muerte cruzada, President Lasso avoids imminent impeachment and provokes dissolution of Ecuador's National Assembly.

In the early morning of 17 May 2023, shortly before the end of his second year in office and in the context of impeachment proceedings against him for alleged involvement in an embezzlement scandal, President Guillermo Lasso dissolved the Ecuadorian National Assembly by Executive Decree No. 741 due to "a serious political crisis and internal unrest". In the background is a power struggle between the executive and the legislature that has been raging since he took office and which severely limits the governability of the country. The National Electoral Council (CNE) must now set a date for new elections for the presidency and the National Assembly, which must be within a maximum period of six months.

Xlionheartx / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

Spiral of violence in Costa Rica

No end in sight?

2022 was the most violent year in Costa Rica's history. The number of homicides reached a record 656, which corresponds to a murder rate of 12.6 per 100,000 inhabitants, twelve percent higher than the previous year. In comparison, Germany recorded a homicide rate of 0.25 in 2022. It is to be feared that the increase in violent crimes is a longer-term trend that is far from having reached its peak. This year, the number of killings is already 43 per cent higher than last year. Experts fear that homicides will rise to 900 by the end of 2023. What is the reason for this surprising development in the Central American showcase country Costa Rica?

memento_jpeg/ Adobe Stock

The quality of early childhood education is what counts

Pedagogical quality of early childhood education as central factor for educational equality

In recent years, early childhood education has experienced a strong quantitative expansion, which must be continued. The pedagogical quality of early childhood education is central to children's development and their further educational progress. It is a decisive factor for educational equality that can be controlled by educational policy. A monitoring system for the collection and evaluation of current data is necessary in order to shape educational policy, the actions of the institutions and the pedagogical work on site in an even more targeted and empirically sound manner.

Adobe Stock / Seventyfour

Perspectives in science: On the question of good working conditions for doctoral students & postdocs

Interview with Prof. Dr. Björn Schumacher: What framework conditions do scientists need in early career phases?

Improving the prospects for scientists in early career phases is an important political task - with consequences not only for young scientists themselves, but for the science system as a whole. There are already many contributions to the discussion, especially from the perspective of young scientists, associations and the management levels of affected institutions. But how do reputable scientists who are actively involved in research assess the working conditions and prospects of doctoral students and postdocs?

EneasMx / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Mexico Update 2023

Election campaign temperature rises, political debate comes to a head

One year before the 2024 presidential elections, campaign fever is rising dramatically in Mexico, while at the same time democratic institutions and the rule of law are coming under increasing pressure. At the centre of the political discussion in the country is the question of the succession to the incumbent Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), who continues to be very popular with the people, and the potential candidates from his party MORENA as well as from the opposition and the positioning associated with them. In the process, political polarisation continues to increase and the democratic rules and principles of democracy are increasingly being undermined or openly disregarded.

IMAGO / NurPhoto

Clear shift to the right in Chile's constitutional council election

Another setback for the government of Gabriel Boric

Last Sunday, Chileans were once again called to the polls. Fifty representatives of the people were elected, who will spend the next five months revising the draft constitution prepared in advance by the commission of experts and then vote on it.

Government formations in Bosnia and Herzegovina through new coalitions

New parties taking responsibilty in the government

208 days after the elections on October 2, 2022, the governments in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) are in office at the state level and in the entities Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) and Republika Srpska (RS). While the process of forming a government in the state as a whole and in the RS ran smoothly, the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina Christian Schmidt had to make use of the so-called "Bonn Powers" again, after using them for the electoral law change on election night, to break the blockade in the appointment of the Prime Minister of the FBiH and end his government.

On October 02, 2022, the voters elected the three-member state presidency, a chamber of the state parliament (House of Representatives), the president and the national assembly of the entity Republika Srpska and the second chamber of the entity parliament as well as the assemblies of the ten cantons in the entity FBiH and in the self-governing district of Brčko. From now on Denis Bećirović (SDP), Željko Komšić (DF) and Željka Cvijanović (SNSD) form the state presidency. Bećirović and Cvijanović were elected to the state presidency for the first time. The formation and election of the members of the second chamber (House of Nations) of the parliament of the FBiH took place only after the elections by the parliaments of the 10 cantons. This is what the electoral law change implemented by the High Representative referred to. The Central Election Commission (CIK) provides a detailed overview of all election results on the Internet.

IMAGO / NurPhoto

Why Charles III will not also be Charles the Last for Canada

Despite Canadians' discomfort with the monarchy and their British king: for now, the crown is not replaceable

On May 2, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau became the target of an unusual attack. During Question Period of the Canadian House of Commons, Rhéal Éloi Fortin, a member of the opposition Bloc Québécois (BC) from the French-speaking part of Canada, expressed his disapproval of the Prime Minister's participation in the coronation of Charles III on May 6 in London. Trudeau had therefore specially adjusted his schedule and left the concurrent party convention of his governing Liberals only after the first day, May 4, in order to arrive in Europe on time. "He could have sent someone in his place, such as a minister, but his priority is to prostrate himself before the king," Fortin shouted loudly into the chamber. By then, however, Trudeau had already left it, and his Canadian Heritage Minister had to fend off the attack. True, as a regional party, the BC has traditionally been anti-British and anti-monarchist - as early as the 18th century, France had to cede large parts of its Canadian possessions to Great Britain. But Fortin's contribution, placed specifically at the start of Coronation Week in Great Britain, tapped into a currently quite measurable antipathy throughout Canada toward the British monarchy and its still authoritative role in the country.


Parliamentary Elections in Greece

Stability or Deadlock?

On May 21, 2023, Greece is going to elect a new Parliament. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has asked the President to dissolve the Vouli at the end of his 4-year term. There is a good chance that Mitsotakis will remain Prime Minister and be able to stay his course of stability, progress and growth; but opposition leader Tsipras is also trying to form a possible coalition of up to four parties. However, due to the changed electoral law and some uncertainties, a second ballot will very likely be necessary before a new government is formed.

KAS / Carmen Ramírez

Paraguay's political power machine keeps on running

In the elections, the "Colorados" maintain their political dominance in the South American landlocked country

Paraguay's voters have given the clietelistic-conservative Colorado Party an outright victory. Its candidate Santiago Peña was not only newly elected to the presidency with a clear majority, but can also count on an absolute majority in both chambers of parliament in the future. While a right-wing anti-establishment candidate performed surprisingly well, the political left and also the center are the big losers of these elections. The most important challenge facing the young new head of state will be to fulfill his promise of political renewal. His closeness to the former head of state Horacio Cartés, who has been accused of corruption, is his blind spot in this regard.