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IMAGO / Pond5 Images

European assistance for crisis-ridden Lebanon

Lebanese and international criticism of the EU's new aid package is exaggerated

The EU's new support program for Lebanon expands on its previous commitment to the cedar state. In addition to supporting the provision of basic services (health, education, etc.) for people in need, the EU also wants to focus more on security and migration management. Since the agreement was widely portrayed in Europe and Lebanon as a kind of “refugee deal” to keep migrations away from European shores, the offer was met with rejection in Lebanon's heated domestic political climate. The country considers itself overwhelmed by the presence of 1.5 million Syrian refugees. If the program is implemented properly, it can help Lebanon deal with its economic and social problems and contributes to the strengthening of the Lebanese Armed Forces, one of the few still functioning governmental institutions.

IMAGO / Photo News

Political polarization characterizes Belgium ahead of the elections

Wahlkampf im Lichte der EU-Ratspräsidentschaft

Am 9. Juni 2024 wird in Belgien gewählt – und zwar auf drei Ebenen: europäisch, national und regional[1]. Vor dem Hintergrund der im Juni endenden belgischen EU-Ratspräsidentschaft stellt sich die Frage, wo das Land einen Monat vor diesem Wahlmarathon steht. Aktuelle Umfragen deuten auf eine Polarisierung der Wählerschaft hin, die Prognosen für eine Regierungsbildung erschweren.

IMAGO / Newscom / Singapore Press Holdings

Change of leadership in Singapore

Lawrence Wong takes over as Prime Minister from Lee Hsieng Loong

On May 15, former Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong (51) will take over the reins of government in the island republic of Singapore. He succeeds Lee Hsieng Loong (72), who has led the city state since 2004, as only the fourth head of government in the country's almost sixty-year history since its founding in 1965. The handover of office has been prepared for a long time. Lee had already announced his intention to step down as Prime Minister in 2022. On 5 November last year, he made it clear that he would hand over his office to his deputy Lawrence Wong in November 2024 at the latest. In mid-April, the surprising announcement was made that Wong would be sworn in as the new prime minister on 15 May. The handover of office to Lawrence Wong, who is twenty years younger, marks the start of a generational change. Lee Hsieng Loong, the eldest son of state founder Lee Kuan Yew, is retiring from the front row of politics. Lee will nevertheless remain in the government cabinet in an advisory capacity as Senior Minister.

IMAGO / SOPA Images

Local Elections with National Impact

The beginning of damage control for the British Conservatives?

The recent local elections have unsurprisingly not provided the Conservative Party with a promising foundation for the upcoming parliamentary elections. They suffered significant losses in large parts of England. In only one of eleven major city regions will a Tory mayor operate in the future. In nationwide polls, the opposition Labour Party ranks a whopping 20 percentage points ahead of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's party. Is there still hope for the British Conservatives, or is it now just about damage control?

KAS Frankreich

80 years of D-Day

Looking backward and looking forward to French, European and Franco-German remembrance culture

8 May is a public holiday in France. It commemorates the day of the ceasefire of the Second World War and the surrender of Nazi Germany. France is already preparing for important anniversaries in the context of the Second World War, which will be commemorated this year and next year, and which will take on a new dimension in view of the war of aggression against Ukraine. France prepares with the government's organisational unit "Mission de la Liberation" to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day on 6 June 2024. 150,000 Allied soldiers from the USA, Great Britain, Canada, France, Poland, New Zealand, and other countries landed in Normandy on this day in 1944 to liberate France from Nazi rule. It was the beginning of a gigantic military operation, "Operation Overlord", which heralded the end of the Second World War. 8 Mai 2025 will mark the 80th anniversary of the surrender.

The former warring parties still commemorate D-Day today. The celebrations to mark the major anniversaries have long since achieved the status of high-ranking political and diplomatic meetings. Although the battle of 6 June is one of many in the Second World War, there is no other that has so quickly attained the status of an epic. Nevertheless, the way in which the nations involved look back on this battle differs and the interpretation of the events of the Second World War has changed again and again over the years.

Today, two years after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the topic of war is once again present in Europe after a long time and dominates political discourse in Germany and France. At the same time, there are hardly any contemporary witnesses left who can report on the Second World War. What does it mean to remember D-Day in this context? And what role do Germany and France play in the European politics of remembrance?

IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

Mexico ahead of the election

Problems and challenges

Presidential and parliamentary elections will be held in Mexico on June 2, 2024. Thousands of political offices will also be up for grabs at state and municipal level. Overall, these are the largest elections in the history of the world's largest Spanish-speaking country - and the stakes are correspondingly high. Claudia Sheinbaum (MORENA), the candidate chosen by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO for short) from the left-wing populist government camp, is currently leading relatively clearly in most published polls, while her rival Xóchitl Gálvez (PAN), who is running for a coalition of three opposition parties and civil society organizations, has made up some ground in recent weeks, but is not yet within striking distance. One thing is clear, however: Mexico will be ruled by a woman as head of state for the first time from October. There are hardly any other certainties, however, and internal security is under great pressure. Since the start of the election campaign, elected representatives and candidates have been murdered on the streets or attacked during campaign appearances. The local and national security forces are barely able to put a stop to the perfidious attacks by organized cartel criminals. While the nationwide election of almost 21,000 offices and the prospect of a female president actually symbolize Mexico's great progress as a democratic society, the country continues to struggle against considerable structural problems.

KAS / Dambisa Dube

South Africa before the elections

New hope at the Cape?

On May 29, 2024, elections will be held in South Africa for the national assembly and all provincial parliaments. After years of economic decline, the country is in urgent need of a new direction. Polls suggest that Nelson Mandela's party, the ANC, will fall short of an ab-solute majority at national level for the first time since the end of apartheid in 1994 and will rely on coalition partners to form a government. At the same time, the South African party spectrum is becoming increasingly fragmented, which also means more competition to pro-vide better solutions to the country's numerous challenges. Against this backdrop, the con-stellation in which South Africa will be governed in the future is uncertain, as various sce-narios are conceivable following the outcome of the elections.

Adobe Stock / Sir_Oliver

„Just not that the constitution protection authorities ring my doorbell“

The spread of right-wing and left-wing extremist attitudes in Germany

This study uses a representative survey to analyse three questions: How widespread are attitudes that belong to general extremism or to left-wing or right-wing extremist ideology? How many people support ideas from several extremisms? To what extent do attitudes close to one extremism occur together with other attitudes (including trust in institutions, anti-Zionism and conspiracy theory)?

IMAGO / Xinhua

Elections in Panama: The new president is José Mulino

Realzando Metas party candidate wins with over 34 percent

On May 5, three million Panamanians were called upon to elect the next President and Vice-President, 71 deputies to the National Assembly (Asamblea Nacional - AN), 20 deputies to the Central American Parliament (Parlacen), 81 mayors, 701 representatives of the governing districts and 11 councils of Panama City, as well as their respective deputies, for the next five years. Eight candidates have been approved by the Tribunal Electoral (TE) to run for president and have been vying for voters' favor since February 3, 2024. In the end, José Raúl Mulino Quintero of the Realizando Metas party won 34.36 percent of the vote on May 5 and will take over the presidency of Panama on July 4 of this year.

Imago / ZUMA Wire

Rome's perspective on the Gaza war

A diplomatic balancing act on both sides of the Tiber

The Gaza war poses a dilemma for two centers of power in Rome: Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's government, with its clear pro-Israel stance, is out of step with the majority of society for the first time since taking office. The longer the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip continue and the humanitarian situation worsens, the more sympathy there is for the Palestinian side. The Holy See, which traditionally sees itself as the protector of Arab Christians and guardian of biblical sites, is increasingly distancing itself from the Netanyahu government. However, there are deeper reasons for this. The difficult situation in the Holy Land poses challenges for both sides. An analysis.

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