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IMAGO / Agencia Prensa-Independiente

Decision on the political direction of Ecuador: Daniel Noboa becomes the new President

Center-right candidate Daniel Noboa, hopeful for a new political course, wins runoff election

On the election day of October 15, 2023, the young entrepreneur Daniel Noboa won 51.84 % of the votes with his non-confrontational appearance. In the extraordinary runoff election for the presidency, the majority of Ecuadorians voted against Luisa Gonzaléz, a candidate who stands for socialism of the XXI century and is considered a close confidant of Rafael Correa, who received 48.16 % of the vote. This is the third time in a row that Correísmo has lost presidential elections in a runoff. Noboa represents a course that seeks to free the population from the "Correísmo-Anti-Correísmo" scheme that has long paralyzed the country. However, the elect and soon-to-be Latin America's youngest president must reckon with powerful headwinds. For he faces a National Assembly that is dominated by deputies loyal to the Correa camp. In addition, the budget deficit at the end of the year will amount to four percent of gross domestic product and will probably put the brakes on many projects. Another complicating factor is that regular parliamentary and presidential elections are scheduled for May 2025, so the window of opportunity for implementing political measures is extremely limited.

IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

Guatemalans fight for their democracy

Large parts of the country and the capital paralyzed in Guatemala

Guatemala cannot rest easy. Following Bernardo Arévalo's surprising success in the first round of the Guatemalan presidential elections and his convincing victory in the runoff elections on August 20, tensions are intensifying. Influential forces are doing everything they can to prevent the president-elect from taking power on January 14, 2024. The Guatemalan population is resisting this "coup d'état on the quiet" (Arévalo) more strongly by the day. Since the weekend, large parts of the country and the capital have been paralyzed. There is no end in sight to this power struggle.

picture alliance/dpa | Fabian Sommer

Attack on Israel

Hamas attack shakes the Jewish state and raises questions about the country's security and future.

In the early morning hours of October 7, Hamas launched massive rocket attacks on Israel and simultaneously attacked the Jewish state on other fronts, on the ground and at sea - an unprecedented, concerted and targeted act of violence. Israel was surprised not only by the frequency of the rocket attacks, but also by the brutality of the attacks on the ground, which revealed an entirely new dimension. Terrorists were able to penetrate the heavily secured border fence around the Gaza Strip into Israeli localities in the border area, and there were numerous hostage-takings of soldiers and civilians and kidnappings of Israelis in the Gaza Strip.

IMAGO / UPI Photo

Busy Week at the East River

Ukraine, SDGs, climate change, and financing for development: The High-Level Week in New York showed the urgent need for reform and action to restore trust in multilateral solutions.

The High-level Week of the 78th UN General Assembly (UNGA78) unfolded amid a fraught backdrop of converging conflicts and crises, including an ongoing war, stalled development gains, and escalating climate change. Russia’s war in Ukraine and the UN’s inability to end it has struck a blow to the multilateral system, undermining its credibility. A multi-trillion dollar financing gap threatens hard-won progress towards the 2030 Agenda and the promise of a better, sustainable future for all. Meanwhile, the climate crisis—the existential threat of our time—steadily worsens in the absence of bold policies and initiatives.

Effective multilateral solutions to these global challenges are needed more than ever. However, in a time of deepening geopolitical division, the global community is struggling to respond to the urgency of the moment with the requisite political will and ambition. Drawing from the High-level Week discussions, this report will examine three of the most-pressing challenges for the UN system, underscoring where multilateral action has fallen short, where progress—however incremental—has been made, and what further steps are needed.

IMAGO / Scanpix

Crisis Cabinet Kallas III

Government Standstill in Estonia

With a "landslide victory," internationally popular Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas secured a third term in March. But Estonia's growing national debt is forcing the ruling center-left coalition to take unpopular measures. The resulting dispute between the government and the opposition has already paralyzed parliamentary work to such an extent that the government can only get laws through the Riigikogu (Estonian parliament) by means of votes of no confidence. Just when mediation seems possible, it becomes public that the husband of the "Russia hardliner" Kallas maintains business relations with Russia. The Estonian parliament is stuck in a deadlock with unattractive ways out. The Christian conservative Isamaa benefits from strength of content and is at an eight-year high.

IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

McCarthy voted out - what next?

U.S. press comments on the historic recall of the Speaker of the House of Representatives

For the first time in U.S. history, a Speaker of the House of Representatives was voted out of office: Kevin McCarthy lost the post, eight members of his Republican caucus and all 208 Democrats present voted against him.

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.

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