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IMAGO / NurPhoto

Guatemala has voted: Surprises and messages

Guatemalans cause historic runoff: two leftist parties fight for the presidency

Elections were held in Guatemala on 25 June: The President of the Republic, the Congress, 340 mayors and municipal councillors as well as the members of the Central American Parliament (Parlacen). Since none of the presidential candidates achieved an absolute majority, the second round will take place on 20 August. The second round of voting will take place on 20 August, but not in the constellation predicted by the polls. For the first time in Guatemala's democratic history, candidates from two parties belonging to the moderate left-wing spectrum, Sandra Torres (UNE) and Bernardo Arévalo (SEMILLA), are standing in the run-off. While a number of detailed results for the congressional and municipal elections are still awaited, one thing is clear: these elections have provided some surprises, contain a clear message to the political class as a whole and ensure two more exciting months before the 2nd round of elections.


Genome Editing: An important tool in our agriculture toolbox

Interview with Dr. Oliver Vogt MdB: The importance of new breeding techniques for the future of agriculture from a political perspective

In July 2023, the European Commission is expected to present a revised directive on genetically modified plants. The new breeding techniques have so far been classified as genetically modified organisms (GMOs) by the ECJ ruling from 2018 and regulated accordingly. Why should the new breeding techniques be removed from the strict GMO definition? Can these techniques make an important contribution to sustainable agriculture?

IMAGO / Le Pictorium

The Blue Helmet Mission in Mali is facing its end

Further aggravation of the security crisis in the Sahel

Mali has asked the U.N. Peacekeeping mission in the West African country to leave. The military government is focusing on its partnership with Russia to battle jihadists. While the army has regained some territory with the help of Russian mercenaries and Russian-made helicopters central Mali, a hotspot of violence, but is unable to keep territory.

Imago / AAP

Timor-Leste at a crossroads

Old challenges for a new government

On June 26, Timorese President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate José Ramos-Horta will come to Germany to meet with Chancellor Scholz and President Steinmeier. Ramos-Horta is traveling at a crucial time for Timor-Leste. The small country is the most stable democracy in Southeast Asia, but it is also facing an economic precipice. Additionally, it is increasingly at risk of being caught between the geopolitical fronts in the Indo-Pacific.

IMAGO / APAimages

Turkey after the elections

May makes everything new?

In the run-off elections of the Turkish presidential elections on 28 May, incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdoğan won against challenger Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, after the People's Alliance led by his AK Party had already won the majority in the Turkish parliament. When the old, new president presented the cabinet for the 28th legislative term on 3 June, the selection of the appointed ministers caused a stir. The current country report takes a look at announced steps and planned projects of the new government, then introduces some of the members of the new cabinet and analyses tendencies and trends for the coming period.

Adobe Stock / Dzmitry

Conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan: Peace Agreement in Sight?

Under Western mediation, Armenia and Azerbaijan are moving closer to a historic peace treaty. But the road to an agreement remains rocky, the security situation fragile.

Washington, Brussels, Chișinău, Moscow - the variety of places where high-ranking representatives of Armenia and Azerbaijan have met for diplomatic talks in recent weeks symbolizes the geopolitical importance, but also the explosive nature of the ongoing peace process. Weakened by its war of aggression in Ukraine, Russia's traditional influence as a "spoiler" of a sustainable peace between the two Caucasus republics is waning. For the West, and especially for the European Union, this opens up new opportunities to distinguish itself as a political and security stakeholder in the South Caucasus.

IMAGO / Panthermedia

No increased risk: Genome editing in plant breeding

Interview with Professor Ralph Bock: Arguments from a scientific perspective against restrictive regulation of genome editing

Genome editing is a novel method for precisely modifying DNA. It is well established in basic molecular biology research. It can also make a significant contribution in applications such as plant breeding. Plant varieties bred with the aid of genome editing cannot be distinguished from conventionally bred varieties, if no foreign genes are introduced. Nor is their risk potential increased. Therefore, it does not make sense to restrictively regulate genome editing under EU genetic engineering law.

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.

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.

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.

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