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Elections

Togo’s Ruling Party Clinches Overwhelming Victory in Legislative Election

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In Togo’s recent legislative election, President Faure Gnassingbe’s UNIR party has secured a resounding victory, winning 108 out of 113 seats in parliament, as per the final provisional results announced. This sweeping majority follows the controversial approval of constitutional reforms that could potentially extend Gnassingbe’s 19-year rule.

The constitutional amendments, endorsed by the outgoing parliament in March, introduced a shift to a parliamentary system of government, altering the mode of presidential election from universal suffrage to parliamentary selection.

Opposition parties, aiming to challenge the UNIR’s dominance, had hoped to gain ground in the April 29 election. However, their efforts were thwarted as the UNIR maintained its stronghold, leaving the opposition with limited representation in parliament.

The election faced delays due to opposition backlash against the constitutional changes, which critics viewed as a ploy to perpetuate Gnassingbe’s rule indefinitely. Despite unanimous approval of constitutional amendments, concerns persist regarding Gnassingbe’s potential prolonged tenure, with the revised term limits allowing him to remain in power until 2033.

As Togo navigates its political landscape post-election, the substantial victory of the ruling party underscores the enduring influence of President Gnassingbe and his UNIR party, raising questions about the trajectory of democratic governance in the country.

Elections

Chad’s Prime Minister Resigns Amid Controversial Election Results

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Opposition Leader Succes Masra Steps Down Following Confirmation of Deby’s Election Win

In a dramatic turn of events, Chad’s Prime Minister and opposition leader Succes Masra has resigned following the contentious confirmation of interim President Mahamat Idriss Deby’s victory in the May 6 presidential election. Masra, who has been a vocal critic of the ruling junta that seized power in April 2021, announced his resignation on Wednesday, citing deep-seated electoral disputes and the need for political integrity.

Masra’s appointment as Prime Minister in January was initially seen as a conciliatory move by the transitional government to appease the opposition and ensure a smoother path to the polls. However, the disputed election outcome has reignited tensions within the nation’s political landscape.

Deby, who ascended to power after the death of his father, Idriss Deby Itno, in April 2021, has faced ongoing opposition and allegations of undemocratic practices. Masra, a staunch advocate for democratic reforms, has consistently challenged the legitimacy of Deby’s rule and the fairness of the election process.

The resignation of Masra raises significant concerns about Chad’s political stability and the future of its governance. Analysts predict that this development may lead to increased unrest and further complicate efforts to achieve a peaceful political transition.

Masra’s departure underscores the complexities of Chad’s political environment, where power struggles and calls for democratic change continue to shape the nation’s trajectory. As Chad navigates this turbulent period, the international community will be closely monitoring the situation, emphasizing the importance of transparent and fair political processes.

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Sunak and Starmer Gear Up for High-Stakes UK Election Race

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour Leader Keir Starmer Launch Campaigns as July 4 Election Approaches

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour Party leader Keir Starmer are set to kick off their election campaigns on Thursday, following Sunak’s unexpected call for a general election on July 4. This decision, announced amid heavy rain, ended speculation about an autumn election and marks the start of an intense six-week campaign period.

Sunak’s Conservative Party currently trails Labour by approximately 20 percentage points in opinion polls, making this election crucial for his political future. The Prime Minister’s decision to call an early vote is seen as a strategic move to gain momentum and counter Labour’s lead.

Sunak’s announcement caught many by surprise, as political analysts had widely anticipated an election later in the year, either in October or November. However, Sunak’s move indicates his readiness to confront Labour’s Keir Starmer head-on in a bid to secure a renewed mandate from the British electorate.

The upcoming election promises to be highly competitive, with both leaders poised to present their visions for the future of the UK. Sunak will likely focus on his government’s achievements and plans for economic recovery, while Starmer will emphasize Labour’s commitment to social justice and rebuilding public services.

As the campaign trail heats up, voters can expect a flurry of political activity, debates, and rallies as both parties vie for support. The outcome of this election will not only shape the next government but also set the direction for the country at a critical juncture.

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Analysis: Why South Africa’s Opposition May Struggle to Unseat the Ruling ANC

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By Kasim Abdulkadir:

As South Africa gears up for its upcoming election on May 29, all eyes are on the African National Congress (ANC), which for the first time since the end of apartheid faces a genuine threat to its parliamentary majority. However, despite predictions of voter decline and growing dissatisfaction with the ANC’s performance, the opposition parties in South Africa find themselves fragmented and disorganized, which could ultimately hinder their ability to capitalize on the ruling party’s vulnerabilities.

South Africa will mark 30 years of freedom amid inequality, poverty and a tense election ahead

The ANC, which has dominated South African politics since the country’s transition to democracy in 1994, is experiencing a decline in support, with recent opinion polls suggesting a significant drop from its previous 57 percent vote share in the 2019 general elections. Rising unemployment, persistent power crises, and allegations of misgovernance have contributed to this erosion of support, with the ANC’s backing now hovering around 40.2 percent, according to a survey by Ipsos.

While the decline in ANC support might seem like an opportunity for opposition parties to make significant gains, the reality is more complex. Despite the ANC’s faltering popularity, the opposition landscape is characterized by fragmentation, with over 70 political parties and 11 independent candidates vying for seats in the upcoming elections. This fragmentation, coupled with the lack of a unified opposition strategy, poses a formidable challenge to efforts aimed at unseating the ANC.

The main opposition parties, including the Democratic Alliance (DA), Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), and Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), have shown only marginal growth in support, according to recent polls. The DA, traditionally the ANC’s nearest rival, has seen a slight increase in its share of the vote, but neither it nor the other opposition parties have experienced significant growth to pose a credible threat to the ANC’s dominance.

One of the key obstacles facing the opposition is their failure to present a coherent alternative to the ANC. Despite widespread discontent with the ruling party, many voters remain skeptical of the opposition’s ability to govern effectively. The ANC, for its part, has sought to delegitimize the opposition, framing itself as the only viable option for ensuring stability and continuity in South Africa’s political landscape.

Efforts to form a pre-election coalition, such as the Multi-Party Charter (MPC) led by the DA, face significant challenges and are unlikely to substantially alter the electoral calculus. While the MPC aims to block an ANC coalition with the EFF, its prospects of securing a majority remain uncertain, with polls suggesting that support for the coalition falls short of the threshold needed to unseat the ANC.

The emergence of new political actors, such as the uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) party led by former President Jacob Zuma, further complicates the electoral landscape. Zuma’s party, advocating for more radical socialist policies, has attracted support, particularly in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal, further eroding the ANC’s traditional base.

In conclusion, while the ANC’s declining support presents an opportunity for opposition parties to make electoral gains, their fragmented and disorganized nature, coupled with the lack of a coherent alternative vision, may ultimately hinder their ability to unseat the ruling party. As South Africa heads into this critical election, the outcome remains uncertain, but one thing is clear: the ANC’s grip on power is facing its most significant challenge

 

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Elections

Active Clubs: A New Far-Right Threat to Democratic Elections

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By Kasim Abdulkadir:

In recent years, the rise of far-right movements has posed significant challenges to democratic norms and institutions worldwide. However, a new and insidious threat has emerged in the form of “Active Clubs,” clandestine organizations that operate under the guise of promoting civic engagement while actively undermining democratic elections.

The Stealthy Rise of Far-Right Extremism in the Guise of Civic Engagement

In an opinion piece published by Al Jazeera, the author delves into the alarming phenomenon of Active Clubs and their role in eroding democratic principles. These groups, often associated with far-right ideologies, operate under the radar, leveraging social media and grassroots organizing to influence political outcomes.

The author highlights how Active Clubs exploit loopholes in electoral regulations to advance their agenda, employing tactics such as voter intimidation, disinformation campaigns, and targeted harassment of political opponents. By masquerading as legitimate civic organizations, they gain access to vulnerable communities and sow discord, undermining public trust in democratic processes.

Moreover, the article sheds light on the global reach of Active Clubs, illustrating their presence in diverse contexts and their ability to adapt to changing political landscapes. From Europe to North America, these groups exploit societal divisions and capitalize on populist sentiments to further their extremist agenda.

As democratic societies grapple with the challenge of preserving electoral integrity, the author calls for greater vigilance and concerted action to combat the threat posed by Active Clubs. Strengthening electoral safeguards, enhancing transparency in political financing, and promoting media literacy are cited as essential steps in safeguarding democratic elections from covert manipulation.

In conclusion, the article serves as a wake-up call to policymakers, civil society actors, and citizens alike, urging them to confront the rise of Active Clubs and defend the fundamental principles of democracy. By exposing their clandestine activities and resisting their corrosive influence, democratic societies can uphold the integrity of electoral processes and safeguard the rights of all citizens.

Broderick McDonald is an Associate Fellow at Kings College London’s International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) working on countering terrorism, violent extremism, and disinformation

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2024: The Year of Populism – Analyzing the Potential Rise of Populist Movements in Key Elections

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As 2024 unfolds, a looming question hangs over the political landscape: will this be the year of (more) populism? With pivotal elections scheduled in key countries such as the UK, India, the US, Austria, Belgium, and for the European Parliament, the stage is set for a seismic shift in the world of politics.

In recent years, populism has surged, fueled by growing disillusionment with traditional political elites, eroding trust in governments, and widespread dissatisfaction with democratic institutions. Populist parties, both on the right and left of the political spectrum, have capitalized on these sentiments, making significant gains in polls and electoral breakthroughs.

But what lies ahead for populism in 2024? Will we witness the continued rise of previously fringe candidates, catapulting them into mainstream politics? The outcome of the US election, particularly whether Donald Trump emerges victorious or not, is poised to have ripple effects on global politics, potentially emboldening or dampening populist movements.

Moreover, the direction of politics in Europe and beyond remains uncertain. Will there be a shift towards the left or right, or will populist sentiments continue to shape the political landscape? Understanding the demographic groups that resonate most with populist messages is crucial in deciphering their electoral appeal and potential impact.

Amidst these uncertainties, a pressing question emerges: how can we restore faith in democratic representation and safeguard democracy from the threats posed by populist movements? Addressing the underlying grievances that fuel populism, fostering transparency, accountability, and inclusivity in governance, and engaging in meaningful dialogue with disillusioned voters are essential steps towards fortifying democratic institutions.

As the world braces for the political upheavals of 2024, the resurgence of populism poses both challenges and opportunities for the future of democracy. Navigating these turbulent waters requires a nuanced understanding of the underlying dynamics driving populist movements and a concerted effort to uphold the principles of democratic governance.

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EDITORIAL

Embracing the Underdog Spirit: A Call for Abdulahi Darawal and All Those Denied

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Defying Odds, Challenging Expectations, and Seizing Dreams in Somaliland’s Political Arena

BY SANCAANI III:

To those who have known the sting of rejection, the weight of discrimination, and the agony of being denied a seat at the table, this message is for you. It’s for the fighters, the dreamers, and the relentless souls who refuse to be confined by society’s limitations. Today, we stand with Abdulahi IIman Darawal, the embodiment of resilience and determination, as he charts a path forward despite the obstacles in his way.

Abdulahi IIman Darawal, the chairman of the Horseed political party, has faced a relentless barrage of discrimination since 2012. But his journey is not defined by the setbacks he has encountered; rather, it is a testament to the indomitable spirit of the underdog, the unwavering belief that greatness can be achieved against all odds.

For those who have been written off, misunderstood, and told they wouldn’t make it, Darawal’s story serves as a beacon of hope. It’s a reminder that adversity is not a barrier to success but a catalyst for greatness. In the face of doubt and fear, Darawal has remained steadfast in his pursuit of a better future for Somaliland.

As an underdog, Darawal has been told he’s not enough, that he’s too small, too slow, too inexperienced. But therein lies the beauty of being an underdog – there’s nothing to lose, only everything to gain. Every setback, every rejection, fuels the fire within, propelling Darawal forward on his quest for change.

The underdog mentality is not a disadvantage; it’s a source of strength. It’s about turning setbacks into fuel, using adversity as a stepping stone to greatness. Darawal’s journey mirrors that of some of the most successful individuals in the world – those who started from nothing, overlooked and underestimated, but rose to the top through sheer determination and resilience.

In the face of discrimination and adversity, Darawal stands tall, armed with nothing but his dreams and his unwavering determination. He refuses to let setbacks define him, to let others’ opinions shape his reality. Instead, he harnesses the power of the underdog mentality – the hunger, the drive, the willingness to do whatever it takes to achieve his dreams.

To Abdulahi IIman Darawal and all those who have been overlooked, underestimated, and counted out, remember this: the underdog always has the advantage because they’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. It’s time to embrace the underdog mentality, to climb that hill, to prove everyone wrong, and to show the world what you’re made of.

In the face of adversity, in the face of everyone who said you couldn’t, arm yourself with the underdog spirit and unleash your full potential. Abdulahi IIman Darawal, and all those denied, the time is now to seize your dreams, defy expectations, and write your own destiny. The world is waiting – go out there and claim what’s rightfully yours.

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