European politics has been increasingly influenced by leaders promoting anti-European messages. Hungary, as the prime example of such rhetoric, is on the brink of slowly eroding its democracy. Prime Minister Orbán and his government are destructing the rule of law, dismantling constitutional checks and balances, buying up or closing down free media and threatening academic freedom. The liberty and freedom of not only Hungarians is at stake, but other Member States and the progress of European integration is as well.
Recently, Sweden has been marked by a heatwave causing major forest fires that even called European countries to come to aid. Domestically, the fires influenced the ongoing election campaign quite significantly. Other hotly debated issues were migration and violent crime.
Centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron won the second round of the French presidential election against Front National’s Marine Le Pen with 66.1% of the votes. The political differences of the two candidates couldn’t be more distinct. On the one hand Macron, who originates from the liberal left and seeks more European integration to resolve the current issues of both France and the European Union. On the other hand Le Pen, a right-wing and Euro-sceptic politician that wants to dismantle the European project and establish protectionist policies in the French Republic. Where Macron and his political movement stand and whether they can unite the French people again was thus up for debate at the Liberal Breakfast the Monday morning after the presidential election at the ALDE Party Headquarters in Brussels.
Pünktlich zu den Frühstücksnachrichten stand das Wahlergebnis fest und ungläubig starrten vielerorts Europäer auf ihr Smartphone oder den Fernsehbildschirm. Was keiner so richtig erwartet hatte oder wollte, war plötzlich Realität – Donald Trump als neuer Präsident der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika. Dabei hatte der Kontinent erst im Juni einen ähnlichen Morgen erlebt, als man in Brüssel, Berlin, Paris und Warschau zum Brexit aufgewacht war.
Venue: Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom Avenue de Cortenbergh 71, 1000 Brussels
About the event
South Africa is going through turbulent times. Earlier this year, the Constitutional Court of South Africa found that President Jacob Zuma had violated his oath of office when he failed to pay for upgrades to his private residence out of his own pocket as required by law.
The country has also been witnessing something akin to a public war between President Zuma and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, with seemingly baseless criminal charges laid against Gordhan. The most recent scandal to make headlines is that South Africa has begun a withdrawal process from the International Criminal Court.
Added to this backdrop are burning universities due to violent student protests, youth unemployment hovering at over 60% and a GDP growth forecast of 0.1%.
Can South Africa’s democratic institutions weather the storms they have been facing and continue to face? Can they survive to enable a democratic handing over of power in one of the next national elections? And on this note, have the August 2016 local government elections changed South
Africa’s political landscape?
Lindiwe Mazibuko gives us her take.
Hans H. Stein
Director, European and Transatlantic Dialogue, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom
Former Parliamentary Leader of the Democratic Alliance (Official Opposition),
Public speaker, writer, mentor, South Africa
Head of Research and Advocacy Projects, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, South Africa
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Auf einmal ging es doch und dazu noch ganz schnell: Bereits im ersten Wahlgang der dritten Etappe der prozedural komplizierten Wahl des estnischen Staatsoberhaupts wurde Kersti Kaljulaid zur neuen Präsidentin des Landes gewählt. Einen Gegenkandidaten hatte Kaljulaid nicht, weil sich im Vorfeld des Votums die Mehrheit der Parteien auf ihre Unterstützung geeinigt hatte. Die Entscheidung ist in mehrfacher Hinsicht bemerkenswert.