Oct. 29, 2013, 1:02 p.m.
Argentina: President Cristina Fernandez de KIRCHNER’s Front for Victory coalition was dealt a major blow in Sunday’s legislative elections. While the Front for Victory retains a majority in both chambers of parliament, its poor turnout and falling approval ratings reflect widespread frustration with corruption, inflation, and crime in the country. Many believe that Sergio MASSA, whose Renewal Front list won by a large margin in Buenos Aires province, is now better positioned to run for president in 2015, especially given that KIRCHNER no longer has the two-thirds majority that would be needed to amend the constitution and run for a third term.
Croatia: A parliamentary commission has approved a popular referendum that would define marriage as between a man and a woman to eliminate the possibility of legalizing same-sex marriage in Croatia. The decision comes after a coalition of conservative groups presented parliament with the number of signatures required to prompt a national referendum. However, even if the referendum passes, the parliament will still have to vote on any potential legislation on the subject.
Georgia: Giorgi MARGVELASHVILI has won the Georgian presidential election held on 27 October with 62% of the vote. MARGVELASHVILI belongs to current Prime Minister Bidzina IVANISHVILI’s Georgian Dream party and will replace outgoing President Mikheil SAAKASHVILI, from the rival United National Movement. SAAKASHVILI’s controversial presidency prompted the parliament to pass constitutional reforms toward a more parliamentary system, which will go into effect when MARGVELASHVILI takes office.
South Sudan: Members of the Ngok Dinka tribe in the disputed border territory of Abyei held a unilateral referendum on 27-29 October on whether or not to become part of South Sudan. While a referendum in Abyei was supposed to take place alongside the referendum in 2011 that led to the creation of South Sudan, the Sudanese and South Sudanese were unable to come to an agreement over whether the Misseriya, a group of nomads sympathetic to Sudan, should be eligible to vote. Oil-rich Abyei has long been a hotspot for border violence between Sudanese government forces and South Sudanese rebel groups. Though a tenuous ceasefire overseen by UN peacekeepers has temporarily stemmed the violence, observers are worried that the referendum could reignite ethnic tension. The Ngok Dinka community, which forms a majority of Abyei’s permanent residents, is ethnically aligned with South Sudan and is expected to vote in favor of joining the new state, but it remains to be seen how the two governments will respond to the outcome.
(Image Credit: english.ahrham.org.eg)