DG Roundup: September 25 – October 1, 2013

Oct. 1, 2013, 3:19 p.m.

DG Roundup is ElectionGuide.org’s newest feature. Once a week, DG Roundup will give an overview of developments in democracy and governance from around the world.


Maldives:  Workers in the Maldivian tourism industry are threatening to strike if the second round of the nation’s presidential election is delayed. The run-off election pits Mohamed NASHEED, a former President and human rights activist, against Abdulla YAMEEN, a half-brother of the country’s former dictator. The country’s Supreme Court ruled that the second round of voting cannot be held until irregularities in the first round are fully investigated. However, many claim that the Supreme Court judges retain ties to the old authoritarian regime and have ruled with political motives. Meanwhile, the election commission has ruled that there was no vote rigging and urged the election to go ahead as scheduled. The island nation relies heavily on its tourism industry: the country of 350,000 is estimated to receive around 700,000 tourists this year.


Mauritania: Talks have begun between the government of Mauritania and the Coordination of Democratic Opposition (COD), a coalition of ten opposition parties, aiming to reschedule the parliamentary elections for November. The elections, which have been delayed six times over the past two years, were planned for October but were derailed yet again when the opposition expressed its intent to boycott. The COD has long expressed its opposition to President Mohamed Ould ABDEL AZIZ, who gained power through a military coup in 2008, and has persistently called for the formation of a new government.


Tunisia:  The ruling Ennahda Party has agreed to step down after months of political tensions in Tunisia. Many in the historically-secular country accuse Ennahda of imposing its Islamist agenda on the country. An agreement between the government and the opposition, brokered by the powerful UGTT labor union, provides for three weeks of negotiations, after which the party will step down and an interim administration will take over. Tunisia’s democratic transition is often seen as the most stable of the post-Arab Spring countries, yet the nation still struggles with defining the role of Islam in the new state.


Turkey: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ERDOGAN unveiled a new package of reforms on Monday, aimed at increasing the level of democracy in Turkey. The reforms are mostly aimed at furthering the peace process with the country’s Kurdish population, including electoral changes that would make it easier for the Kurdish party to gain representation, decriminalizing the Kurdish language and allowing it to be taught in private schools, and making the nationalist pledge in public schools optional. However, initial reactions by the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party have indicated that many Kurds see the reforms as inadequate and that they may not reverse the current impasse in the peace process.


(Image Credit: theguardian.com)

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