Colombia’s left not wanted in politics

The former mayor of Bogotá Gustavo Petro. He was kicked out of office on 20 March 2014. (c) Wikipedia

It was like a telenovela, a Colombian soap opera. The fight between the mayor of Bogotá and the country’s powerful inspector general has dominated the headlines in Colombia since early December 2013. It was, as the New York Times put it, “an absurdist drama in which two actors alternately fascinate and irritate their audience with squabbling, philosophizing and the occasional kick in the pants.” On 20 March 2014, however, the leftist mayor was removed from office by Colombia’s president and is barred from public office for 15 years. This decision has not only an impact on local politics in Colombia’s capital but also on the peace process on Cuba between the Colombian government and the FARC. Continue reading “Colombia’s left not wanted in politics”

Democracy in the EU: The ECI is not quite there yet

Water is precious and EU citizens fear that it might be privatized. (c) pixabay.com

The European Commission (EC) published a 17-page communication on 19 March 2014 to give its response to the first successful European Citizens Initiative (ECI). An ECI is an instrument of direct democracy that was introduced thanks to the Lisbon Treaty. It allows EU citizens to collect one million signatures in at least seven member states on an issue during a certain time period and when successful to propose new legislation. ECI’s should be one mean to fill the gap of the “democratic deficit” in the EU. The first successful ECI called Right2Water was officially submitted to the EC by its organizers on 20 December 2013 and the Commission had three months to respond to the 1.66 million people who signed the initiative. Continue reading “Democracy in the EU: The ECI is not quite there yet”

Serbian “savior” won elections but difficult times ahead

The big winner: Aleksandar Vucic is the new prime minister of Serbia after gaining a majority in the parliament elections. (c) Wikipedia

It did not come as a surprise. The new prime minister of Serbia is popular, smart and charismatic. Aleksander Vucic, the new superhero of Serbian politics, received some 49% in the parliament elections on Sunday. His center-right progressive party (SNS) won thereby a majority in parliament with 158 seats (and more than doubled its representation up from 73) in Serbia’s 10th elections after the re-introduction of multiparty introduction in Serbia in 1990. Continue reading “Serbian “savior” won elections but difficult times ahead”

Colombia on the crossroads after parliamentary elections

Voto en blanco (c) commons.wikipedia.org
The actual "winner" of the elections are the 63% who did not vote for a party. (c) commons.wikipedia.org
The actual “winner” of the elections are the 72% who did not vote for a party. (c) commons.wikipedia.org

It was an exciting race in front of the screen. On Sunday, 32.8 million Colombians had to the chance to head to the polls to elect the lower and upper house of parliament. Colombian commentators declared ex-president Álvaro Uribe as the winner of the elections with his newly created party Centro Democrático gained 14.3% although his success might have been too little to stop the peace process with the FARC.
Continue reading “Colombia on the crossroads after parliamentary elections”

Colombians heading to the polls on Sunday

Álvoro Uribe is a decisive figure of these elections. The peace process with the FARC guerilla might be undermined when he will the elections. (c) Wikipedia

33 million Colombians are eligible to vote for the lower and upper house of parliament tomorrow on Sunday (9 March 2014). The vote can be seen as a referendum on the ongoing peace talks with the “leftist” FARC guerrillas on Cuba but it will be an important trial run for the presidential vote on 25 May later this year. Unfortunately, also this year around the government cannot guarantee free and fair elections all over the country. Continue reading “Colombians heading to the polls on Sunday”