Colombia: Why Santos has such a hard time to be re-elected

Santos (c)

Imagine an election where you have candidates to chose from but you have no idea whom to vote for. Colombia’s presidential elections are just 10 days to go, and yet my (liberal and probably rather left-leaning) friends in Bogotá say that they have no clue whom they should vote for on 25 May. According to the latest polls, it is not clear if current president Juan Manuel Santos (62) will be re-elected, for sure he is not going to make in the first round. Continue reading “Colombia: Why Santos has such a hard time to be re-elected”


“I want the United States of Europe”

Stefan Windberger in a discussion on science and research in Vienna (c) EFP/APA/Preiss
stefan profilfoto
Stefan Windberger from NEOS is running as a Member of European Parliament

The youngest Austrian candidate with a realistic chance to be elected into the European Parliament is Stefan Windberger. The 25-year-old has studied international affairs and international political economy at the London School of Economics and Sciences Po in Paris and has started recently his own consulting firm in Vienna. In February, he was officially selected as the number two candidate for NEOS, a newly established liberal movement. The polls suggest that NEOS will get some 12% at the European Parliament elections on 25 May 2014 whereby about 10% would be necessary for Stefan to become a Member of European Parliament (MEP). Standing up against youth unemployment, calling for educational reform and establishing easier ways to start new businesses for young people are his main priorities. In addition, he presents his ideas about Europe that are based on a call for a federal Europe. This Skype interview was conducted on 12 April 2014. Continue reading ““I want the United States of Europe””

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

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”

More democracy in Germany for European Parliament elections

What kind of chance should small parties have at the European Parliament elections? (c) Flickr/European Parliament

“Every eligible voter’s vote must have the same value and the same legitimate chance of success.” Germany’s constitutional court decided on Wednesday (26 February 2014) that the 3% hurdle for political parties in Germany for the European Parliament (EP) is unconstitutional. The ruling will come into effect immediately and apply to the EP elections in May 2014. Germany has by far the biggest population in the European Union with some 82 million people out of the total of 503 million EU citizens and its citizens can vote for 96 out of 751 members of European Parliament. Continue reading “More democracy in Germany for European Parliament elections”

The Economist is wrong: More instead of less democracy in the EU

Christine Lagarde could be a candidate for the EU Commission, as long as she is elected by the Parliament (c) Wikipedia

In an act of masochism, everyone in Brussels and who is working for the EU institutions, particularly, the EU Commission, reads it. It could not be more critical of the EU and its policies. Although it is a weekly that I truly enjoy reading in general, I have huge challenges when it comes to their reporting about the EU (like in any British media as anything what is coming out of the EU is bad – with the noble exceptions of the BBC and the Guardian). Continue reading “The Economist is wrong: More instead of less democracy in the EU”

“Give us a TV Debate”

european debateAn important demand has been started on Facebook for EU citizens just this Monday. It calls for “TV debates on major European channels between the candidates for president of the European Commission.” Through that, it rightfully demands that EU citizens can make a more informed choice when they go to the ballot box for the European Parliament elections in May 2014. At the time of writing, this Facebook page has already some 655 “likes” on Facebook, but I am sure it can and will grow in much higher numbers. It is a demand from EU citizens to know what the possible future EU Commission President nominated by one of the different political groups is going to implement and what she or he is standing for. Continue reading ““Give us a TV Debate””

Who will head the EU in 2015?

There is light at the end of the tunnel: more democracy in the EU! (c) Flickr/Francois de Halleux
There is light at the end of the tunnel: more democracy in the EU! (c) Flickr/Francois de Halleux

In January 2015, José Manuel Barroso will be gone. Finally! Not many people will miss the current president of the EU Commission, the most important position in the EU. Pro-Europeans are hopeful that a more charismatic and visionary person is going to take over his job. The crucial question is: Who is going to follow Barroso? Thanks to the Lisbon Treaty, the European Parliament (EP) will have a much bigger say in this decision. Thus, it will be EU citizens who will influence who will take over this post because for the first time ever the people will know the frontrunners of the major political groups in the European Parliament. Consequently, a vote at the European Parliament elections in May 2014 will contribute to the decision where the EU will head to in the future. Continue reading “Who will head the EU in 2015?”

A peaceful second attempt by Kosovo’s ethnic Serbs

ImageA week ago, on 17 November 2013, ethnic Serbs in the northern part of Kosovo went to the polls – just another time. The first attempt, two weeks earlier, to organize local elections were marked by violence in Mitrovica and consequently were suspended and annulled there. Tear gas and smashed ballot boxes showed the dismay of some of the approx. 40,000 ethnic Serbs in northern Kosovo. These municipal elections became necessary because of the landmark deal between Kosovo and Serbia under the auspices of the EU in April 2013. Serbia agreed to the deal because membership talks to join the union were guaranteed by that and eventually the county can join the “European club”. Continue reading “A peaceful second attempt by Kosovo’s ethnic Serbs”