Mexico’s political system faces a defining moment
Less than a year ahead of a presidential election, Mexicans have lost faith in the political establishment. Enter Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who promises to end corruption and crony capitalism. He is leading the polls, but his unpredictability and criticism of free markets has business leaders spooked. The main parties will probably cooperate to keep him out of office – but can they clean up their act?
Central Europe is not less European or less democratic
Parties unfairly labeled “euroskeptic” and “populist” have won elections in Austria and the Czech Republic. But they only want to preserve sovereignty and regional diversity. Western Europe likes to look down on Central Europe as nationalist and backward, but the real political problems in Europe stem from established parties’ headlong push toward harmonization and their refusal to accept new ideas.
GIS Dossier: Shinzo Abe’s Japan
Shinzo Abe is not popular, but this consummate political insider has become just the second prime minister in Japan’s history to win three general elections. He managed this feat by skillfully juggling factions in the dominant Liberal Democratic Party, stirring life into Japan’s stagnant economy, and pledging vigorous leadership in the face of a nuclear-armed Korea. Can Mr. Abe turn around a country widely seen to be in irreversible decline?
Mongolia’s consensus-based governance shields democracy
Battulga Khaltmaa won the 2017 presidential race in Mongolia with the sort of discourse that has been also heard from populists in the West, but the country’s well-balanced constitutional system and its ingrained culture of consensus decision-making are shielding one of Asia’s rare democracies from backsliding into authoritarian rule.
More coalition options in Germany
Two things are taken for granted in German politics. First, that there is no realistic alternative to Chancellor Angela Merkel, and second, that the only possible government after the Social Democrats went over to the opposition is a black-yellow-green (Jamaican) coalition of the CDU/CSU, Free Democrats and Greens. But what if neither of these propositions is true?
In Chile, stagnation and stasis despite shifting politics
The old party coalitions are breaking down in Chile, while new rules could shake up congressional representation. With the economy stuck in low gear, voters are frustrated. But despite all this, the country looks likely to elect a familiar face in November – former President Sebastian Pinera. If he wins, it will mark unprecedented stasis in Chilean politics since the end of the Pinochet dictatorship.
Mexico’s future in the balance
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has astutely managed the threats to his country posed by the new administration in Washington. Even so, the progress that he has made on key domestic fronts may prove too modest to defeat the left-wing challenge from Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador during next year’s elections.
Germany’s hollow political establishment pays the price
Germany's voters have spoken by turning their backs on the ruling coalition. As Chancellor Angela Merkel tries to hold the CDU/CSU together and piece together a new government, some interesting possibilities might emerge.
Elections kick off Angola’s leadership transition
Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos is stepping down after 38 years in office – one of Africa’s rare elder statesmen who relinquishes power voluntarily. His designated successor, Joao Lourenco, handily won a surprisingly peaceful general election. Now he must balance factions in the ruling party, the needs of an increasingly restive urban populace, and the imperative of diversifying Angola’s oil-dependent economy.
Can Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delay his political twilight?
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has had plenty of success, already having become the country's second-longest serving head of government. But the good times are over – his political rivals smell weakness and could use upcoming election campaigns to oust him. Perhaps surprisingly, his biggest threat does not come from the opposition, but from within his own party.