In Mexico, disappointment with Pena Nieto fuels a desire for change
Mexicans seem set to vote for change in their country’s July presidential election, with Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador far ahead in the polls. The ruling party’s candidate is a distant third, and that reflects widespread disappointment in the current administration of President Enrique Pena Nieto. The government has notched up several successes in its reforms, but positive change is coming slowly, while a rise in violence and corruption have angered ordinary citizens.
Opinion: Separatism in Europe
Independence movements are on the rise in Europe. At the heart of this phenomenon is an ever-globalizing world, bringing with it inflows of foreigners and an outflow of traditional industries. Most of these movements have set aside violent measures in recent years, but there is no guarantee that will continue. If authorities in the EU and national governments do not deal with the challenges at the root of their grievances, it could lead to conflict at the local and national levels.
Liberia and Sierra Leone: post-conflict, focused on growth
Liberia and Sierra Leone went through painstaking a post-conflict restoration process after civil wars that ravaged them in the last decade of the 20th century. In 2018, newly elected leaders in Freetown and Monrovia face the task of restoring growth in the economies badly hindered by 2014-2015 Ebola epidemic and low commodity prices.
Opinion: Venezuela nears the breaking point
What will happen to Venezuela after the government tries to steal an unconstitutional presidential election on May 20? Everything depends on the cohesion of the splintered opposition and the determination of the international community. If either fail, the Western hemisphere could be faced with its most severe humanitarian crisis in more than a decade.
Peace process under strain as Colombia gears up for election
Colombia's peace agreement has not led to the immediate prosperity many in the country were hoping for. Violence is still common, the economy is lagging, and refugees from neighboring Venezuela are flooding into the country. The May presidential election could help the peace process move forward – or tear it apart, depending on which candidate wins.
Joseph Kabila will not be moved
For long-serving presidents in sub-Saharan Africa, there are few incentives to step down. That applies to President Joseph Kabila in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who has managed to extend his term beyond the constitutional limits. The country has been in a deep crisis since 2015, and conditions are primed to deteriorate in 2018. Even if long-promised elections do take place, they will hardly mark the beginning of a new era.
Opinion: The decline of social democracy
After a wretched result in last year’s general elections, Germany’s Social Democrats are now voting on whether to enter another grand coalition with the CDU/CSU. Whatever they decide, it may already be too late for the party to pull out of its tailspin. The SPD’s sad decline is part of a much broader eclipse of social democracy in Europe.
Cuba in transition
Cuba will get a new leader in April, after President Raul Castro hands over the presidency to First Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel. As the country tentatively introduces decentralizing reforms and embraces globalization, the new leadership will have to answer the question of how much freedom it can allow while retaining a tight political and economic grip over the country.
The specter haunting Europe
The populist wave spreading across Europe is rooted in deep-seated grievances – globalization, falling real incomes, unemployment, torn safety nets – that have been channeled into anger against migrants. Instead of engaging with these real problems, establishment politicians have preferred to insult voters. This is not a winning strategy.
2018 Global Outlook: The Trump presidency, Year Two
After a year in the White House, Donald Trump is suffering as much from his own erratic personality as from the burden of office. Foreign policy in the traditional, institutional sense has ceased to exist, and the way the president and Congress operate suggests there will be little room for maneouver once domestic troubles start to mount. Miscalculation and overreaction become increasingly likely as the global arena grows more precarious.