Argentina’s president looks for easy midterm wins
Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri is coming to terms with reality after promising a “transformational” government when he took power in early 2016. No shower of foreign investment or gas revenue has materialized, leaving him with a scaled-back philosophy of “gradualism” and fiscal austerity. Given this dour choice, Mr. Macri has focused on splitting his Peronist and Kirchnerista opponents before next month’s parliamentary elections – with a certain measure of success.
Iranians at odds as succession looms
Hassan Rouhani’s reelection as Iran’s president was greeted with euphoria by his reform-minded supporters, but has only sharpened divisions in a deeply polarized country. Supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei may be frail and ailing, but he still dominates the Islamic Republic, and his conservative supporters are well-positioned to steer any succession. The new U.S. administration’s attempts to isolate Iran will only strengthen them.
Germany votes: another four years of Merkel – but which Merkel?
Angela Merkel looks nearly certain to win another term as chancellor of Germany in September. The big question is what her next moves will be. Much of that will depend on her coalition partners in government, but one thing is sure: she will continue to be flexible and outsmart her opponents. She will also begin to shore up her legacy: making Germany relevant again, as a reliable, rational, and stable nation.
GIS Dossier: Modi’s India
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has harnessed identity politics to shake up India’s inefficient economy and turn it into a global player. At home and abroad, he has proved an adept operator. Geopolitically, Mr. Modi’s most important move is an increasingly obvious realignment with the U.S., as part of a long-term strategy to counter China’s bid for hegemony in Asia.
Navalny: The black hole of Russian politics
In just four years, Alexey Navalny has taken Russia's political scene by storm. From a complete unknown, he has risen to the first opposition figure who can be legitimately regarded as a possible alternative to Vladimir Putin. But beyond his flashy anti-corruption campaign, even close political observers have little idea what Mr. Navalny stands for. Many cannot shake the feeling that he enjoys a special tolerance from the authorities.
Opinion: France and Europe
Emmanuel Macron may be a fresh face, but France’s new president poses much less of a threat to the cosy status quo than his vanquished Republican opponent, Francois Fillon. Now that Mr. Macron has a solid parliamentary majority behind him, he will have to make choices and take sides. Chances are that his eclectic program will prove a disappointment.
Macron and the German project
After Brexit, the European Union is composed of two sorts of countries – those willing to recognize German leadership, and those reluctant to do so. With the project of an ever-closer union now defunct, the EU’s internal debate has shifted to what Germany wants and how much it is willing to compromise. A lot depends on the position of France and its new president.
Colombia finds peace brings burdens
Fresh from winning a Nobel Peace Prize, Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos must find a way to implement the complicated peace agreement that ended a 40-year civil war. Battling criminal gangs, restoring land to displaced people, and absorbing tens of thousands of guerrilla fighters back into society will be a difficult task. Coca and corruption remain huge problems, and Mr. Santos’ ruling party must fend off a powerful adversary in Alvaro Uribe, an opponent of the peace deal who will challenge in next year’s elections.
It pays to be principled
The CDU swept three regional elections in Germany because local candidates got back in touch with traditional Christian values. That augurs well for the September general elections, provided Chancellor Angela Merkel doesn't ignore the message.
Opinion: Can Emmanuel Macron change France?
After winning France’s presidency, the easy part is over for Emmanuel Macron. Now he must shift from faux outsider to the country’s first real reformer in decades. To succeed, he will need to take on a political establishment only too eager to jump on his bandwagon.