2019 Global Outlook: India turns inward
Ahead of parliamentary elections this spring, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reinvented himself. Putting aside earlier economic reforms, his talk is mostly about social welfare. While the Indian leader focuses on wooing small-town voters, his government has put most foreign policy initiatives on hold. Whether Mr. Modi’s ruling BJP wins or loses, India may be due for a period of weaker government.
Before leaping at the opportunity to question the results of Sunday's election in Turkey, politicians and media in Europe and the United States would do well to consider the basis of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's appeal. Until Western leaders take into account Turkey's emerging regional role and interests, they cannot hope to have any influence on its politics.
Italy – the West’s weakest link?
There is growing concern in Europe and the United States that Italy could turn out to be the weakest link in the chain of resistance to Russian misconduct. Its rising parties of protest, the Five Star Movement and La Lega, want sanctions against Russia dropped. But Italy has always fancied itself a bridge between East and West. When push comes to shove, it has generally toed the line set by NATO and the EU.
Turkey and the West – distant yet inseparable
Turkey’s growing estrangement from the West stems from its domestic and regional ambitions, as well as from a feeling of being unwanted in the European Union. There is also a deeper undercurrent, present since the founding of the Turkish Republic, that questions the Kemalist strategy of a radical alignment with Europe. Even so, a total break with its Western partners is not on the cards.
Opinion: Where is Italy headed?
For two months, Italy’s Five Star Movement and its leader Luigi Di Maio have tried to assemble a cabinet with the mainstream parties of the center-right (Silvio Berlusconi) or center-left (Matteo Renzi). So far, they have failed. But those who assume Italy is doomed to return to the polls underestimate the capacity of Italian politicians for compromise – especially since a weak government suits nearly everybody.
Italy’s 2018 elections will hinge on immigration
Demographic data show that Italy’s population is shrinking at a fast clip, economists are ringing alarm that the country faces a shortage of labor and its social security system is at risk, but voters perceive immigrants from the Middle East and Africa as a major problem that requires radical steps by the government. Most Italian politicians are willing to oblige.
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?
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.
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.
Italy drifts toward paralysis
Italy is facing the prospect of major political fragmentation and government inertia. Its political players are already bracing for the double whammy of changed electoral rules, which will radically alter the composition of the next parliament, and the steady rise of populist sentiment in the country.