Project Syndicate – Shlomo Ben-Ami / Israel doubles down on illiberal democracy
- Israel’s latest parliamentary election has consolidated the country’s position within a growing bloc of illiberal democracies around the world. Once again, Benjamin Netanyahu has won by mobilizing the people against the very state institutions that he is supposed to uphold and defend.
- Israel’s Arab citizens – many of whom abstained yesterday – apparently are through lending credibility to a sham democracy. Meanwhile, the Israeli left has been exposed as a bankrupt political project. On the Arab question, liberal Zionists have acceded to Netanyahu’s project of making Israel into a one-race, one-party state.
- Instead of using Israel’s diplomatic relationships to work toward an acceptable solution to its primary existential challenge, Netanyahu has exploited them for his own chauvinist agenda. Here, too, Netanyahu’s opponents failed to challenge him.
- The election leaves no doubt about what awaits Israel in the coming years. A cabal of Netanyahu cronies and family members, racist messianic settlers, and Orthodox parties with opportunistic designs on the state budget will drag Israel toward a new single-state reality that will resemble apartheid South Africa.
- Sudanese government officials have confirmed that President Omar al-Bashir is stepping down from his post after 30 years of ruling over the African country, reports said early Thursday morning.
- Sudan’s state TV says the country’s armed forces will deliver an “important statement” and are asking the nation to “wait for it.” Sudanese radio is playing military marches ahead of the announcement.
- The announcement raised expectations the statement Thursday could address nearly four months of anti-government protests demanding that Bashir step down.
- Thousands of Sudanese protesters clashed with security forces outside President Bashir’s residence in central Khartoum on Saturday in what appeared to be the biggest demonstration in months of protests against his 30-year rule, witnesses said.
The New York Times – Stephen Castle & Steven Erlanger / European Union extends Brexit deadline to Oct. 31
- With less than 48 hours before Britain’s departure, the European Union extended the exit deadline until the end of October, in order to avoid a devastating cliff-edge divorce but settling none of the issues that have plunged British politics into chaos, dysfunction and recrimination.
- It was a difficult night for Theresa May, since European leaders didn’t accept her proposal for an extension until June 30, on the basis that the short deadline was an unrealistic goal.
- Both sides agreed on a “flexible extension” until October 31st, on the basis that it would provide an “additional six months for the U.K. to find the best possible solution.” Moreover, Mr. Tusk did not rule out another extension. Mr. Juncker dismissed worries that Britain would be interfering on the work of the bloc, saying that Britain’s being a “difficult partner was nothing new”.
- President Macron stated that the October date was “the best compromise” in order to maintain the unity of the European Union, and he added that it was “up to Britons to be clear with themselves and their people”. Mr. May’s plan has been rejected three times in Parliament and, despite attempts to broker an accord with the opposition Labour Party, prospects for its passage still look low.
The Washington Post – Joanna Slater & Niha Masih / India’s 2019 elections: What you need to know
- India’s elections will take place in seven phases between April 11 and May 19, and the results will be announced on May 23. Voters will choose representatives to 543 seats in Parliament, and the party with 272 or more seats will select the prime minister. If no one party wins the necessary amount of seats, parties can nonetheless form a coalition government.
- These elections are the largest democratic ones in the world since India has 900 million eligible voters. The size of the electorate has swelled by more than 80 million in comparison to 2014, where 550 million people cast votes. Only six of the 450 political parties are national parties that have a base of supporters across different states.
- This election will be vital to the future of India, which will soon become the world’s most populous nation. India is attempting to catch up with China economically, which will require massive investment in infrastructure and significant policy change. While Narendra Modi came to power with promises of development, there has been an increasing number of jobless youth.
- Mr. Modi is the favorite to win, since he is the incumbent leader. His principal opponent is Rahul Gandhi, who leads the Indian National Congress, and must convince the voters to give him a try after corruption scandals that plagued the last Congress government.Until recently, it appeared that employment and rural distress would be some of the main themes of the election. In January, a leaked official report showed that India’s unemployment rate had increased under the Modi government to a 45-year high.
The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and ESADEgeo. The summaries above may include word-for-word excerpts from their respective pieces.