In post-Franco first for Spain, far-right party becomes kingmaker in Andalusia

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In post-Franco first for Spain, far-right party becomes kingmaker in Andalusia

In this Dec. 2, 2018 photo, Spain’s far-right Vox Party President Santiago Abascal (C), with the general secretary, Javier Ortega (L), and regional candidate Francisco Serrano take part in a rally during regional elections in Seville. The Socialists won just 33 seats in the Andalusia legislature, compared to 47 in 2015, making them lose control of Spain’s most populated region for the first time in 36 years.

farright party on Jan. 9 took a role in the formation of a regional government in Spain for the first time since the Franco dictatorship ended in 1975.

The anti-immigrant Vox agreed to support a center-right coalition in Andalusia. It became kingmaker in Spain’s most populous region – a traditional Socialist Party stronghold – after 12 of its candidates unexpectedly won seats in an election in December.

While Vox will not be part of the Andalusia government, bitter memories of military dictatorship had until now prevented farright parties from making any inroads into the Spanish political mainstream.

Francisco Franco died in 1975 and democracy was re-established three years later.

In return for its support, Vox made a 37-point agreement with the conservative People’s Party that includes commitments to tackle illegal immigration, reduce regional taxes and combat Islamic fundamentalism.

“Today illegal immigration and corruption lose and the Andalusians, the defense of the family and a more pluralistic politics win,” Vox deputy leader Javier Ortega told reporters.

The People’s Party struck a separate accord with the center-right Ciudadanos to form the coalition government, ending an unbroken 36-year run of Socialist administrations in the southern region.

After December’s election, the minority Socialist government of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said if the main opposition parties relied on the support of Vox to take office, they risked turning the region into a “cradle of the far right.”

A spokeswoman said on Jan. 9 the administration regretted “the radicalization seen on the part of the People’s Party and Ciudadanos.”

Agreement did not include a proposal by Vox to repeal domestic violence legislation, a divisive demand that had caused discomfort among some People’s Party leaders and led women’s groups to call a protest next week.

Spain is readying for a busy electoral year, with polls showing that the far right could also win seats in other parts of the country.


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President Erdoğan urges AKP to focus on first-time voters

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President Erdoğan urges AKP to focus on first-time votersPresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called on the grassroots organizations of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to focus on one million new voters registered for the first time this year.

“The presence of one million voters who will vote for the first time this year is very important. I want our members to follow everyone who entered the electoral register,” he said, addressing AKP provincial heads.

Referring to nearly 375,000 electorates that are not listed because their addresses are not registered in central population management system, the president urged the party organization to reach each of these people and correct their address information.

Some 1.5 million voters have changed their districts since the June 24, 2018 presidential elections and the AKP organization should focus on those electorates as well, he said.

Representatives of party organizations must visit each of the new voters in their districts and must convince voters to register their addresses if they haven’t, Erdoğan noted.

Stressing that rivalry during the period of candidate selection process is over, Erdoğanasked for collaborative hard work during the election campaign.

He said his party has determined that there were 504,000 voters out of their party’s 10,337,000 voters not registered due to a technical problem.

The president, however, also said “no one is obligated to vote for the AKP.”

“We will persuade our people to vote for the AKP with our cause, morals, stance, modesty, services, projects and vision,” he added.

“Our institutions working on the elections successfully carry out their work under the safety of the judiciary. But despite this, we have witnessed the efforts of some of people to burden their failures on the institutions that carry out the elections,” Erdoğan said, referring to criticisms from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) regarding recent elections.

Turkey’s Supreme Board of Elections (YSK) set the date for the upcoming local elections as March 31. The election period starts on Jan. 1, 2019 and the voting will take place on the last Sunday of March, as stipulated by the local administration elections law.


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Romania has lowest score in the EU in EIU’s Democracy Index 2018

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Romania is ranked 66th in the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)’s Democracy Index 2018, the lowest score for an EU country. The index covers 165 independent states and two territories.

The index is based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture. Based on its scores on a range of indicators within these categories, each country is classified as one of four types of regime: “full democracy”, “flawed democracy”, “hybrid regime” and “authoritarian regime”.

Romania had a score of 9.17 for electoral process and pluralism, of 5.71 for the functioning of government; of 5 for political participation, of 4.38 for political culture, and of 7.65 for civil liberties.

The country’s score for civil liberties deteriorated after “the implementation in 2018 of several laws that curtail the effectiveness and independence of the judiciary. The chief prosecutor of the National AntiCorruption Directorate (DNA) was also dismissed in 2018 at the request of the minister of justice and against the views of the Superior Council of Magistracy,” the EIU notes.

Romania sits alongside other “flawed democracies” in the region that recorded a deterioration, namely Slovakia (ranked 44th), Hungary (ranked 57th) and Croatia (ranked 60th). The “flawed democracies” that improved were Estonia (ranked 23rd), the Czech Republic (ranked 34th), Lithuania (ranked 36th) and Latvia (ranked 38th).

Neighboring Bulgaria, which joined the EU at the same time as Romania, is ranked 46th.

The first ranked in the index is Norway, followed by Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand, Denmark, Canada, Ireland, Finland, Australia, and Switzerland.

The index is available here.


Source : Romania-Insiders

2019 World Handball Championship: Croatia opens with victory over Iceland

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Croatia opens with a win (Photo: EHF Euro)

MUNICH, 11 January 2019 – Croatia has opened the 2019 IHF World Men’s Handball Championship with a victory over Iceland on Friday.

Lino Červar’s side, who are chasing their first medal at a world championships in six years, have beaten Iceland in a tough match 31-27 in front of a large Croatian contingent in Munich.

Iceland started the match strongly and looked as if they would go into the break in the lead but Croatia would score 5 unanswered goals to lead 16-14 at halftime.

Goals to Luka Cindrić and stand-out player Luka Stepančić, as well as good keeping from Marin Šego, helped Croatia stretch their lead to 4 points early in the second half.

Iceland rallied back strong and went on their own five-goal streak to take the lead 24-22 with 15 minutes remaining.

Croatia got back in front with five minutes remaining thanks to further saves from Šego and goals to Zlatko Horvat and would run away with it in the final few minutes to win the match comfortably in the end.

Former Croatia football coach and Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovač had the honour of presenting the man-of-the-match award to Stepančić.

The 2019 World Handball Championships are being held in Denmark and Germany until 27 January 2019.

Croatia’s remaining group matches:

13 January at 16:30: Croatia – Japan

14 January at 18:00: Croatia – Macedonia

16 January at 18:00: Croatia – Bahrain

17 January at 20:30: Spain – Croatia

Source : Croatia Week
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