Politics This Week | The Economist


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After germany general elections the social democrats (SPD) has become the largest party, overtaking the Christian Democrats and their Bavarian allies who currently lead the ruling “grand coalition”. But forming a new government will likely take several weeks, as it will almost certainly involve a tripartite coalition. Olaf Scholz, the SPDcandidate for chancellor of, is the most likely successor to Angela Merkel, at the head of a coalition “at the traffic lights” including the Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats, although this is by no means guaranteed. Armin Laschet, who led the Christian Democrats to their worst defeat, faces pressure to resign but insists he still has a chance to build his own coalition.

Iceland failed to have the first parliament in Europe where women hold most seats, following a recount after her election. Women occupied nearly 48% of the seats. The left-right coalition has increased its majority in power.

An independent investigation claimed that 83 aid workers sexually assaulted girls and women as they responded to an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congolese. Employees of the World Health Organization are among the accused.

Fighting between jihadist groups in Nigeria killed dozens of people. The Islamic State province of West Africa is gaining the upper hand over Boko Haram, which has spent a decade kidnapping schoolgirls and attaching bombs to children. The last fight was over the group that would “tax” the fishermen.

Jihadists from a previously unknown group claimed to have killed six intelligence operatives in Sudan. The country’s transition to democracy promises to be fragile, two years after the overthrow of Omar al-Bashir, a bloody dictator who ruled for 30 years.

that of Tunisia President Kais Saied suspended parts of the constitution and said he would rule by decree. It comes after a takeover in July when it suspended parliament and seized emergency powers.

A judge in Mexico refused to issue arrest warrants against 31 scientists whom the country’s attorney general wants to prosecute for mismanagement of funds. The lack of evidence of the charges and the fact that the law was not in force at the time of the alleged crime have led to accusations that the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador is trying to politicize public life.

from Haiti the general election was postponed again, when Ariel Henry, the prime minister, withdrew the council that was to oversee the poll. Mr Henry, mired in conspiracy theories over the assassination of the country’s president in July, says he would like to hold the elections next year.

Fighting between rival gangs in a prison Ecuador killed 116 prisoners. At least ten men were beheaded. The gangs have ties to the drug cartels in Mexico.

Meng Wanzhou, an executive at Huawei, a Chinese tech company, has been allowed to return to China from Canada after nearly three years of fighting extradition to America. Ms Meng had admitted to misleading bankers about Huawei’s ties to a company operating in Iran. Almost at the same time two Canadian prisoners in China, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, were allowed to return to Canada. It is generally believed that the two Michael’s were held hostage, pending Ms. Meng’s release.

The power cuts affected around 20 of the from China provinces, including many industrial estates. The reasons for the reductions ranged from the high price of coal to efforts by some provinces to meet strict environmental limits on energy use.

Authorities have announced that foreign spectators will be banned from entering the Winter Olympics will be hosted by Beijing in February, due to covid-19.

Safety first

Kishida Fumio will be the next Prime Minister of Japan, after the ruling Liberal Democratic Party elected him president. The former foreign minister succeeds the increasingly unpopular Suga Yoshihide, who resigns amid widespread criticism of the government’s handling of the pandemic. Mr Kishida, who beat crowd favorite Kono Taro, is seen by the party as a safe pair of hands.

Manny Pacquiao, Senator of the Philippines and a world champion boxer, announced his retirement from the sport and his intention to run for president. The Philippine constitution limits presidents to one term but Rodrigo Duterte, the outgoing fighter, will always be on the ticket; he said he would run for vice-president.

Appearing before a Senate committee in Washington, General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he and others had urged Joe Biden to keep 2,500 troops in Afghanistan to defend Kabul and slow the advance of the Taliban. This could have allowed for possible discussions, although the general admitted that the result could have been the same. Mr Biden said he had not received any such notice before the United States’ early withdrawal in August.

A study from the University of Oxford found that the covid-19 pandemic has led to a drop in life expectancy unheard of since World War II in Western Europe. Across the 29 wealthy countries studied, the largest decline in life expectancy was seen among American men, who were down 2.2 years in 2020 from 2019.

There were 21,570 homicides in America last year, according to the FBI, up 29% from 2019. The homicide rate rose from 5.1 to 6.5 per 100,000 people. It was still well below its high of 9.8 in 1991.

Fuel things

British motorists endured the gasoline queues. One of the causes was the shortage of truck drivers to deliver goods, exacerbated by Brexit, which made it more difficult and less attractive for foreign drivers to work in Britain. Another cause was panic buying. Despite government assurances that there was plenty of fuel in the depots, drivers flocked to fill their tanks. Other European countries also had fuel supply problems, but Britain’s were particularly severe.

This article appeared in the The World This Week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics This Week”


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