With leaders sworn in and others kicked out, 2013 has certainly been an eventful year in the global political arena
Barack Obama re-elected
Inaugural Address by President Barack Obama, United States. The inauguration coincides with Martin Luther King Day in the United States. Obama’s re-election comes during a difficult period.
Likud’s victory in Israeli elections
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud’s Party wins between 31 and 33 Knesset seats. This victory raises questions regarding the prospects of a settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian stalemate.
Assassination of leftist Tunisian activist Chokri Belaid
The ensuing anger of supporters, friends and relatives from Belaid’s political and ideological family have mounted and escalated into bloody clashes and a political crisis.
Italian parliamentary elections deadlock
The election turnout reaches 75.11 per cent and the votes cast result in a heteroclite outcome: Bersani’s coalition (113 seats), Berlusconi’s 12 party bloc (116 seats), Grillo’s Five Star movement (54 seats) and Monti’s bloc (18 seats). The results of the elections, accompanied with the euro crisis, have made it even more difficult for the Italian political actors to form coalitions.
Xi Jinping becomes president of the People’s Republic of China
Presidential elections in Kenya marked by a controversial outcome
Uhuru Kenyatta sworn in as Kenya’s new President. Kenyatta faces several international charges attended by diplomats, leaders and thousands of Kenyans.
North Korean crisis
In an unexpectedly bold and hostile move, North Korea blocks South Koreans from the joint Kaesong Industrial complex. This was the only remaining bilateral initiative. The border town of Kaesong hosted up to 120 South Korean-run factories. The industrial complex reopened in September.
Nicolás Maduro elected the new president of Venezuela
Late Hugo Chavez, former president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela died on 5 March 2013, after a long battle with cancer, and designated Maduro as his successor.
Muhammad Nawaz Sharif becomes new prime minister of Pakistan
Sharif pledges, “We have no other option expect for democracy”. Many promises are made, particularly regarding the chronic energy shortages in the country. Warnings are addressed to the American administration concerning the drone strikes in Pakistan which are continuing to harm civilians.
Mass protests erupt in Turkey
The Occupy Gezi Protests contested the urban development plan for Istanbul’s Taksim Gezi Park.
The US National Security Agency (NSA) secret surveillance programme unveiled to the public by the Guardian
On 9 June, Edward Snowden steps out as the major leaks source. Snowden is still being pursued by the United States. He is presently in Russia under asylum. The major leaks have sparked a wide-ranging and controversial debate regarding the right to privacy of common citizens.
Dr Hassan Rouhani elected as the new president of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Elections in Iran witness the victory of Dr Hassan Rouhani, who pledges a path of moderation. Rouhani represents a new hope for change in both domestic and foreign policy affairs. His seemingly proactive and determined posture calling for dialogue and peace are laudable.
Egypt’s Military Coup
The first democratically-elected Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi, is overthrown; mass protests and bloodshed follow. A state of emergency is declared. Supreme Court Chief Justice Adly Mansour is chosen by General Sisi to step in as Egypt’s interim president. Some factions still refuse to call what happened in Egypt a ‘coup’.
Malala Yousafzai speaks at the United Nations
Malala Yousafzai has become an emblem of resistance across the world. She embodies hope not only for Pakistani girls, but more broadly for girls and women worldwide.
The Ghouta Chemical Attack, Syria
Chemical weapons are used against civilians, including children, on a relatively large scale in the Ghouta area near Damascus. The Syrian regime denies use of such chemicals while an 82-page report by a UN-expert team later in December confirmed the initial September report.
Robert Mugabe wins presidential elections in Zimbabwe
Eighty-nine-year-old Robert Mugabe is the oldest standing president in Zimbabwe with a 33-year rule. His victory has been contested but the Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe arbitrates by announcing that “Mugabe won free and fair elections”.
Landslide victory for Angela Merkel
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative coalition wins Germany’s Federal election. The Social Democrats (SPD) win 26 per cent of the vote while the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) win only 4.8 per cent, significantly less than the Green Party (8.4 per cent) and the communist Left party (8.6 per cent). Prospects of tough coalition scenarios ensue.
Binding resolution on Syria adopted
The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopts a binding resolution on Syria’s chemical weapons. US Secretary of State, John Kerry, declares that the UN showed that “diplomacy can be so powerful that it can peacefully defuse the worst weapons of war”.
United States federal government shutdown
Deadlock and failure to reach an agreement between the two houses of Congress on a bill lead to significant losses for the economy, and federal employees and agencies.
US Budget Deal
President Barack Obama signed into law a controversial bipartisan deal approved by Congress to reopen the government and end the 16-day impasse triggering a government shutdown.
Political Crisis in Ukraine over admission into the EU
Trigger of the biggest political crisis since the 2004 Orange Revolution in Ukraine. The opposition camps in Kiev’s Independence Square are protesting for greater cooperation with the EU.
Anti-government rallies in Bangkok with 100,000 protesters
A Thai Color War ensues between the Yellow Shirts and the Red Shirt Movement. The political crisis has been pushed to the streets by the now-stalled amnesty bill that would have allowed Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck’s brother, to return to the country from exile.
A legend departs
Nelson Mandela dies at 95. Three cornerstones of Mandela’s immortal legacy include: an incredible strength; his eternal dedication to learning as a driver of progress both at the individual and societal level; and his ability to move beyond enmity to partnership.
Execution of Kim Jong Un’s Uncle, Pyongyang, North Korea
Reasons put forward for the execution by the official media include: “anti-state, counterrevolutionary actions, and other crimes including womanising, drug abuse and gambling”. Jang Song Taek was a No. 2 official in North Korea. The leadership of Kim Jong Un in light of this event is found to be increasingly unstable.
Image from: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/in-pictures-thai-antigovernment-protesters-continue-to-occupy-government-ministries-8969869.html?action=gallery&ino=1
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