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Supporters of Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu demonstrate as a Turkish court reaches a verdict in his trial.

REUTERS/Umit Bektas

What We're Watching: Turkish political verdict, Nagorno-Karabakh flareup, Sunak's immigration plan, Lula's military

Bombshell ruling in Turkey

On Wednesday, a Turkish court sentenced Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu to 2.5 years in prison for the obviously heinous crime of calling election officials "fools" after they annulled the result of the May 2019 race he won. Context: Imamoglu's slim victory then was questioned by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Law & Justice party, which forced a rerun only to see Imamoglu win again by a wider margin. The double loss was a slap in the face for Erdoğan, who is running for re-election just six months from now — with Imamoglu favored to be his main rival. On the one hand, Erdogan is trying to pull the oldest authoritarian trick in the book by getting loyalist judges to throw his enemy in jail. On the other, since Imamoglu will surely appeal, the snail-pace legal system won’t confirm his conviction ahead of the presidential vote. Will Erdogan’s move further boost the mayor in the polls, convincing an alliance of six opposition parties to pick Imamoglu as their candidate? Throwback: in 1997, when Erdoğan himself was mayor of Istanbul, he did time in jail and was banned from political office for … reciting a controversial poem. Five years later he was elected as Turkey’s first Islamist PM.

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UK: Truss out, lettuce see what comes next?

In the end, poor Liz Truss didn’t even outlast that head of lettuce. At best, she stuck it out for barely four “Scaramuccis.” There are many ways to clock the downfall of the UK prime minister, who resigned on Thursday morning after just 45 days in office, marking the shortest premiership in British history.

Now the UK, which has already had three PMs in as many years, will have had three in less than two months. For a European country that’s not Italy, that’s a lot. And there is no guarantee that things will calm down anytime soon.

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UK Prime Minister Liz Truss resigns.

GZERO Media

UK's Liz Truss resigns

There have been jokes about whether UK Prime Minister Liz Truss could outlast a head of lettuce. But who’s laughing now? The newly installed British leader announced on Thursday that she’s resigning, unable to fulfill the promise of a low-tax, high-growth strategy for getting the post-Brexit economy moving. Truss noted that her government had delivered on reducing energy bills and cutting national insurance fees. But given the energy and economic crises — UK inflation hit a whopping 10.1% in the latest figures — and Russia’s war on Ukraine, which she said “threatens the security of our whole continent,” her plan for growth is untenable. Truss will stay on in the post, much like predecessor Boris Johnson did, until a replacement is found. A Tory leadership contest will come next, but any hopes for immediate solutions to the UK’s mounting crises have been dashed.

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British Prime Minister Liz Truss

Reuters

Dead on arrival: The Truss and Trussonomics experiment is almost over

Things have been turbulent in the UK since the 2016 “Brexit” vote to leave the European Union – but the upheaval of the last six weeks may be among the most volatile episodes in modern British politics.

A recap. Newly installed Conservative PM Liz Truss introduced a tax cut plan last month – aka Trussonomics – to try to stimulate Britain’s inflation-ridden economy through a trickle-down effect by pushing for £45 billion ($50 billion) of tax cuts. But she failed to convince voters, markets, and even her own party that it could be paid for or succeed in addressing the cost-of-living crisis. Market turmoil and widespread criticism ensued.

In response, Truss backtracked on the corporate tax cuts and then, on Friday, sacrificed longtime ally and political soulmate, UK Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng. She replaced him with Jeremy Hunt, a Conservative centrist who is the fourth person to take on this role since July. Importantly, on Monday, Hunt scrapped nearly all of Truss's mini-budget that sparked the recent chaos, causing the pound to rise slightly against the US dollar.

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Tony Blair: Back To The Center | GZERO World

Populism vs. moderate politics

For Tony Blair three challenges will define geopolitics in the near future: the Western relationship with China, making democracy more effective, and harnessing the tech revolution.

How can we address them? The former British PM — who along with then-US President Bill Clinton led the centrist "Third Way" of politics in the 1990s — says that we need to return to the center to match challenges that'll be more practical than ideological.

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UK Prime Minister Liz Truss

GZERO Media

Britain on fire

British Prime Minister Liz Truss’ first few weeks in office have been a hot mess.

Markets are in a tizzy, the pound tumbled to a record low against the US dollar, and interest rates have surged. Unsurprisingly, Brits are increasingly disillusioned with their new government and Truss’ Conservative Party.

Truss’ month-long premiership has been dubbed the worst start to a new government in British history. How did she get here and what does this mean for her party — and British politics — going forward?

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The UK's Two New Leaders Face Tough Challenges Ahead | GZERO World

UK's Liz Truss & Charles III face tough challenges ahead

In early September, in just 48 hours the UK got a new prime minister (Liz Truss) and a new king (Charles III, after the death of Queen Elizabeth II).

Both take over at a turbulent time in British politics, but Truss in particular faces a list of domestic obstacles with no easy fix. Her top priorities are the economy and the energy crisis aggravated by Russia's war in Ukraine, Ian Bremmer explains on GZERO World.

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Podcast: "United" Kingdom? Tony Blair on Truss, Charles, Brexit, and division in UK & beyond


Listen: In the span of just 48 hours in early September, the United Kingdom got a new prime minister, Liz Truss, and a new monarch, King Charles III. Both face big challenges in their new roles. For Truss, the Tory leader: a range of issues from inflation to the ongoing fallout of Brexit. For Charles: the relevance of the monarchy itself, now that Britain's longest-serving and much-beloved queen is gone. The United Kingdom also faces staggering inflation and a looming energy crunch. On the GZERO World Podcast, Ian Bremmer talks with a man who occupied 10 Downing Street for a decade - former prime minister Tony Blair - about the road ahead for his country. Blair believes there will be a lot of uncertainty over the next year or two if Truss insists on big tax cuts and big borrowing. He also looks back at the queen's legacy and the future of the monarchy, explains why Brexit will hurt - but probably not fragment - the UK, and argues that we need to return to his comfort zone of the political center to fix today's problems.

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform, to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.

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