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Croatian Prime Minister and Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party chief Andrej Plenkovic attends an election rally in Zagreb, Croatia, April 14, 2024.

REUTERS/Antonio Bronic

Croatia heads to the polls in contentious election

Croatians vote on Wednesday in one of the most contentious parliamentary elections that the Balkan country, an EU member, has seen in years – and Russia is at the heart of the kerfuffle.

The governing center-right Croatian Democratic Union party, or HDZ, which has held power almost continuously since Croatia’s independence in 1991, is facing a stiff challenge from a center-left coalition led by the Social Democrat Party.

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Calton Hill and Edinburgh city scenic view at sunset Beautiful view of Edinburgh at sunset Edinbourgh United Kingdom.


Labour takes the lead in Scotland

Good news for Britain’s Labour Party: Anew poll from YouGov shows that, for the first time in nearly a decade, the party leads in Scotland, a result that can bolster its already-high odds of winning the UK’s next general election, probably this fall.

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Supporters with a placard 'April 10 is the Yoon Suk Yeol government, Judgment Day.' attend the Democratic Party of Korea's general election campaign rally at Yongsan Station Square in Seoul, South Korea, April 9, 2024.

Matrix Images / Lee Kitae via Reuters Connect

South Korean opposition likely to clean up in key elections

South Koreans went to the polls today for key legislative elections amid a bitterly polarized environment and a sluggish economy, with early exit polls showing a likely landslide for the opposition Democratic Party. President Yoon Suk Yeol has been stymied by DP control of the unicameral legislature throughout the first two years of his presidency, and his People Power Party was facing daunting odds heading into today.

Cost of living is top of mind. Opposition leader Lee Jae-myung turned the humble green onions that feature in so many Korean dishes into a political weapon after Yoon made remarks on their price that were perceived as being out of touch. Meanwhile, Yoon’s wife, Kim Keon-hee, has been at the center of a luxury gift scandal, which has hardly helped with perceptions of aloofness.

That said, Lee faces graft allegations of his own and is no less of a controversial figure. In fact, he was lucky to survive an attempted assassination in January, when he was stabbed in the neck at a campaign rally. Political violence is not unheard of in South Korea, but the incident underlines the depth of the country’s political divisions.

“Because of the political polarization, South Koreans end up deciding elections based on things like whether the first lady received a $2,000 handbag and didn't report it,” says Eurasia Group senior analyst Jeremy Chan. “It speaks to the underlying dynamic in South Korea, where folks are deciding on the trivial stuff because the political parties can't deal with the big issues.”

And there are BIG issues on South Korea’s plate: The country is getting old and having very few babies, economic growth is weak and unlikely to improve, and, of course, North Korea’s nuclear weapons threaten total annihilation.

Chan expects Yoon to continue focusing on foreign policy if exit polls hold true, including “doubling down on the rapprochement with Japan, broadening relations with Europe, with ASEAN, and with the United States, while moving further away from China and North Korea, because that's where he can exert influence without the National Assembly.”

Official results are expected early Thursday.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol speaking at the presidential office on TV at Seoul Railroad Station in Seoul. April 1, 2024

Kim Jae-Hwan / SOPA Images via Reuters

Viewpoint: South Korea’s president looks to legislative elections to kickstart his agenda

All 300 seats in South Korea's unicameral legislature will be up for grabs in the April 10 election, offering President Yoon Suk-yeol the opportunity to kickstart his agenda if his conservative People Power Party, or PPP, can gain control of the National Assembly. The center-left Democratic Party of Korea, aka DP, currently holds a majority of the seats in the chamber and has frustrated Yoon’s efforts to advance business-friendly policies since he took office in 2022.

Nonetheless, the PPP faces long odds in flipping the chamber, according to Eurasia Group expert Jeremy Chan. We asked him to explain.

Why the poor prospects for the PPP?

The conservative party would need to gain roughly three dozen seats to recapture the National Assembly, a tall order that will be made even more challenging by Yoon’s low approval rating, which hovers below 40%. While his name will not appear on the ballot, the election is widely seen as a referendum on Yoon’s administration.

For Yoon, failing to recapture the National Assembly would effectively render him a lame duck with more than half of his term in office remaining. It would put his agenda of cuts to taxes and government spending on life support and make him the first Korean president in decades to serve an entire five-year term without ever exerting control over the legislature. Attention would promptly shift to the race to succeed Yoon in the 2027 presidential election.

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Senegalese opposition leader Ousmane Sonko listens to the presidential candidate he is backing in the March 24 election, Bassirou Diomaye Faye, as they hold a joint press conference a day after they were released from prison, in Dakar, Senegal March 15, 2024.

REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

Sonko takes the reins in Senegal

Newly inaugurated Senegalese President Bassirou Diomaye Faye, in his first act in office, appointed his mentor Ousmane Sonko as prime minister on Wednesday. The popular, reform-oriented Sonko will be the driving force behind big changes. Case in point: Faye's manifesto proposed an audit of the oil, gas, and mining sectors, which could bring more cash from natural resource extraction into Dakar’s coffers.

Sonko was banned from running for president in the most recent elections, but Faye subbed in, even using the slogan “Diomaye is Sonko.” Sonko is now calling the shots, says Eurasia Group analyst Tochi Eni-Kalu.

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FILE PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference at one of his properties after attending a hearing in his criminal court case on charges stemming from hush money paid to a porn star in New York City, U.S., March 25, 2024.

REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

Trump’s money problems

Bible salesman and former US President Donald Trump on Monday posted a $175 million bond in his New York civil fraud case, wriggling himself out of a tricky financial situation — for now, at least.

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Supporters of Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, mayoral candidate of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), celebrate following the early results in front of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IBB) in Istanbul, Turkey March 31, 2024.

REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Turkey’s AI elections

Voters across Turkey went to the polls on Sunday for local elections nationwide. While Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wasn’t on the ballot, observers expected the Turkish president to change the constitution to extend his own term limits should his AK Party win with enough of a mandate. Instead, the opposition Republican People’s Party won in a shock victory.

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Dakar, Senegal.- In photos taken on March 24, 2024, Bassirou Diomaye Faye (photo), leader of the main opposition party casts his vote during the presidential elections.

Handout / Latin America News Agency via Reuters Connect

Opposition candidate Faye wins Senegal’s presidency in landslide

Preliminary results on Monday showed opposition candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye winning Senegal’s presidential election outright with 53% of the vote. Incumbent party candidate and former Prime Minister Amadou Baconceded to Faye ahead of official results, meaning the country will avoid a runoff vote.

Faye is a close ally of the popular opposition figure Ousmane Sonko, who was barred from standing because of a defamation conviction, but is expected to play a major role in Faye’s administration. Outgoing President Macky Sall delayed elections from their intended February date, in part to buy time to improve his party’s standing against Sonko, but was checked by the country’s Constitutional Council.

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