Venezuela: a convincing victory for Maduro
After long expectations, the Venezuelan legislative elections went smoothly. President Nicolas Maduro, whose PSUV’s bloc (the United Socialist Party of Venezuela) received 67.6% of votes, called on the opposition to resume dialogue in the new National Assembly.
The Democratic Alliance took 17.95% of the votes, the United Venezuela Alliance obtained 4.19%, the Popular Revolutionary Alternative PCV received 2.73%, and other parties represented 6.79% of the votes.
After the elections, the National Assembly will be governed by 277 deputies from 2021 to 2026. The elections were held smoothly throughout the country throughout the day, with people attending in an orderly manner and with strict biosecurity measures, TeleSur reports.
President Nicolas Maduro praised the country’s peaceful legislative elections, saying that a new era was beginning in the country and called on the opposition to resume political dialogue and to reject extremism.
“I am proud to be Venezuelan, to have a free and conscious homeland,” Maduro said after casting his ballot. “We had the patience and the wisdom to wait for this day and end that awful National Assembly that brought the plague of sanctions, cruelty, pain and suffering. “
Today’s vote is a vote of rebellion, of independence, to tell the world that Venezuela is nobody’s colony, that Venezuela is a free, sovereign and independent country, he said
Maduro also called on the new US authorities to lift the sanctions.
More than 20 million Venezuelans had the right to vote in elections this Sunday to elect legislators from over 14,400 candidates registered by 107 national and regional political organizations. Numerous international observers were present and accompanied the process and made statements regarding the transparency of the process.
The loss of a strong position in power would have been another blow to the opposition, which, despite the support of the United States and other countries, fought to overthrow the socialist government.
The US-backed opposition called on voters to boycott the country’s parliamentary elections. The President of the National Assembly Juan Guaido and his allies refused to recognise the vote, saying they did not trust the “authoritarian” Maduro to conduct a fair election.
It is important to note that the opposition, led by Guaido, is actively working against their own country. The opposition has supported US sanctions not only against the government of Maduro, but also against the state oil industry as a whole.
There is obvious US interference in Venezuelan internal affairs. Earlier, the US Department of Justice charged Maduro and his entourage with narcotics trafficking and terrorism, and Guaido called on the Venezuelans to participate in the opposition referendum calling for an end to Maduro’s “usurping” of the government.
However, the results of the vote speak for themselves – the legitimate ruler of the country is clearly Maduro, not a pro-American agent who was never even in the running for the presidency.
Trump withdraws troops from Somalia
The Pentagon said on Friday that President Donald Trump ordered the majority of US troops to leave Somalia, which is in line with Trump’s logic of reducing US involvement in so-called “anti-terrorist” missions abroad. In fact, the decision is based on a pragmatic approach – not to spend countless dollars on meaningless external adventures when you can spend them on domestic needs and profitable contracts.
The Biden administration is likely to either overturn Trump’s decision or redirect the US military to other locations as part of liberal internationalism.
Mali elects Malick Diaw
Mali’s interim legislature has elected Colonel Malick Diaw, a member of the military government that toppled President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in August, as its president.
On Saturday, the council elected Diaw as its president with no objection, 111 votes in favour and seven abstentions. Three others did not vote at all.
The National Transitional Council has 121 seats. It is a key part of the apparatus of the interim government of Mali after the coup. Army officers in the conflict-ridden Sahel state overthrew President Keita on August 18 after weeks of anti-government protests over an armed uprising in the country, economic struggles and chronic inter-ethnic violence.
Under the threat of international sanctions, officers handed over power between September and October to a provisional government, which must rule for 18 months before elections.
Elections in Ghana
Residents of Ghana voted on Monday in an election that was seen as a close struggle between President Nana Akufo-Addo and his longtime rival John Mahama, a country long considered a beacon of stability in a turbulent region. In a period of almost 30 years, the West African country has ensured the peaceful transfer of power seven times.
Ghana’s two leading presidential candidates signed a symbolic peace pact on Friday to prevent post-election violence.
Ghana’s relative stability contrasts with the dangerous situation of its West African neighbours, Guinea and Ivory Coast countries, which have been destabilised this year.
A possible ground for protests could be the worsening economic situation. Over the past two decades, Ghana has made huge strides as the world’s second largest cocoa producing country, but many still live in extreme poverty without sufficient access to clean water or electricity.
Brexit: the game is not over
Boris Johnson, British Prime Minister, and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, made a phone call on Saturday night after the negotiations between the negotiating teams had stuck to the wall.
Brexit negotiations will resume in Brussels after Johnson and Von der Leyen have agreed that a trade and security deal is still possible.
The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, tweeted: “We will see if there is a way forward. Work continues tomorrow. “
Sources within the EU have said that negotiations are now limited to major political decisions on three contentious issues:
– Fishing (the question of how long European vessels can access the waters, and other technical details)
– competition in the European space
– dispute settlement (tariffs, territorial, border, etc)
The EU also wants European business owners to be able to seek redress in British courts if there is evidence that government subsidies have put them at a competitive disadvantage.
Negotiations on Brexit were on the verge of failure – Britain`s negotiator David Frost and EU envoy Michel Barnier admitted after hours of debate that they had come to nothing. Boris Johnson is trying to defend Brexit’s most comfortable conditions for his country while trying to free it from the EU’s disadvantageous obligations. However, neoliberal EU actors – under the leadership of Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron – are deliberately pushing this policy into a dead end. Thus, Macron threatened to veto any deal that was contrary to French interests.
One of the main problems is the EU’s requirement to be able to unilaterally cancel tariffs or suspend parts of the contract if the UK government undermines the block’s so-called environmental, social and labour standards. This initiative came from Macron.
The situation in London is worsened by several factors: a shortage of medicines and fuel, rising food prices, social unrest and an increased risk of terrorism, as well as the aforementioned border disputes and tariffs.
Elections in Romania
Opposition social democrats in Romania took on an unexpected leadership role over the ruling national-liberals after the parliamentary elections.
The Social Democrat Party (PSD) garnered around 30% of the vote, while the centre-right National Liberal Party fell by around 5% behind. The progressive USR-Plus alliance, which has promised not to be part of any social democratic government, received around 15% of the vote.
The leader of the National Liberal Party, Prime Minister Ludovik Orban, said on Monday that coalition negotiations with the Social Democrats were out of the question, but he did not give a clear explanation of how his party hopes to achieve a new ruling majority in the 465-seat bicameral parliament.
“I want to be very clear, we will never negotiate with the PSD, we will not let the PSD harm Romania, ” Orban said.
During the previous leadership period, the Social Democrat-led government was severely criticised by the EU for interfering with the judiciary and the cascade of corruption scandals involving prominent members. However, in recent months, the government of national minorities has faced strong criticism for how it has managed to cope with the pandemic – which probably played a key role in the victory of the socialists.
Only two other parties crossed the 5% threshold to enter Parliament: a nationalist party that has close ties to the Orthodox Church, AUR (9%), and the party of the Hungarian minority, UDMR (6%).
The AUR, which is curious, turned out to be the most popular party abroad, having collected more than 25% of the diaspora’s votes and advocating the unification of Romania and Moldova.
The US is preparing to punish at least a dozen other Chinese officials for Hong Kong. Washington claims that Beijing is putting totalitarian pressure on the region – although officially Hong Kong is part of China.
The sanctions are expected to affect 14 people, Reuters reported.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Monday that Beijing would take countermeasures, without elaborating.
Beijing also stated that it strongly opposes and condemns US interference in Chinese internal affairs and sanctions against Chinese personnel under the pretext of Hong Kong.
It is unlikely that the Biden administration will roll back sanctions that are politically popular in Washington.
The US has already imposed sanctions on officials in connection with Beijing’s so-called suppression of dissent in Hong Kong, including the Executive Director of Carrie Lam.
Against this background, American interference is also intensifying in other areas of interest in China – Taiwan in particular. The Taiwanese foreign minister has openly called for an alliance against China.
According to the Taiwanese Foreign Minister, the international community must join forces to fight China’s “expansionism” and prevent an “invasion” of Taiwan through intelligence sharing.
The pressure on the Taiwan issue is also confirmed by recent statements from the US: according to Advisor of Joe Biden, retired General Stanley McChrystal, the United States is running out of time to confront China’s military rise and prevent an attack on Taiwan.
In an interview with Axios, the former commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan warned of China’s growing military potential. According to him, China has strengthened faster than expected and Biden should not be complacent about this threat.
“My concern would be, we wake up one morning and China has just done a fait accompli. They have just showered Taiwan with rockets,” he told Axios.
He warned that the time had come for a reply from Washington.
Thus, the US under Biden hinted that it would pursue a tough policy against China under the guise of “human rights” rhetoric. The same is true regarding the discourse around the country’s minority Uyghur population.
China launches digital yuan transfers
Meanwhile, despite all of this pressure, China continues to develop rapidly in terms of technology: China is introducing the digital yuan, which will broaden the use of the new currency beyond physical shops.
Huawei Technologies has released phones that support the special function of transferring funds from phone to phone. The electronic wallet application can freely convert cash into digital yuan. The E-wallet can be used at local supermarkets and some online shops, as well as used to pay bills for smartphone services.
Central Bank digital currencies are different from cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or even Libra, a digital coin supported by Facebook, because they are controlled and issued by the central bank.
China is thus developing its own digital economy so that it can become less dependent on international payment systems in the event of sanctions.