Large numbers of Afghani voters headed to the polls on Saturday, despite the looming threat of violence which have overshadowed the run-up to the nation’s long-awaited parliamentary elections. In the months leading up to elections, ten candidates were murdered, 1/3 of polling centres were closed due to fears of violence and several explosions targeted polling stations, killing dozens and injuring many more. Afghanistan’s large young population is expected to influence the vote, as the nation desperately seeks better living conditions, jobs, education and an end to the war with the Taliban.
Over in Cameroon, veteran president Paul Biya has won a seventh term in office, in elections characterised by low turnouts and voter intimidation. Cameroon’s octogenarian leader won 71.3% of the vote, following a year-long period of violent protests and attacks by separatist rebels which have left hundreds dead. According to African Union election observers, the polls were ‘generally peaceful’, however ‘most parties were not represented’ due to fears of violence and intimidation.
The Nicaraguan government has freed 30 people who were detained last week for anti-government protests. The anti-government campaigners were arrested last week after President Ortega announced last month that all anti-government protests would be illegal, following months of violent clashes, during which hundreds of people have been killed. Many human rights groups have expressed concern over the situation in Nicaragua, and the UN have compiled an extensive report detailing the human rights violations and abuses in the context of protests in Nicaragua.
And in other news, here is my favourite International News Story of The Week:
In the past week, we have witnessed Miss Iraq fleeing her homeland following a flurry of murders of high-profile Iraqi women, the ongoing saga of missing Saudi journalist Khashoggi, key Brexit issues remaining murky in Brussels, and Merkel’s allies losing momentum in regional German elections.
Former Miss Iraq Shimaa Qasim Abdulrahman has fled Iraq after receiving death threats, just a week after Iraqi social media star Tara Fares was shot dead in her car in Baghdad, and following months of murders of high profile Iraqi women. Ms Abdulrahman stated that she believed her life would be in danger if she had remained in Iraq, as the government struggles to prevent the murders of influential Iraqi women who champion female empowerment.
The Jamal Khashoggi mystery continues as Saudi Arabia experience mounting diplomatic pressure following the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul earlier this month. Turkish sources allege Khashoggi has been murdered, and the Turkish foreign ministry have announced that they will search Saudi Arabia’s consulate this week. Trump stated that Saudi will face ’severe punishment’ if evidence proves Saudi was responsible for the murder of the journalist.
Over in Brussels, UK and EU officials have both said a number of key issues remain unclear following the latest round of Brexit talks. Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier met for an intense meeting ahead of a EU summit next week. Barnier tweeted that issues such as a hard border with Ireland remain unclear, but both parties are confident negotiations are moving forward, as May faces increasing pressure at home.
Across the border in Germany, Merkel’s CSU allies lose majority in Bavaria, which greatly shakes up the German political scene. The chancellor’s conservative sister party suffered massive loses in Bavaria, as the CSU appears to have lost voters’ approval following their controversial stance on immigration. Read Cathy’s article on Merkel’s party politics for deeper analysis on the matter.
Favourite International News Story of The Week: