Campaign posters in Vienna for Freedom party presidential candidate, Norbert Hofer
Slowly but surely, the political tides are turning in favour of Austria’s rightwing populist Freedom party. Thanks to the impact of Europe’s refugee and migrant crisis, and thanks to declining public confidence in the two mainstream parties that have dominated Austrian politics since the second world war, the Freedom party is top of the opinion polls, consistently attracting more than 30 per cent of public support.
Now the Freedom party, unashamedly playing its anti-immigrant, anti-Islam cards, wants to upset the apple cart in Austria’s presidential election, to be held on Sunday. The top two candidates will go through to a second round on May 22. According to the latest polls, these will be Alexander Van der Bellen of the Greens and either Irmgard Griss, an independent, or Norbert Hofer of the Freedom party. Read more
Written by Samantha Pearson
Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff has not had a particularly easy life. As a Marxist guerrilla, she was captured, tortured and spent three years in jail. She’s gone through two divorces and was struck down by lymphoma in 2009. As president, she’s received death threats and was regularly humiliated during the World Cup when thousands of fans swore at her in unison in front of the world’s media. But even by Rousseff’s standards, this has been a week from hell. Read more
Frauke Petry, AfD leader, suggested that it ought to be acceptable for police to shoot refugees to stop them entering Germany.
A new chapter was written this week in the long and often tortured relationship of Britain’s ruling Conservative party with the European Parliament. This chapter comes with a twist. For once, something positive and sensible happened, though admittedly on a fairly small scale.
On Tuesday, British Conservative members of the assembly severed formal ties with Germany’s rightwing populist Alternative für Deutschland party. The two parties had been part of the same parliamentary group, the European Conservatives and Reformists, since the May 2014 elections to the EU legislature.
If you are in an unforgiving mood, you may think that the Conservatives in Strasbourg should have had nothing to do with AfD from the start. This was certainly the view of the Conservative party leadership in London. Prime Minister David Cameron and his advisers were well aware that Angela Merkel, the centre-right German chancellor, would take a dim view of Conservative flirting with AfD. Read more
By Gideon Rachman
It is the morning of June 24th. Britain has just voted narrowly to leave the EU. Jubilant pro-Brexit campaigners wave Union Jacks in Trafalgar Square. Read more
We know that Pope Francis was unimpressed with Donald Trump after the pontiff accused the mogul of not being Christian because of his stance on immigration and wanting to build a wall on the US-Mexico border. But is the Pontiff leaning towards Bernie Sanders? The Vermont senator announced with pride on Friday that the Vatican has invited him to speak at a conference about social and economic issues – one of his signature subjects. But it turned out the invitation did not come from Pope Francis himself, so we might have to hold our breath a little longer. The Vatican story was a nice break for Sanders who has spent much of this week trying to explain why he was unable to explain one of his main goals – to break up the banks. Here is our story on what Sanders wants to do.
The Democrats and Republicans are focusing on New York, which holds its primary on April 19. Trump is back in force on Twitter after recovering from his disappointing loss to Ted Cruz in Wisconsin. He reminded people on Friday that running for president is not the only thing he does every day. “So great to be in New York. Catching up on many things (remember, I am still running a major business while I campaign) and loving it!” Read more
Donald Trump had a terrible night on Tuesday, although you would not know that from his Twitter feed, which went uncharacteristically dark for hours after it emerged that Ted Cruz had crushed him in Wisconsin, aka the Badger State. Looking beyond the headline results should make the tycoon even more concerned, as his Texas rival has started making inroads into some groups – lower-educated and lower-income voters – that had been fertile terrain for Mr Trump.
The creator of this Trump colouring book may need to add some kryptonite to the superhero image of the billionaire on the cover. As for Mr Cruz’s image, he likes to make a virtue out of the fact that he is anti-establishment (which has inspired T-shirts like this), but the Texan may need to change his tune now that the establishment is coming on board to defeat Trump. Read more
Donald Trump is clearly not satisfied with simply being the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination. Watch the video he tweeted out today, which suggests that he sees himself as Luke Skywalker. His Republican opponents, who are scared stiff that he will destroy the party, might prefer to say Anakin Skywalker.Trump is facing the prospect of losing to Ted Cruz in the Wisconsin primary on Tuesday. That would increase the odds of a contested convention in July, which in turn would raise GOP hopes that the establishment could parachute in someone to save the party. Increasingly, the whispers in Washington are about Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, who has denied wanting the job, but has chastised Trump on several occasions recently. Read more
Within eight days, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has delivered verdicts in two of its most important cases since its foundation 23 years ago. They could not be more different. The decisions risk damaging both the court’s reputation and even the development of international law.
On March 24, one court chamber convicted former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic of genocide, for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, and nine other charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Read more
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Most everyone is down on Barack Obama’s foreign policy at the moment. A recent essay on the “Obama Doctrine” in The Atlantic is one reason. The ISIS attacks in Brussels another. But this week, Cuba showed at least one fruit of Obama’s approach. The president was flawless in Havana. Se puso la pelota en China – he hit the ball to China, as the saying goes. Read more
Wanted: A global public relations firm to rescue the reputation of a European government accused of breaking its country’s constitution, undermining democracy and scaring away foreign investment.
Poland’s embattled government is turning to western spin doctors for advice on how to win friends and influence people, as the new administration faces mass public protests, nervous foreign investors and criticism from international allies. Read more
While the US election campaign has provided plenty of fodder for the entertainment shows, the horrendous attacks in Belgium have again underscored why the policies of the candidates should be scrutinised. But first, we would like to offer our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the victims of the massacre. Read more
Do Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Brazil’s Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva ever think of each other and wonder “That might have been me”?
These are torrid times in both men’s countries – two titans of the emerging market world – as current events make clear. Read more
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With Republican elders’ anti-Trump battle shifting into desperation mode, party operatives are debating ways of torpedoing the tycoon’s candidacy at the GOP convention this summer.
One former candidate who has been on the wrong end of the establishment’s machinations is ex-congressman Ron Paul, who on Friday took to the airwaves to predict senior party figures would use any means necessary to block a Trump nomination. Read more
Under what circumstances might Russia cut off gas deliveries to Europe for a prolonged period of time, and what might be the consequences? Such a scenario may seem too absurd to contemplate. Russia depends heavily on energy exports to Europe and likes to be known as a reliable supplier. Even in the gas crises of 2006 and 2009, the Russians did not go so far. Why would Moscow do something that, on the face of things, would harm its own interests more than it would advance them? Read more
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(Key Biscayne) Donald Trump claimed that “bad things would happen” if the party tried to block him from getting the presidential nomination, warning about possible “riots’ at the Republican convention in July in Cleveland. Bad things have already happened to Marco Rubio, who lost his home state on Tuesday and now needs to find a new job since his senate term expires in January. To see just how badly the local son lost to Trump in Florida take a look at this map. Read more
After Jeb Bush scared Mitt Romney out of running in 2016 only to be outshone by Marco Rubio, his former protégé, one Republican joked that the ghost of Banquo had brought Macbeth to Miami. But on Super Tuesday – March 15 – it was Julius Caesar and the Ides of March that took centre stage in the Sunshine State. Donald Trump won a huge victory in the state, prompting “Little Marco” to drop out of the GOP race. Read more
Once upon a time Florida was the key state to watch in the Republican race. But with Donald Trump way ahead of Marco Rubio, the charismatic Cuban-American who has failed to live up to the hype, all eyes have shifted to Ohio. Trump abruptly cancelled a Monday night event in Miami so that he could campaign in the Buckeye State where John Kasich, the Ohio governor, has overtaken him in the polls. Ted Cruz has been focusing on other states where he has a better chance to pick up delegates.
Rubio is desperately trying to save his campaign, but the odds are heavily stacked against him. I went to a Trump rally in Boca Raton on Sunday where the mogul mercilessly mocked the Florida senator as “Liddle Marco”. If Rubio loses on Tuesday – when Florida, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina vote on Super Tuesday 2 – he has no path to the White House, unless the nominee picks him as his running mate. If you want a flavour of the theatre at Trump events, watch this video of his helicopter doing a fly-by in Boca. Read more
The Atlantic magazine’s article on “The Obama Doctrine” has caused ripples all over the world, because of the frankness with which the US president discussed his foreign policy with Jeffrey Goldberg, the article’s author. In the UK, most of the headlines have concerned President Obama’s criticism of David Cameron, over Libya. But, in fact, the article is full of fascinating stuff on all sorts of subjects. Here are some of my selected highlights:
Donald Trump’s press conference in Florida today was like a Peter Sellers movie. Ben Carson, the neurosurgeon who recently quit the race, endorsed Trump and said there were “two different Donald Trumps” – the public persona and the private “cerebral” persona who would be appearing more frequently on the trail.
Asked about this, the cerebral Trump said: “Perhaps there are two Donald Trumps”. But minutes later his alter-ego corrected him: “I don’t think there are two Donald Trumps”. Trump likes to shout “Stand up!” to human props at his rallies. Well, would the @realDonaldTrump please stand up! Read more