The news to 12 May 2013
A parliamentary election in Bulgaria marked by low turnout and widespread apathy has returned a hung parliament. GERB, the governing party, remain the largest faction but suffered the loss of between ten and twenty seats. Coalition building is expected to be a laborious process.
The World Jewish Congress has met in Budapest for its annual conference. Having made the deliberate choice to visit Hungary, in the face of increasingly open anti-Semitism in the country, the WJC censured Victor Orban’s government, despite the Prime Minister claiming that there was a ‘zero-tolerance’ approach to anti-Jewish slogans.
Protests have been held in Moscow to mark the anniversary of Vladimir Putin’s return as president of the Russian Federation and the criminal case against Aleksey Navalny. Turnout is down substantially on twelve months ago.
New U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, has met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow. The talks touched on the ongoing crisis in Syria, Iran’s nuclear programme, the fight against international terrorism and the Russian adoption ban preventing American families to adopt Russian children. The two countries have agreed to organise an international peace conference on the situation in Syria in order to end the conflict as soon as possible. The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has also visited Russia to discuss Syria with President Putin.
Vladimir Putin has accepted the resignation of his long-term aide and Deputy Prime Minister Vladislav Surkov. Surkov has been one of the chief ideologues and key players within the Russian political system for more than a decade, assisting to its fundamental transformation to what he has labelled a ‘sovereign democracy’.
Two major North American energy companies abandoned fracking projects in Poland after the operations were declared to be unprofitable. The Polish government had expressed heightened interest in the shale gas business as a way of reducing the country’s energy dependency on Russia.
The Slovenian government has announced a package of anti-crisis measures in an attempt to avoid an EU bailout. The measures are targeted mainly at the state-owned banking sector, which is suffering from a dangerous amount of bad debt. The government’s proposals will now be reviewed by the EU Commission. Source: BBC
The Georgian Orthodox Patriarch Iliya II has triggered a national debate on the issue of abortion. The topic revolves around questions of women’s rights and demographic change as abortions in Georgia (as in many societies around the world) tend to be gender-specific.
Russia’s Victory Day celebrations on May 9 have taken place in numerous cities across the country to mark the victory over Nazi Germany in 1945.
Source: RIA Novosti