Mirziyoyev from Uzbekistan re-elected with over 80% of the vote
In addition, a possible referendum on the euro in Croatia, the end of the blockade in eastern Ukraine, etc.
The big story: Outgoing President of Uzbekistan wins new term as President
What happened: President Shavkat Mirziyoyev will have another term to rule Uzbekistan following an election without a strong challenger, Bne IntelliNews reports. Compared to his four challengers, Mirziyoyev enjoyed massive support from state and administrative resources ahead of the elections.
More context: The Chairman of the Central Election Commission, Zainuddin Nizomhojaev, said today that Mirziyoev obtained 80.1% of the vote, with a turnout also above 80%, RFE / RL reports. While Mirziyoev opened Uzbekistan to Foreign investments and reconnected with its neighborscritics say he enjoys virtually unlimited political power and his relatives are exploiting the situation.
To note: An international monitoring mission led by the OSCE in Europe said today that despite some movement in the ongoing reforms, the election was “not really competitive”. Uzbekistan has not held elections deemed free and fair since its independence from the Soviet Union.
News from the regions
Central Europe and Baltic States
- Polish authorities says that a number of border guards were under medical care after sustaining injuries while meeting with a group of 60 migrants who tried to enter the country from Belarus, AP Reports. The incident occurred after migrants attempted to break the razor-wire border fence with a branch, according to a video posted on the Polish border guards website. After an exponential increase in illegal migrants trying to enter the EU from Belarus this year, Poland built a fence at their mutual border and posted 7,000 soldiers, guards and police to prevent crossings. According to Deputy Interior Minister Bartosz Grodecki, Poland is seeking to cooperate with the European border agency Frontex either to organize the readmission of illegal migrants, or to place them on return flights directly to their country of origin.
- Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban accused the EU and the US of trying to meddle in Hungarian politics, Reuters reports. Speaking in Budapest on Saturday during a celebration of the 65th anniversary of the Hungarian uprising, Orban said: “Brussels talks to us and treats us, along with the Poles, as if we were an enemy… It is time for them in Brussels to understand that even the Communists could not defeat us. Orban also accused Washington and Hungarian-born billionaire George Soros to use their money, their media and their networks to help the Hungarian left-wing opposition get elected in next year’s polls. “But what matters is not what they want in Brussels, in Washington and in the media which is run from abroad. It will be the Hungarians who will decide their own fate, ”said Orban.
South Eastern Europe
- A Croatian political party try to throw a referendum to adoption of the euro in the hope of maintaining the Croatian kuna as the national currency, Euractiv reports. The Sovereignist Party argues that Croatia is not ready to adopt the EU currency due to the current coronavirus crisis and rising inflation. An anonymous party member, who is also a member of parliament, said that the euro is being introduced by force, without public participation, “and we [the Sovereignists] want to change that. According to the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration, the initiative requires the signature of at least 10% of eligible voters for the referendum to appear on the ballot.
- In a possible case of corruption, Huawei paid large sums of money through offshore shell companies to a number of people related to Serbian state-owned telecommunications company Telekom Srbija for alleged consultancy work, OCCRP Reports. One of them, former Telekom Srbija executive Igor Jecl, reportedly received over $ 1.4 million in the form of contracts, dividends, loans, advisory fees and an apartment, all provided by the Chinese telecommunications giant through an offshore company. Huawei signed an agreement with Telekom Srbija in 2016 to renovate Serbia’s telecommunications infrastructure. The agreements became public through the Pandora Papers, a leak of millions of documents obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists that were shared with news organizations such as OCCRP.
Eastern Europe and Russia
- separatists in eastern Ukraine yesterday ended a weeklong blockade of hotel accommodation ECOS monitors, Reuters reports. The blockade was triggered by the capture of a separatist officer by Ukrainian government forces earlier this month. According to Natalya Nikonorova, the foreign minister of the self-proclaimed country Donetsk People’s Republic, the demonstrators ended the blockade due to a coronavirus ban on public events starting today. An anonymous Western diplomatic source told Reuters that the separatists could have used the coronavirus restrictions as an excuse. “I think that’s the cover to undo it,” the source said, “a fig leaf to make it look like it’s not a descent.”
- Russian the authorities expressed their dissatisfaction after Washington added the Russians to a list of “homeless nationals” who can travel to third countries to apply for US visas, RFE / RL reports. A spokesperson for the US State Department said that “the decision of the Russian government to ban the United States from retaining, hiring or recruiting Russian or third country personnel has serious consequences for our ability to provide consular services ”. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a Telegram article that the United States “has been destroying the consular system in Russia for many years.” The US State Department defines “homeless” candidates as nationals of countries where the United States has either no consular representation or when the political or security situation prevents consular staff from issuing visas. Besides Russia, the list includes Cuba, Eritrea, Iran, Libya, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen.
- Residents of the capital of Kazakhstan are mobilizing to save a nearby lake threatened by a development project, RFE / RL reports. Activists and environmentalists say the Little Taldykol, as well as wetlands and a green area that surrounds it, is a natural habitat for many species of birds, fish and other wildlife that would be severely affected by the construction work. City officials claim that Small Taldykol, which is located southwest of Nour-Sultan, is not a “real lake” but an “extremely dirty” tank consisting of accumulated sewage and sleet. Additionally, they say work is underway to fill the lake and clean up harmful substances in the area. However, activists said the lake was filled with not only dirt, but also garbage such as plastic garbage and old tires.
- The wife of Turkish philanthropist Osman Kavala described his continued detention, which provoked an international outcry, as “inexplicable”, AP Reports. “There is no way this situation can be explained logically or legally,” Ayse Bugra said in comments posted on the Halk TV website. Last week, Ankara summoned the ambassadors of 10 countries, including Germany and the United States, after calling for Kavala’s release. Turkey rebuffed past US demands to release Kavala, who was locked up for four years without conviction. Kavala acquitted of 2013 anti-government charges protests, but the acquittal was overturned, and earlier this year a Turkish court combined the charge with one of attempting to overthrow the government and spying.