Istanbul’s Mayoral Election: situational brief

  • Ekrem İmamoğlu has risen to prominence as the Mayor of Istanbul since 2019, with a background in business administration and human resource management from Istanbul University.
  • Despite facing legal challenges, including a conviction for “insulting electoral officials” that has not resulted in a political ban pending appeal, İmamoğlu’s popularity and leadership in Istanbul were reinforced by a wide-margin victory in the 2024 mayoral election.
  • İmamoğlu’s appeal across various voter demographics and his handling of Istanbul’s challenges has led to some considering him a potential future presidential candidate.
  • Istanbul has always been a crucial political battleground in Turkey, and Erdoğan’s own political career began with his tenure as the city’s mayor in the 1990s. 
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India’s Election Bond Scheme: situational brief

Summary

  • The Election Bond Scheme was launched by the Indian government in 2018, allowing anonymous donations to political parties via bonds issued by the State Bank of India, aimed at increasing transparency in political funding.
  • Despite initial optimism, the scheme faced criticism for lacking transparency, as it enabled donors to contribute anonymously, raising concerns about undisclosed influences on policymaking.
  • Analysis indicated a disproportionate advantage to the ruling party, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) receiving the majority of funds through these bonds, highlighting potential biases in the distribution of donations.
  • Legal and ethical concerns emerged regarding the potential for an influx of unaccounted money and foreign influence in the political system, prompting challenges in the Supreme Court of India and calls for reform to address these issues.
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Sri Lanka: Briefing Note — 2024-03-26

For a detailed timeline of major events in Sri Lanka post-2019, please visit our Sri Lanka Timeline.

Our previous Sri Lanka briefing notes can found here.

Election season begins

  • While speculation continues to run rampant in certain circles about whether the Presidential or Parliamentary election will be held first, it seems clear that President Wickremesinghe (RW) intends to hold the former first.
    • He continues to position the economic reforms and IMF program as the priority for the country, and the only way forward for Sri Lanka.
    • Leveraging that, his personal positioning is that of the only person with the expertise, and the ability to form a broad consensus among the political class to carry through with it.
    • The question, as has been the case throughout his career, is whether he can convince ordinary voters that this is the case.
  • RW’s main points of attack were on full-display at a rally for the United National Party that he leads.
    • Speaking about the breakaway SJP party (led by Sajith Premadasa((SP))), he stated:

the foundational principles of the United National Party are absent in the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), appealed to former United National Party members who joined the SJB to unite in safeguarding the nation from indebtedness and contribute to constructing a secure future for generations to come.

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Global Farmer Protests: Briefing Note

Recently, the agricultural sector has experienced significant unrest, manifesting in waves of farmer protests across the globe. Particularly prominent in the EU and India, these movements have been driven by a confluence of economic, environmental, and political challenges, reflecting broader concerns about sustainability, equity, and governance in the agricultural domain. This briefing note provides an overview of these protests, highlighting key examples, common themes and issues, and the wider political implications.

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Navigating the Era of Gerontocracy: Health, Age, and Political Stagnation

Lately, the remarkable strides in medical science have undeniably enhanced the quality and expectancy of human life. This triumph, however, has ushered in an unintended consequence in the political arena, leading to the emergence of a gerontocracy—a governance system where the elderly hold significant power and influence. This phenomenon raises pertinent questions about the interplay between health, age, and political stagnation, and how these factors shape governance in various nations across the globe.

The term ‘gerontocracy’ originates from the Greek words ‘geron’ meaning old man and ‘kratos’ meaning power. It aptly describes a situation where leadership is predominantly in the hands of an older generation, often resulting in a resistance to change and innovation. This is particularly poignant in today’s fast-paced world, where adaptability and technological savvy are paramount.

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Sri Lanka: Briefing Note

For a detailed timeline of major events in Sri Lanka post-2019, please visit our Sri Lanka Timeline.

Our previous Sri Lanka briefing notes can found here.

Political Landscape

  • The landscape continues to be dominated by discourse around the leftist NPP party: this time in the aftermath of their visit to India on an official visit.
    • The NPP is attempting to pitch this as an example of their growth into a party fit for government. 
    • Its opponents are trying to portray the visit as hypocrisy and proof that for all their extravagant rhetoric, the NPP are constrained by the same geopolitical realities as every other aspirant for government. 
  • The biggest winner here is the Indian government. It is now starkly apparent that whoever forms a government will have to defer to the political muscle and economic might of India.
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Pakistan: Situational update & digital campaign analysis

Summary

  • The vote count for Pakistan’s recent election has concluded, with Imran Khan’s allies winning the most seats in the National Assembly, but not enough to form a majority.
  • With no single party having enough seats to create a government independently, hopes of ending political turmoil are dampened. Khan’s party has declared victory and is urging all institutions to respect its mandate.
  • However, there have been protests and petitions challenging the election results, and foreign governments have expressed concerns about irregularities and manipulation.
  • Khan’s populist rhetoric and the country’s internet-savvy youth are reshaping Pakistani politics. His party used social media and AI to reach voters and mobilize support, bypassing state censorship.
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Interconnected:  The electrical grids of India, Bhutan, and Nepal

Summary

  • While the electrical grids of India, Bhutan, and Nepal aren’t fully synchronized as a single system, they are interconnected through various points and agreements, allowing for electricity exchange. 
  • As landlocked and mountainous countries, Nepal and Bhutan have limited options to industrialize, but have hydropower potential. Electricity can be an important export for both. 
  • The electrical grid connections facilitate the trade in electricity and contribute to regional energy security. Countries like Nepal and Bhutan export surplus electricity and import energy during periods of deficit, thereby supporting their energy needs and economic development.
  • These interconnections between India, Bhutan, and Nepal have spurred significant geopolitical and domestic political issues within the region, largely shaped by strategic interests, economic dependencies, and environmental concerns.
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Sri Lanka: Briefing Note

For a detailed timeline of major events in Sri Lanka post-2019, please visit our Sri Lanka Timeline.

Political Landscape

  • As Sri Lanka celebrated its 76th Independence Day on the 4th of February, the political outlook with elections due in August/September continues to be murky.
  • At a speech to mark the occasion, President Ranil Wickremesinghe stated:
    • “On several occasions, I pointed out the seriousness and danger of the looming economic crisis we are facing today. I have already said that the first six months of this year will be extremely difficult. We have to face this difficult situation in our stride, although unwillingly, for the sake of the country.”.
  • With an eye towards elections, this shows awareness of the ongoing discontent with many of the measures taken under the IMF program, such as increased taxes and changes to the social safety net.
  • Wickremesinghe’s future electoral success is contingent on his ability to persuade the electorate that the current austerity is for the greater good, and the only available option.
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PPM Newsletter

We’ve moved our newsletter, formerly hosted on Substack, to this blog.

The (youth) gender divide

Young voters have been a constant theme for this newsletter. One article published recently has caused a great deal of controversy by suggesting that, contrary to popular belief, Gen Z can actually be considered as two distinct groups rather than one. Specifically, women aged 18 to 30 are significantly more liberal compared to their male counterparts [paywall]. This marks a shift from previous decades where both genders were relatively evenly distributed across liberal and conservative ideologies. In fact, the difference in liberal views between women and men in this age group is as high as 30%.

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