Protests in Poland and Russia, Elections in Germany and South Korea: The Weekend Behind, the Week Ahead
- By Emily TamkinEmily Tamkin is a staff writer at Foreign Policy. She writes for FP’s The Cable, a real-time take on the news in Washington and the wider world. She has been at FP since the fall of 2016, before which she was an associate editor at New America, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington. She has a B.A. in Russian literature from Columbia University, an M.Phil. in Russian and East European studies from the University of Oxford, and studied Soviet dissidence in archival centers in Moscow, Tbilisi, and, on a Fulbright, in Bremen — all of which means that at FP, she writes when she can on Russia and Central and Eastern Europe.
While Emmanuel Macron bested Marine Le Pen to become the next president of France, other political movements were shaking out around the world.
Some 90,000 took to the streets of Warsaw on Saturday to protest the anti-democratic measures of Poland’s ruling, far-right Law and Justice Party. The opposition party, Civic Platform, organized the protest to push back against the ruling party’s attempts to undermine independent Polish institutions. On May 3, on the anniversary of the signing of Poland’s first constitution, President Andrzej Duda announced his intent to hold a new constitutional referendum, sparking concerns about creeping authoritarianism. The European Union will decide whether it should address these concerns later this month.
Protests also swept Russia this weekend, where liberals and nationalists alike rallied together against Russian President Vladimir Putin. Alexei Navalny, Russia’s most prominent opposition figure and presidential candidate, wasn’t in attendance. Navalny was partially blinded after pro-Putin goons threw green antiseptic on him, so he reportedly left Russia for Barcelona to seek treatment. The government previously told Navalny he couldn’t leave the country because of a criminal conviction. The charges were widely viewed as politically motivated.
In other electoral news, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right party performed well in Sunday’s Schleswig-Holstein state elections. Experts say the elections signaled Merkel was making a comeback against center-left opponent Martin Schultz’s surge. German federal elections will be held this autumn.
Well before that, however, are South Korea’s elections, which will take place Tuesday. Moon Jae-in of the left-leaning Minjoo party is the frontrunner. Moon’s win would pull South Korea to the left of its current caretaker government (and that of previous president Park Geun-hye, currently in jail awaiting trial for corruption). Moon is also expected to push back against U.S. President Donald Trump’s hard stance against North Korea as tensions in the region rise.
Photo credit: WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP/Getty Images