Home > Uncategorized > Politics this week: 14th – 20th October 2006

Politics this week: 14th – 20th October 2006

Politics this week

Oct 19th 2006
From The Economist print edition


The United Nations Security Council imposed sanctions on North Korea to protest against its nuclear bomb test. Condoleezza Rice, America’s secretary of state, headed to Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing to ask that the sanctions be fully implemented (including a provision to search North Korean ships). China, North Korea’s nearest thing to an ally, suggested it would not do so. North Korea said it viewed the sanctions as an act of war and reports suggested it was preparing a second nuclear test. See article

Tamil rebels carried out attacks on government targets in Sri Lanka, including a suicide-bomb aimed at a naval convoy that killed over 100 people, most of whom were sailors. The government continued an air attack on a rebels stronghold, banishing hope that the war will end soon. See article

Hafeez Saeed, the founder of Lashkar-e-Toiba, the biggest jihadist group fighting Indian rule in Kashmir, was released from custody in Pakistan. Mr Saeed heads another Islamist group, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, that is banned by America, but not by Pakistan. He denies America’s claim that the group raises funds for fighters.

With American casualties rising in Iraq—more than 60 American soldiers have been killed so far this month—the debate over possible new strategies in the conflict intensified in Washington. See articleE+

The police in Israel recommended that the country’s figurehead president, Moshe Katsav, should face charges of rape. But unless he steps down, he cannot be tried until his term ends next August. See article

A state of emergency was declared in the Nigerian state of Ekiti after the governor was impeached on corruption charges. Nigeria’s financial crimes commission is investigating 33 of the country’s 36 governors for corruption. See article

After elections in Côte d’Ivoire were delayed because of the slow pace of disarmament by government and rebel militias, African leaders recommended that President Laurent Gbagbo be allowed to stay in office until a ballot can be held, but with reduced powers.

South Africa secured a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council for the first time. The government said it would use its position to campaign for UN reform, including the expansion of the council to include a permanent African member.

Hugo Chávez’s expensive campaign to win Venezuela a seat on the Security Council appeared to be heading for defeat. Venezuela trailed its American-backed rival, Guatemala, in more than 20 rounds of voting, but neither won the required two-thirds majority. Diplomats expected that a third Latin American country would emerge as a compromise candidate. See article


The remains of Juan Domingo Perón, Argentina’s most revered and most divisive political leader, were reburied in a new mausoleum outside Buenos Aires. The ceremony, attended by thousands, was marred when fighting broke out between rival factions of the ruling political movement that bears his name.

Álvaro Noboa, a banana magnate and Ecuador’s richest man, came first in the country’s presidential election, winning 26.2% of the vote. He will face a run-off ballot against Rafael Correa, a leftist, next month. See article

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the centre-left loser of Mexico’s presidential election, suffered a second defeat when his party’s candidate lost a gubernatorial election in his home state, Tabasco. The defeat will undermine Mr López Obrador’s campaign of “civic resistance” against Mexico’s government.

Amid complaints from civil-liberties groups that he was reversing basic constitutional rights, George Bush signed into law new rules on the detention and prosecution of terrorism suspects. Republicans seized on the act to bash Democrats for being soft on security issues. Lawyers predicted challenges to the legislation, which was partly designed to clarify the law.

An earthquake of magnitude 6.7 shook Hawaii, causing some structural damage but no serious injuries. Possibly still stung by criticisms over Hurricane Katrina (and maybe with one eye on the mid-term elections) the White House declared it a disaster and ordered the release of federal assistance. It did the same for a snowstorm in upstate New York and flooding that occurred—in August—in Alaska.

Another potential congressional scandal brewed as Curt Weldon, a Republican who is in a tight election race in his suburban Philadelphia district, confirmed that the Justice Department was investigating his connection to lobbying contracts through his daughter’s firm. Mr Weldon blamed “left-wing liberal activists” for the timing of the investigation.

Arnold Schwarzenegger burnished his green credentials by announcing a pact with north-eastern states, including New York, to co-ordinate existing plans on reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. See articleE+

The Polish government survived a vote of confidence after the conservative Law and Justice party lured the populist Self Defence party, led by Andrzej Lepper, back into a coalition. Mr Lepper, who was sacked a month ago, will be the agriculture minister. The opposition accused the government of “squandering Poland’s prestige”.

Turkey continued to protest over the French National Assembly’s vote for a bill to criminalise denial of the 1915 Armenian genocide. Many Turks detected yet another attempt to derail their efforts to join the European Union. See article

The new centre-right government of Sweden, led by Fredrik Reinfeldt, had a rocky start when two female ministers were forced to quit. One had registered her nanny improperly; the other had not paid her television licence.

Iceland upset conservationists by announcing a resumption of commercial whaling. It plans to take nine fin whales, an endangered species, and 30 minke whales a year.


France’s three candidates for the Socialist Party nomination for president in next year’s election staged a televised debate. The front-runner, Ségolène Royal, emerged without too much damage, although some recent polls have put her behind the main centre-right candidate, Nicolas Sarkozy.

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