A Crisis is Born in Italy

Well as almost everyone must surely know by now, Romano Prodi’s government resigned earlier in the week. The present situation is still far from clear, with President Giorgio Napolitano holding urgent consultations with the various interested parties even as I write. Since my interest in Italy is largely an economic one (see accompanying post to follow this) and since I do not consider myself to be any sort of expert on the Italian political process, I asked Manuel Alvarez Rivera (who runs the Election Resources on the Internet site) and who is a political scientist with detailed knowledge of Italian politics for an opinion. Below the fold you can find what he sent me.

At the same time anyone inside or outside of Italy with a different take or perspective please feel free to add something in the comments section.
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Troglodytes in Turkey?

Well it seems that Spain’s troglodytes aren’t the only ones hovering around the EU arena. Turkey’s Land Forces Commander Gen. Yasar Buyukanit might be another case it seems:

As we feared in our editorial on Monday the accusations from the prosecutor that the Land Forces commander tried to influence the judicial process by making statements on behalf of a defendant have been blown out of proportion that could well turn into a full-blown domestic crisis….

The background to this situation is explained here:

The reasons for the tension between the government and the military, which are now rising over Gen. Buyukanit, are briefly as follows:

Erdogan’s presidential bid: Some circles claim that the AK Party leader wants to become president through majority support in Parliament in 2007. But people close to the AK Party indicate that Gen. Buyukanit, who is set to become chief of General Staff this August, is the biggest obstacle to Erdogan’s presidential aspirations. That’s the reason for rumors about Gen. Buyukanit sparked before he became Land Forces Commander and that some circles argued that the AK Party didn’t want to see Buyukanit helm the land forces

Uneasy AK Party members: The AK Party deputies see the presence of Buyukanit — who often inveighs against fundamentalist movements, uses Kemalist undertones in his statements, makes statements contradicting the AK Party’s policies on many issues ranging from Cyprus to northern Iraq, and terrorism to religious vocational Imam Hatip high schools — as a direct threat to their rule. Some AK Party deputies don’t want Buyukanit to assume the post to show the AK Party’s power to everyone. It’s striking that some AK Party deputies say, “He did what we couldn’t do,” referring to the prosecutor that prepared the indictment.

Now from the standpoint of my sparse knowledge of Turkish politics it is hard to tell just what sort of a ‘troglodyte’ General Buyukanit actually is, or indeed whether or not he is a troglodyte at all. One thing however is clear: the balance between military and political institutions in Turkey is far from ‘normalised’ and a right royal battle seems to be going on.

On another front, this article by Ayhan Simsek draws attention to the extent to which developments in Iraq may cast a long and important shadow over Turkey’s EU accession aspirations.


As I discussed in my post yesterday, one of the strengths of Yuschenko’s campaign has been the way he’s created the positive impression that he’s going to be President which has made it easy for people to rally to him, not just making every day’s protest bigger than the last but also in the way he’s created a parallel authority and obtained the support of the instruments of the state (diplomats, police, armed forces etc). See this Kyiv Post article for more analysis of the same issue.

This is what makes the vote in the Ukrainian Parliament today important. Earlier in the week, Yuschenko’s supporters in Parliament tried to get a vote on the same issue, but as a quorum of deputies wasn’t present (only 191 turned up, when 226 of the 450 deputies were needed) no vote was taken – though Yuschenko did make his symbolic oath to be President. Today, though, he was able to get the independent members (as well as some defectors from Yanukovich’s supporters) to back him which meant – even though Parliament’s decisions have no effect without President Kuchma’s signature – they could get the symbolic decision of a majority of the deputies overturning the election result. It’s another piece of legitimacy for Yuschenko, and it also shows how he’s maintaining his momentum and picking up new support.

Elsewhere, there’s another new Ukrainian blog at Orange Ukraine, lots more pictures and analysis at Le Sabot, Neeka has more hopeful posts (as she says: “It’s hard to believe but it does look like this country will not have a civil war anytime soon, despite some people’s fears and other people’s hopes.“) and lots more pictures, Foreign Notes discusses ‘my mother-in-law, revolutionary’, SCSU Scholars have a report from an election monitor in Donetsk and Daniel Drezner has a good round up of the news.