It is the end of the first week of 2017. Today, I take a retrospective look at some of the major happenings in politics in 2016 across the world:
Brexit: On June 23, after massive leave and stay campaigns, the leave campaigners were victorious at the polls. The referendum meant that a secession from the European Union was preferred by the majority of Brits, albeit by a slim majority. With Brexit came a new Prime Minister, Theresa May, following the resignation of David Cameron. With Scotland having voted to remain, debates of Scottish independence are once again on the table. The initial independence referendum failed but are Scots now ready to vote for their independence with Brexit in the picture? Time will tell.
The details of Brexit are still blurry and the timeline to the exit is still unclear but we await the exit plan of the Thera May led government.
Parliamentary Coup in Brazil: In a well-orchestrated plot, Michel Temer and his merry band of senators (many of whom are being investigated for corruption) had their way and successfully ousted Dilma Rousseff. Rousseff was accused of issuing decrees to doctor the budget in order to hide a fiscal deficit. As she continues to plea her innocence, Rousseff and many of Latin America’s leaders viewed the coup d’état as a means to impose neo-liberalism on a people that voted for a socialist party.
Trump ascends to the Presidency: In what came as a surprise to many, Donald Trump, riding on a populist wave rose to become President-elect of the United States, having beaten Hillary Clinton. In what many termed the battle to select the lesser of two evils and a fight against establishment politics, it hardly came as a surprise to me that Donald Trump came out victorious. With the discontent with the establishment (which Clinton represents), many overlooked Donald Trump’s many absurdities. With his transition team of billionaires in place, questions are now being raised about whether he really intends to drain the swamp. With January 20 fast approaching, we brace for the years of the Trump Presidency. We will be sure to keep a close eye on developments surrounding his tenure (as well as stay tuned in to his Twitter)!
Fidel Castro passes: Leader of the Cuban Revolution, Comandante Fidel Castro Ruz, made his transition from among mortal beings. Castro’s was met with immense sadness the world over. Castro’s revolution, despite a US embargo which stole trillions from its economy, has managed to excel especially in the areas of health and education. Fidel Castro’s legacy is indeed eternal, not just in Cuba, but in all the countries which he impacted over his lifetime. Long live Fidel Castro and long live the revolution.
Colombian Peace Deal fails: In what came as a surprise to many, Colombians voted against the peace process between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and the Colombian Government which would have brought to an end over 50 years of civil war. With that no vote, both parties are back at the table to renegotiate after years of negotiation on a possible peace deal.
Syrian rebels lose control of Aleppo: In the dying moments of 2016, Assad’s government manages to regain control of the sections of Aleppo that were under terrorist control. Assad’s regime has been under pressure for some years now and has seen the terrorist/rebel groups being supported by international forces to take down the legitimate government. Syria is now under a nationwide ceasefire brokered by Russia and Turkey. If Donald Trump stands by his statements on Syria, we expect a less confrontational approach from the US going forward.
Coup attempted in Turkey: Largely blamed on one of Turkey’s most wanted, Fethullah Gulen, the Turkish government in July faced an attempted coup d’état. The coup was led at home by a faction within the Turkish Armed Forces who labelled themselves ‘Peace at Home Council’. With disharmony in the ranks, the coup was quickly averted with mass incarceration of plotters in the aftermath.
Jammeh clings to power: After initially acknowledging electoral defeat, Yahya Jammeh backtracked on his initial stance, notifying those at home and abroad that he would not be standing down as President of The Gambia. Jammeh now faces off with the African trade bloc (ECOWAS) and many of the nation’s international partners.
The list was ranked in no particular order. Feel free to comment with political events that you believe should have been added or removed from the list.
To all my readers, thanks for supporting my blog 2016 and all the best for this new year!