IYDU’s Vice Chairman and Tanzanian MP John Heche has together with six other MP’s from the opposition been suspended from the Tanzanian parliament on undemocratic ways by the ruling government party. Tanzania’s socialist government, led by the Party of the Revolution, has since it was re-elected last October sought to suppress political freedoms in order to strengthen its power.
July 12 – 13, the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation hosted together with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) and the Democratic Union of Africa (DUA) a Winter School for African youth. The conference was held in Kampala, Uganda, and aimed political active youth from centre-right political parties in Sub-Saharan Africa. (more…)
December last year, incumbent President John Mahama from the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) was declared winner of the presidential election after receiving 50.7 percent of the votes. His opponent Nana Akufo-Addo from the New Patriotic Party (NPP), with which JHS cooperates, received 47,74 percent and just as in 2008 it became a victory by a narrow margin for NDC, during that time represented by the late John Atta Mills. (more…)
June 12-14, the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation organized two conferences with a total number of 60 women and youth from the opposition party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Accra, the capital of Ghana. The topic of the conferences was campaign and communication and seminars offered both theoretical and practical exercises.
“We have learned how important the institutions are for democracy to work,” explains Anthony Puowele Karbo, Chairman of the NPP’s youth organization in Ghana. He and Mustapha Ussif was part of a group of young politicians from the Foundation’s sister party in Ghana that visited Sweden for a week in March.
Mustapha Ussif recounts the group’s visit to the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the City of Stockholm. He was impressed by that fact that the department’s work goes on as planned also when the political leadership of the city changes.
“This is not the case in Ghana”, he explains, adding that in this respect Ghana has something to learn from Sweden.
Anthony Puowele Karbo is impressed by the great tolerance that political opponents show each other. (more…)
“Where the future is uncertain, there are greater opportunities and many reasons to influence” writes Gunnar Hökmark on the developments following the Arab spring. He is convinced that when “the United States turns inward, because the country has its own domestic problems and that there is an aversion to involvement in other countries, it is important that the EU steps up and takes responsibility.” (more…)
Freedom House recently released the annual report Freedom in the World – a global survey of political and civil rights. In 2011, the Arab Spring triggered progress in some countries in the Middle East. On the other hand, the uprisings provoked leaders in surrounding countries to suppress real or potential threats to their rule.
In total 12 countries showed overall improvement, while 26 countries registered net decline.
In mid-November a delegation from the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation visited Cairo and Alexandria. The purpose of the visit was to research possibilities for future cooperations in the region. Thomas Gür, who was part of the delegation, describes the complex political landscape that reveals itself when the Arab Spring turns into fall and winter.
When we visited Egypt the country faced its first round of elections to the parliament’s lower house – an election which was held in approximately a third of the constituencies on 28 November. The second round of elections took place in mid-December and the third will be held early January. Another three rounds of elections will later be held to the parliament’s upper house in March of 2012.
The complexity of the electoral process is a result of an Egyptian election law which states that there must be a judge present at every polling station to ensure that the process is conducted in a right manner. And since there are three times as many polling stations as there are judges in the country, elections to parliament’s two chambers are held in three rounds each. After the elections a committee of 100 people will be appointed to write Egypt’s new constitution.
This process is tainted with serious weaknesses – not least as the results of each election are made public which influences the following elections. The complexity of it however reflects that these are the first free elections since before the military coup in 1952. (more…)
September 19-23, a delegation from the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Ghana visited Stockholm. The delegation consisted of ten politically active women from the NPP, the Foundation’s cooperation partner in Ghana, who will be running for parliament in the 2012 election.
During the visit the delegation met with a number of Swedish politicians, among them Members of Parliament Cecilia Brinck, Cecilia Widegren and Walburga Habsburg Douglas, who in addition is Chairman of the International Women’s Democrat Union (IWDU) and Board Member of the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation, Sofia Arkelsten, Secretary General of the Moderate Party, Eva Solberg, Chair of the Stockholm Moderate Women, Kristoffer Tamsons, Chief of Planning at the Prime Minister’s Office, and Gunnar Oom, State Secretary to the Minister for Trade. Hedvig Anderson, head of Communication at the Moderate Party, also met with them to share her experiences from the party’s successful election campaign in 2010. Furthermore, the program included study visits to an elementary school in Solna and to several social work organizations. The New Patriotic Party is the second largest political party in Ghana and is currently in opposition. The NPP holds 107 of 230 seats in Parliament.