Erdogan wins sweeping new powers
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on June 25 celebrated winning sweeping new powers in a decisive election victory, as his main rival accepted the outcome despite bitter complaints over the conduct of the campaign. A night of triumph for Erdogan saw the man who has dominated Turkey for the last 15 years declared winner of Sunday’s presidential poll without needing a second round and lead his ruling party-led alliance to an overall majority in parliament. Erdogan, whose victory was wider than predicted by many analysts, vowed to “rapidly” implement the new presidential system agreed in an April 2017 referendum that opponents fear will give him autocratic powers and could keep him in office for another decade. The new system creates a vertical of power with Erdogan at the top, giving him the power to appoint cabinet ministers and dispensing with the office of prime minister.
Split families in limbo
The fate of 2,300 children wrested from their parents at the US border with Mexico remained unclear on June 22, two days after Donald Trump ordered an end to migrant family separations, as the president accused Democrats of spinning “phony” tales of suffering for electoral gain. While the US leader bowed to global outrage over the splitting of families, conflicting messages were contributing to a sense of chaos in the handling of the crisis. The administration remained under siege amid continued accounts of parents unable to find their children and no system in place for reuniting them. Government agencies were unable to say what would happen to the children already sent to tent camps and other facilities spread across the country while their parents were charged with immigration offenses.
Ethiopia, Zimbabwe leaders survive attacks in rallies
Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa escaped attacks on their respective rallies in their countries, officials and witnesses said. In Addis Ababa, the grenade attack was launched by an unidentified assailant moments after 41-year-old prime minister, a former soldier who took office in April, finished his speech to tens of thousands of people gathered in the centre of the capital. In Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city, President Mnangagwa survived a blast at a ruling ZANU-PF party rally on June 23, his spokesman said, adding that he had been taken to safety after the incident. An AFP correspondent at the scene reported multiple injuries but could not immediately give a precise toll. Mnangagwa had been in the city to campaign for votes ahead of nationwide elections due on July 30. They are the first polls since veteran leader Robert Mugabe was ousted following a brief military takeover in November last year, after 37 years in power.
India lodges ‘strong protest’ with Pakistan
India on June 23 lodged a “strong protest” against “denial” of access to its top diplomat and consular officials in Islamabad to visit a Sikh shrine and meet Indian pilgrims in that country. The protest was conveyed to the Pakistan Deputy High Commissioner in New Delhi who was summoned. The Indian High Commissioner and consular officials wanted to visit Gurdwara Panja Sahib in Pakistan and meet the Indian pilgrims but were not allowed despite a travel permission having been granted by the Pakistan Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement. A strong protest was also registered by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad at the incident. This is the second time that Pakistan has denied access to Indian High Commissioner to meet the visiting pilgrims who are Indian nationals, the previous occasion having come in April this year.