Lebanon re-elects its political status quo
Lebanon finally held a parliamentary election, nine years after the last one and following several false starts over the past five years, but the results have not brought change to the country’s political status quo. The same old political elites continue to dominate Lebanon’s political scene, winning the vast majority of seats. Turn out in this election was lower than in the previous one, standing at 49%. This signals a sense of popular ambivalence about the political process among most Lebanese, especially since the outgoing parliament renewed its own mandate twice unconstitutionally and since the elections that were meant to take place in 2013 kept being postponed under the pretext of lack of security.
Clash of titans brings a gripping poll to Malaysia
Malaysia’s general election this week will be an extraordinary contest, pitting a 92-year-old former authoritarian leader and a jailed reformist he fell out with 20 years ago against a prime minister who has been mired in a multi-billion-dollar scandal. Few doubt that Prime Minister Najib Razak’s Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, which has ruled Malaysia for the six decades since independence, will triumph in May 9’s poll. But a robust challenge from the opposition - spearheaded by nonagenarian Mahathir Mohamad, the country’s longest-serving prime minister, and his one-time protege Anwar Ibrahim - has produced the most hotly contested election yet.
US will regret if it quits - Iran
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on May 6 said that if the United States quits the nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers then Washington would regret it “like never before”. US President Donald Trump has threatened to abandon the agreement when it comes up for renewal on May 12, demanding his country’s European allies “fix the terrible flaws” or he will re-impose sanctions. “If the United States leaves the nuclear agreement, you will soon see that they will regret it like never before in history,” Rouhani said in a televised speech in northwestern Iran. “Trump must know that our people are united, the Zionist regime (Israel) must know that our people are united,” Rouhani added. The nuclear deal was struck in 2015 between Iran and UK, China, France, Germany, Russia and the US, then led by Barack Obama.
Sex Assault Scandal: Nobel Prize for Literature postponed
For the first time in almost 70 years there will be no Nobel Literature Prize this year, after the Swedish Academy that selects the laureate failed to contain a deep crisis stemming from the anti-sexual harassment #MeToo campaign. “We find it necessary to commit time to recovering public confidence in the Academy before the next laureate can be announced,” the Academy’s interim permanent secretary Anders Olsson said in a statement on May 4, adding that two prizes would be announced in 2019. The body has been in turmoil since November when Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter -- in the wake of the global #MeToo campaign -- published the testimonies of 18 women claiming to have been raped, sexually assaulted or harassed by an influential culture figure with long-standing ties to the Academy.