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The former South African president is not allowed to participate in parliamentary elections

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The former South African president is not allowed to participate in parliamentary elections

As of: May 20, 2024 at 4:00 p.m

South Africa’s Constitutional Court has excluded 82-year-old former President Zuma from parliamentary elections scheduled for next week. There are major fears of unrest – and his supporters are threatening violence.

TV channels are broadcasting live, Zuma’s fans are gathering before the Constitutional Court, and the public interest is huge. Little wonder, after all, that the Constitutional Court, South Africa’s highest court, had to decide a highly explosive legal dispute.

A far-reaching decision by the court

The proceedings were not just about the political future of the 82-year-old. Rather, the question is whether the requirements of the state constitution apply equally to all candidates in next week’s parliamentary elections – and therefore the credibility and legitimacy of these elections as a whole.

The judges had to decide whether former president Jacob Zuma could run for a seat in Parliament despite his criminal record.

Supporters of Jacob Zuma demonstrate in front of the Constitutional Court in South Africa.

Zuma has a criminal record

It sounds like a legal quirk, but it’s not. Anyone who has been sentenced to one year or more in prison is not allowed to run for office for five years after the end of their sentence – this is stipulated in the South African Constitution.

According to the country’s electoral commission, this is exactly what applies to Jacob Zuma. In the summer of 2021, he became the first former head of state in South African history to be jailed for 15 months because he refused to testify in court about rampant corruption during his time in office.

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Zuma has State-owned projects exploited

According to an independent investigative report, during Zuma’s rule from 2009 to 2018, Zuma, along with his political and business accomplices, took control of the country and systematically plundered state-owned enterprises such as the electricity company Eskom and the railway company Transnet.

However, Zuma was released after three months behind bars for health reasons. The remainder of the sentence was waived by current President Cyril Ramaphosa. Therefore, Zuma said that the 15-month prison sentence was no longer valid, and that there was nothing standing in the way of his candidacy.

In addition, he was not punished for a crime, but “only” for violating court orders. And: Whether he should be allowed to stand for election should not be decided by the court, but rather later by the newly elected Parliament.

But the South African Supreme Court sees the matter completely differently. A sentence is a sentence, and even the overturning of the sentence cannot change that, the country’s top judges decided in the final court.

Ballots have already been printed

According to legal experts, this measure put constitutional judges in a difficult position shortly before the parliamentary elections. Of course, the legal decision also has serious political consequences.

Without its driving force, Jacob Zuma, as the main candidate, the KP may end up having a harder time stealing votes from the ANC on election day – although Zuma’s name and face will remain on ballot papers in the election. Because they have already been printed and can no longer be exchanged when the election approaches.

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Zuma supporters threaten violence

In a joint appeal, 40 NGOs called on all concerned to respect the decision of the country’s highest court. There is great concern about a repeat of the unrest of 2021. Shortly after the verdict against Jacob Zuma, more than 300 people were killed in riots. Supporters of the former president recently publicly threatened to commit new acts of violence if Zuma was excluded from the parliamentary elections.

Zuma polarizes the country

Zuma has polarized South Africa in a way that no other politician has. This has become even more true since he announced that he will lead the newly founded Knesset Party in the upcoming parliamentary elections. Zuma appeared confident on Saturday during an election campaign and set his goal of obtaining a two-thirds majority.

However, according to current polls, MK is far from that. However, the ANC leader and former state president still has many supporters, especially among the Zulu ethnic group to which he himself belongs, despite all the corruption allegations.

Zuma’s former party opposed it

The ruling African National Congress had tried several times unsuccessfully to prevent its former leader from using legal means. Among other things, the ANC wanted to ban the name of Zuma’s new party. MK means „Umkhonto we Sizwe”, translated: „Spear of the Nation”. This was the name of the armed wing of the ANC during the apartheid regime. This lawsuit was rejected, and the request not to accept the Knesset member in the parliamentary elections was rejected.

More and more allegations emerged

New accusations were made against Zuma’s party weeks ago. Among other things, MK is said to have fraudulently registered as a political party using forged signatures. There is also an issue with founder MK Jabulani Khumalo, who was allegedly expelled from the party at Zuma’s instigation and now claims Zuma’s daughter forged his resignation letter.

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Even after the Constitutional Court decided not to allow Zuma to run in South Africa’s parliamentary elections, the controversial former president and his new party will continue to cause political unrest.

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Ukraine War: Ukraine and NATO reject Putin’s ceasefire conditions

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Ukraine War: Ukraine and NATO reject Putin’s ceasefire conditions

the Ukraine He rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin’s conditions for a ceasefire and peace negotiations, describing them as „eyewash.” “There is nothing new, no real peace proposals and no desire to end the fighting,” Ukrainian presidential advisor Mykhailo Podlyak wrote on Channel X. One must stop taking Russia’s „proposals” seriously, which contradict common sense.

It was before Put it in He told Russian Foreign Ministry executives that his country would „immediately cease fire and begin talks” if Ukraine withdraws from the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions and renounces NATO membership. Ukraine should also fully hand over to Russia the areas partially occupied by the Russian army.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba described Putin’s statements as ridiculous. Kuleba said that Putin’s goal is to mislead the international community.

The United States government does not want peace through dictatorship

Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg He said at the conclusion of a meeting of defense ministers in Brussels that Putin’s conditions „are not a peace proposal” but „a proposal for more aggression and more occupation.”

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin accused Putin of wanting to „dictate” peace to Ukraine. Putin has occupied Ukrainian territory in violation of international law and has been unable to tell Ukraine what to do to reach a solution. Austin said: “We do not want the leader of a country to wake up one day and decide to erase his neighbor’s borders and annex his lands. This is not the world we all want to live in.”

Ukraine demands the complete withdrawal of Russian forces

Ukraine is conducting a complete withdrawal of Russian forces from its internationally recognized territory, including in 2014. Russia Annexation of Crimea as a condition for possible peace negotiations.

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Sahira Wagenknecht finds Putin’s demands „understandable”

On the other hand, BSW President Sarah Wagenknecht called for openness to Putin’s conditions. Wagenknecht said Ukraine and the West must „avoid the historical mistake of crudely dismissing signals from Moscow as unrealistic maximum demands.” Instead, Putin’s initiative should be treated “with due seriousness” and seen as a starting point for negotiations.

Wagenknecht said that Ukraine’s permanent non-nuclear status and renunciation of NATO membership are „understandable demands from Russia.” It is „in Europe’s existential interest to find a compromise now to avoid the risk of a major European war.” The G7 heads of state and government must respond quickly to this offer.

At the end of the week, representatives of more than 90 countries and organizations want to speak in Switzerland about the possibilities for achieving peace in Ukraine. Russia does not participate.

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Elections in Great Britain: Poll finds the UK Reform Party ahead of the Conservative Party for the first time

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Elections in Great Britain: Poll finds the UK Reform Party ahead of the Conservative Party for the first time

Three weeks before Great Britain’s general election, the right-wing populist Reform Party of Britain is said to have overtaken Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s conservative Conservative Party in a poll for the first time. In the institute’s published survey YouGov On behalf of the newspaper times The UK’s reform rate rose by two percentage points to 19 per cent, putting it in second place behind Labour.

According to the poll, Labor itself lost one percentage point, but is still clearly in the lead with 37 percent. President Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives remained unchanged at 18 percent, putting them in third place for the first time. Although the gap between the Conservatives and Reform in the UK is small, YouGov is already talking about a political 'earthquake’.

However, the impressive result of the poll by international opinion research institute YouGov rests on a relatively uncertain foundation. There is currently no other poll to confirm the result. YouGov surveys are based on invitations via email or in the YouGov app. There, users can answer questions on a wide range of topics. Users receive points that can be collected and redeemed for rewards.

About uncertainties in surveys

Representative surveys are always subject to errors. It can be assumed that the actual value is likely to be in the range of one to three percentage points above or below the finally declared measured values. We now show the corridor for this statistical error in our graphics of the election polls.

Results are always based on sample surveys. These services usually only cover certain parts of the population (such as people with a landline phone connection or Internet users). Some potential participants are passive and do not even want to be interviewed. Questions are sometimes misunderstood and not always answered truthfully. For example, also in response to previous surveys. However, in order to account for general opinion across all population groups, pollsters must compensate for missing measurements and suspected inaccuracies and reweight the available numbers. These (usually opaque) formulas vary between institutions and therefore lead to different data.

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Survey results are always snapshots. Nothing more can be drawn from this than an approximate tendency of opinion. Even if the statements and calculations at the time of the poll’s publication were close to reality, it is still unclear whether voters surveyed at that time would actually cast their ballots later or change their minds in a short time.

The Conservatives have been in power for 14 years and are under intense pressure before the elections. In opinion polls, the Conservatives have been significantly trailing the opposition Labor Party for several months.

The Reform Party UK is the new party led by Nigel Farage, who was previously leader of the Brexit Party. With its tough anti-immigrant stance, the UK Reform Party could steal more votes from the Conservatives. Farage said in a debate on Britain’s ITV that he actually sees his party as „the opposition to Labour”.

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The United States warns of destabilization: The Israeli Finance Minister cuts off funds to the Palestinians

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The United States warns of destabilization: The Israeli Finance Minister cuts off funds to the Palestinians

The United States warns of destabilization
The Israeli Minister of Finance cuts off funds to the Palestinians

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Israel collects taxes and customs duties for the benefit of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. Finance Minister Smotrich is holding back 30 million euros and wants to pay this money to the Israeli victims of the Hamas massacre. The United States rejects this step.

Far-right Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich wants to withhold funds totaling $32.5 million (about 30.3 million euros) from the Palestinian Authority and pay them instead to Israeli victims of terrorism. The minister wrote on Platform X that he had signed a similar order and spoke of “historical justice.”

Smotrich accused the Palestinian Authority of promoting terrorism and paying money to the families of terrorists and Palestinian prisoners. According to the minister, the compensation amounts determined by the Israeli courts for victims of terrorism and their families will be deducted from the funds allocated to the Palestinian Authority.

The US government criticized the minister’s move, describing it as a „highly misleading decision” that threatens to destabilize the situation in the West Bank. US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said when asked in Washington that this conflicts with Israeli security interests. “We have made it clear to the Israeli government that this money belongs to the Palestinian people,” Miller said. “It must be transferred immediately to the Palestinian Authority. It must not be withheld. It must not be delayed.”

Payments to Hamas also stopped

Since the terrorist attack carried out by the Islamist Hamas movement on October 7, the Israeli authorities have withheld certain parts of tax and customs revenues from the Gaza Strip in order to prevent the payment of funds to Hamas.

Israel collects taxes and customs duties on behalf of the Authority. According to Norwegian information, this money constitutes about 65% of the income of the Palestinian Authority based in the West Bank, which it also uses to pay salaries. As part of an agreement with Norway, money from Israel began flowing to the Palestinian Authority again at the end of February. The Palestinian Authority pays social welfare to the families of Palestinian prisoners. The same applies to relatives of people killed by Israeli soldiers or settlers who are still alive.

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