2020s in political history
2020s political history refers to significant political and societal historical events of the 2020s, presented as a historical overview in narrative format.
Millennium:3rd millennium
Global events and issues
Major events
COVID-19 pandemic
Main articles: Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on politics and Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on international relations
See also: COVID-19 lockdowns, COVID-19 pandemic by country and territory, and National responses to the COVID-19 pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic, also known as the coronavirus pandemic, caused by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. The World Health Organisation declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern in January 2020 and a pandemic in March 2020. By December 2020 the virus had extended to virtually every corner of the planet including ships at sea but excluding Antarctica and a handful of small islands. As of 17 May 2021[1], there were 163,161,728[1] confirmed cases, [1] active cases, and 3,381,269[1] deaths. The United States, India, and Brazil reported the most infections, deaths, and recoveries; the highest death rates were reported in Belgium, Italy, Peru, and Spain. The United States leads in new cases, new deaths, active cases, and recoveries.[2]
The responses caused global social and economic disruption, including the largest global recession since the Great Depression.[3] It led to the postponement or cancellation of events, widespread supply shortages exacerbated by panic buying, famines affecting hundreds of millions of people, and decreased emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases. Educational institutions were partially or fully closed. Misinformation circulated through social media and mass media. There were incidents of xenophobia and discrimination against Chinese people and against those perceived as being Chinese or as being from areas with high infection rates.[4]
Countries with at least one election date altered
The pandemic impacted international relations and affected the political systems of multiple countries, causing suspensions of legislative activities, isolation or deaths of multiple politicians and reschedulings of elections due to fears of spreading the virus. The pandemic also triggered broader debates about political issues such as the relative advantages of democracy and autocracy,[5][6] how states respond to crises,[7] politicization of beliefs about the virus,[8] and the adequacy of existing frameworks of international cooperation.[9]
Conflict and peace
Main article: 2020s in military history
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which totally bans nuclear weapons, went into effect on January 22, 2021. The treaty is not supported by NATO or any known nuclear powers.[10]
Afghan peace process
Main article: Afghan peace process
On February 29, 2020, the United States and the Taliban signed a peace agreement in Doha, Qatar, officially titled the Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan.[11] The provisions of the deal include the withdrawal of all American and NATO troops from Afghanistan, a Taliban pledge to prevent al-Qaeda from operating in areas under Taliban control, and talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government.[12] The United States agreed to an initial reduction of its force level from 13,000 to 8,600 by July 2020, followed by a full withdrawal within 14 months if the Taliban keeps its commitments.[13] The United States also committed to closing five military bases within 135 days,[14] and expressed its intent to end economic sanctions on the Taliban by August 27, 2020.[15] The deal was supported by China, Russia and Pakistan, although it did not involve the government of Afghanistan.[16]
Talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban began in Doha, Qatar on September 12, 2020. The negotiations were set for March but have been delayed over a prisoner exchange dispute. Mawlavi Abdul Hakim will lead negotiations for the Taliban, he is the group's chief justice and a close confidant of Haibatullah Akhundzada. Abdullah Abdullah will be one of the leading figures for the Afghan government negotiating team. The Afghan government team also comprises women's rights activists.[17]
Indian border skirmishes
The 2020 China–India skirmishes have caused dozens of casualties on both sides. The 2020 India–Pakistan border skirmishes have also caused casualties, though fewer.
Main article: 2021 Kyrgyzstan–Tajikistan conflict
Batken Region in Kyrgyzstan.
On 28 April, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan forces on the Kyrgyzstan–Tajikistan border near Kök-Tash, Leilek, started the clashes, resulting in four deaths and dozens of injuries.[18] The following day clashes resumed, with at least 41 people killed from both sides and roughly 10,000 people evacuated.[19] The same day the foreign ministers of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan agreed to a ceasefire at the border.[20] On 30 April, Tajikistan acknowledged the ceasefire in a statement published by its state information service.[21]
Main article: 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war
The 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war took place in the Nagorno-Karabakh region between the Republic of Artsakh backed by Armenia and Azerbaijan from September 2020 to November 2020. It is the latest escalation of the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. A peace treaty was signed between Armenia, Azerbaijan, Artsakh, and Russia, ending hostilities on 10 November 2020. Widespread protests in Armenia followed the treaty while it was celebrated in Azerbaijan.
Persian Gulf
The 2019–2020 Persian Gulf crisis has led to the attack on the United States embassy in Baghdad during the start of the decade, the subsequent assassination of Qasem Soleimani by the United States days later, the Iranian attack on U.S. forces in Iraq in revenge, as well as the accidental shootdown of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 by Iran soon after.
Main article: 2020s in environmental history
Climate change
See also: 2019–20 Australian bushfire season
In 2020, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, declared that "The state of the planet is broken" and that "Humanity is waging war on nature. This is suicidal."[22] The United Nations has also called climate change "the defining issue of our time",[23] and the World Health Organization said it "threatens the essential ingredients of good health - clean air, safe drinking water, nutritious food supply, and safe shelter - and has the potential to undermine decades of progress in global health".[24]
Main article: 2020s in social history
Gender equality
Out of all national parliamentarians, 24.3% were women as of February 2019, while 11 women were serving as Head of State and 12 as Head of Government in June 2019. Furthermore, 20.7% of government ministers were women as of January 2019.[25] Katerina Sakellaropoulou became the first female president of Greece in January 2020.[26] Maia Sandu reached the same milestone for Moldova in 2020 as well. In Austria, the first female-majority cabinet was sworn-in in 2020.[27]
In a January 2020 interview with the Financial Times, German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Europe to develop its own technology, such as manufacturing of batteries, electric cars, and cloud computing. Europe depends mostly on Asia for electric car batteries, and it has no hyperscale computing companies to support companies like Amazon and Facebook.[28]
Switzerland's neutrality was called into question when it was in revealed in February 2020 that German and U.S. intelligence services had been using coding devices manufactured by Crypto AG to spy on other countries.[29]
Main article: 2020s in economic history
This section is an excerpt from COVID-19 recession[edit]
Map showing real GDP growth rates in 2020, as recorded by the International Monetary Fund as of 26 January 2021
The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. You may improve this article, discuss the issue on the talk page, or create a new article, as appropriate. (March 2021) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
The COVID-19 recession is a severe global economic crisis which caused a recession or a depression in many countries. It is the worst global economic crisis since the Great Depression.[30] The crisis began due to the COVID-19 lockdowns and other precautions taken during the COVID-19 pandemic. The onset of the recession coincided with the 2020 stock market crash, which began in late February and lasted through early April 2020.[31][32][33] The stock market crash was short-lived, and many market indices around the world recovered or set new records by late 2020. By September 2020, every advanced economy had fallen to recession or depression, whilst all emerging economies were in recession.[34][35][36] Modeling by the World Bank suggests that in some regions a full recovery will not be achieved until 2025 or beyond.[37][38][39][40]
The COVID-19 pandemic led to half of the world's population being placed on stay-at-home orders to stop the spread of COVID-19.[41] It has caused severe repercussions for economies across the world,[42] following soon after a global economic slowdown during 2019 that saw stagnation of stock markets and consumer activity worldwide.[43][44]
The recession has seen unusually high and rapid increases in unemployment in many countries, and the inability in the United States for state-funded unemployment insurance computer systems and processes to keep up with applications.[45][46] By October, more than 10 million unemployment cases had been filed in the United States.[47] The United Nations (UN) predicted in April 2020 that global unemployment will wipe out 6.7% of working hours globally in the second quarter of 2020—equivalent to 195 million full-time workers.[48] In some countries, unemployment is expected to be at around 10%, with more severely affected nations from the COVID-19 pandemic having higher unemployment rates.[49][50][51] Developing countries were also being affected by a drop in remittances,[52] exacerbating COVID-19 pandemic-related famines.[53]
The recession and the 2020 Russia–Saudi Arabia oil price war led to a drop in the price of oil; the collapse of tourism, the hospitality industry, and the energy industry; and a significant downturn in consumer activity in comparison to the previous decade.[54][55][56] The 2020 stock market crash resulted in a decline in value in stock market indices of 20 to 30% during late February and March 2020. During the crash, global stock markets had volatile swings, mainly due to extreme uncertainty in the markets.[57][58][59]
World trade
See also: Trump tariffs
President Trump's trade disputes appear to be neutralizing as the President completed a phase 1 agreement with China and renegotiated NAFTA with the ratification of the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement an improved, bipartisan trade agreement. Tomasz Brodzicki of IHS Markit predicts that world merchandise trade volume will increase by 2.7% to 14.175 billion tons (US$18.870 trillion) in 2020 and by 5% to 14.881 billion tons (US$19.795 trillion) in 2021. He forecasts the highest growth rates in 2020 for South and North America and the lowest for Africa. He predicts low trade growth for the U.S. and Canada and continuing conflicts with China, which should benefit Taiwan, Vietnam, and other parts of the ASEAN Free Trade Area. He also says the paralysis of the multilateral dispute settlement system in the World Trade Organization (WTO) will probably last.[60]
The world's largest free trade agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, was signed on November 15, 2020, including the members of ASEAN, as well as Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea.[61]
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) will go fully into effect on July 1, 2020, abolishing 90% of tariffs between member states and bringing a 50% increase in trade in the next few years.[62] In June 2019 the Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay) reached a tentative agreement.pdf with the European Union. They are also looking forward to similar agreements with the United States, Canada, and the EFTA bloc—made up of Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland.[63]
History by region
The Afghan peace process comprises the proposals and negotiations in a bid to end the ongoing war in Afghanistan. Besides the United States, regional powers such as Pakistan, China and India, Russia, as well as NATO play a part in facilitating the peace process.[64][65] On February 29, 2020, the U.S. signed a conditional peace agreement with the Taliban, which calls for the withdrawal of foreign troops in 14 months if the Taliban uphold the terms of the agreement.[66][67]
See also: Uyghur genocide
Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continued the mass imprisonment of Uyghyrs in the Xinjiang internment camps, under CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping's administration.[68]
Hong Kong
See also: 2019–20 Hong Kong protests, Democratic development in Hong Kong, and Hong Kong–Mainland China conflict
The Hong Kong protests against the Chinese government continued into 2020. A controversial new national security law was enacted on 30 June 2020 by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.[69] In July, 12 politicians were banned from standing the upcoming elections.[70] The elections were then postponed by a year, officially due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[70] After the arrest of eight opposition politicians in November, 15 other opposition lawmakers resigned in protest, including the remaining opposition members of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong.[70] The democracy activist Joshua Wong was also arrested, facing up to three years in prison in his trial.[71]
The Decision of the National People's Congress on Improving the Electoral System of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region was enacted on 11 March 2021 by the National People's Congress (NPC), the de jure legislative body of the People's Republic of China (PRC), to rewrite the electoral rules, imposing a much restrictive electoral system on the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) for its Chief Executive (CE) and the Legislative Council (LegCo), claiming to ensure a system of "patriots governing Hong Kong."[72][73]
See also: 2020 Liberal Democratic Party (Japan) leadership election and Suga Cabinet
Following Shinzo Abe's resignation announcement in August 2020, Yoshihide Suga replaced Abe on the Liberal Democratic Party leadership, and then became Prime Minister.​[74]​[75]​[76]​[77]​[78]
The 2020 Kyrgyzstani protests began on 5 October 2020 in response to the recent parliamentary election that was perceived by protestors as unfair, with allegations of vote rigging.[79][80] The results of the election were annulled on 6 October 2020.[81] On 12 October 2020, President Jeenbekov announced a state of emergency in the capital city of Bishkek,[82] which was approved by Parliament the following day.[83] Jeenbekov resigned on 15 October 2020.
In January 2021 a referendum on the form of government was held alongside presidential elections (won by Sadyr Japarov), with voters asked whether they would prefer a presidential system, a parliamentary system, or opposed both. Just over 84% voted in favour of a presidential system.
Work began on drafting a new constitution, which was debated in the Supreme Council in February 2021. The draft new constitution replaces the parliamentary system with a presidential one, with presidents limited to two five years terms instead of a single six-year term. It also reduces the number of seats in the Supreme Council from 120 to 90 and establishes a constitutional court.[84]
In March 2021 members of the Supreme Council passed a bill, scheduling a referendum on the new constitution for 11 April, the same day as local elections.[84] The result was 79.31% in favour.[85]
In early 2020, officials from the Malaysia's Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said that Malaysia has recovered US$322 million stolen from the sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal, a fraction of the more than US$4.5 billion US prosecutors say was looted.[86] In April, the US Department of Justice returned US$300 million in funds stolen during the 1MDB scandal to Malaysia.[87][88] Former Prime Minister Najib Razak was found guilty of one count of abuse of power, three counts of criminal breach of trust, three counts of money laundering, a total of seven charges for the SRC International trial.[89][90]
On 24 February 2020, Malaysia entered the 2020 Malaysian political crisis for almost a week after the resignation of the 7th Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad. Immediately that afternoon, the King of Malaysia re-appointed Mahathir Mohamad as the Interim Prime Minister to solve the political crisis. On 29 February 2020, Yang Dipertuan Agong, King Abdullah of Pahang agreed to appoint Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as the 8th Prime Minister of Malaysia, and he was sworn in at the Istana Negara on 1 March 2020.
General elections were held in Myanmar on 8 November 2020, in which the National League for Democracy won 396 out of 476 seats in parliament, while the military's proxy party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party, won only 33 seats.[91] In the 2021 Myanmar coup d'état, democratically elected members of the ruling National League for Democracy were detained and/or deposed from their offices by the Tatmadaw; Myanmar's military. The Tatmadaw declared a year-long state of emergency and declared power had been vested in the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, Min Aung Hlaing. The coup d'état occurred the day before the Parliament of Myanmar was due to swear in the members elected at the November 2020 general election, preventing this from occurring.[92] President Win Myint and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi were detained, along with ministers and their deputies and members of Parliament.[91] Domestic civil resistance efforts in Myanmar, known locally as the Spring Revolution (Burmese: နွေဦးတော်လှန်ရေး​),​[93]​[94] began in opposition to the coup d'état on 1 February.[95] As of 2 April 2021, at least 550 civilians, including children, have been killed by military or police forces and at least 2,574 people detained.[96]
Parliamentary elections were held in Mongolia on 24 June 2020.[97][98] The result was a victory for the ruling Mongolian People's Party, which won 62 of the 76 seats, a slight decrease from the 65 won in the 2016 elections. The Prime Minister Ukhnaagiin Khürelsükh resigned on 27 January 2021 following a minor protest against the mistreatment of a hospital patient.[99]
The Citizenship Amendment Act protests occurred after the enactment of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) by the Indian government on 12 December 2019, which triggered widespread ongoing protests across India and abroad against the act and the associated proposals to enact a National Register of Citizens (NRC).[100] The Amendment created a pathway to Indian citizenship for illegal migrants belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian communities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, who had entered India before 2014 fleeing religious persecution.[101] The Amendment does not provide the same pathway to Muslims and others from these countries, nor to refugee Sri Lankan Tamils in India, Rohingyas from Myanmar, or Buddhists from Tibet.[102] The proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) will be an official record of all legal citizens of India; individuals would need to provide a prescribed set of documents issued before a specified cutoff date to be included in it.[103] The amendment has been widely criticised as discriminating on the basis of religion, in particular for excluding Muslims.[104] Protestors against the amendment demand that it be scrapped and that the nationwide NRC not be implemented.[105] Protesters in Assam and other northeastern states do not want Indian citizenship to be granted to any refugee or immigrant, regardless of their religion, as they fear it would alter the region's demographic balance.[106][107]
An Indonesian general was killed by West Papuan separatists in April 2021.[108]
North Korea
At the 8th Congress of the Workers' Party of Korea, Kim Jong-un was elected as the General Secretary of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, inheriting the title from his late father Kim Jong-il, who died in 2011.[109]
South Korea
South Korea's 21st legislative elections were held on 15 April 2020. All 300 members of the National Assembly were elected, 253 from first-past-the-post constituencies and 47 from proportional party lists. They were the first elections held under the new electoral system.[110] The two largest parties, the liberal Democratic Party and the conservative United Future Party, set up new satellite parties (also known as bloc parties) to take advantage of the revised electoral system. The reforms also lowered the voting age from 19 to 18.
The Democratic Party and its satellite, the Platform Party, won a landslide victory, taking 180 of the 300 seats (60%) between them.[111] The Democratic Party alone won 163 seats — the highest number by any party since 1960. This guarantees the ruling liberal alliance an absolute majority in the legislative chamber, and the three-fifths super-majority required to fast-track its procedures. The conservative alliance between the United Future Party and its satellite Future Korea Party won only 103 seats, the worst conservative result since 1960.
Sri Lanka
Parliamentary elections in Sri Lanka were held on 5 August 2020 to elect 225 members to Sri Lanka's 16th Parliament​.​[112]​[113]​[114] The incumbent Sri Lanka People's Freedom Alliance coalition claimed a landslide victory in the election, winning 145 seats,[115][116][117] while Samagi Jana Balawegaya won 54 seats, Tamil National Alliance won 10 seats and National People's Power won 3 seats.[118][119][120] The main opposition United National Party suffered the worst showing in its history following a split over party leadership, finishing in fourth place with only one seat.[121] The election was postponed at least twice due to a surge in COVID-19 cases in the country, before the date was finalized as 5 August 2020.[122][123]
Parliamentary elections were held in Tajikistan on 1 March 2020.[124] The result was a landslide victory for the ruling People's Democratic Party, which won 47 of the 63 seats. The only opposition party, the Social Democratic Party, received just 0.3% of the vote.[125] The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe was critical of the election.[125]
In Thailand, protests began in early 2020. Beginning first as demonstrations against the government of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, it later included the unprecedented demands for reform of the Thai monarchy. The protests were initially triggered by the dissolution of the Future Forward Party (FFP) in late February 2020 which was critical of Prayut, the changes to the Thai constitution in 2017 and the country's political landscape that it gave rise to.
Government responses included filing criminal charges using the Emergency Decree; arbitrary detention and police intimidation; delaying tactics; the deployment of military information warfare units; media censorship; the mobilisation of pro-government and royalist groups who have accused the protesters of receiving support from foreign governments or non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as part of a global conspiracy against Thailand; and the deployment of thousands of police at protests. The government ordered university chancellors to prevent students from demanding reforms to the monarchy and to identify student protest leaders. Protests since October, when the King had returned to the country from Germany,[126] resulted in the deployment of the military, riot police, and mass arrests
On 31 January 2021, Nguyễn Phú Trọng is re-elected for a third five-year term as the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam.[127]
The European Union reduced in member states from 28 to 27 with the exit of the United Kingdom on January 31, 2020. The response to the COVID-19 pandemic caused a rift between Northern and Southern European member states over spending, with the former demanding more stringent measures to curb overspending, while the latter argued for more financial support in order to overcome the crisis.[128] A key issue of contention was the issuing of so-called corona bonds. After a historic debt-sharing deal for economic stimulus was agreed to by the remaining countries, Hungary and Poland threatened to veto both it and the EU's budget unless a clause demanding the upholding of the rule of law by member states was dropped.[129] A compromise was reached to pass the deal, which involved delaying the implementation of the clause.[130]
Parliamentary elections were held in Albania on 25 April 2021.[131] The Socialist Party of Albania retained its majority.
The 2020 Vienna attack killed four victims after a jihadist gunman attacked the country's capital. In response, the Chancellor Sebastian Kurz unveiled plans to outlaw political Islam.[132]
The 2020 Belarusian presidential election was held on Sunday, 9 August 2020. Early voting began on 4 August and ran until 8 August.[133] Incumbent Alexander Lukashenko was reelected to the sixth term in office, with official results crediting him with 80% of the vote. Lukashenko has won every presidential election since 1994,[134] with all but the first being labelled by international monitors as neither free nor fair.[135]
Opposition candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya claimed to have won a decisive first-round victory with at least 60% of the vote, and called on Lukashenko to start negotiations. Her campaign subsequently formed the Coordination Council to facilitate a transfer of power and stated that it was ready to organize "long-term protests" against the official results.[136][137] All seven members of the Coordination Council Presidium were subsequently arrested or went into exile. Numerous countries refused to accept the result of the election, as did the European Union, which imposed sanctions on Belarusian officials deemed to be responsible for "violence, repression and election fraud".[138]
The largest anti-government protests in the history of Belarus began in the lead-up to and during the election. Initially moderate, the protests intensified nationwide after official election results were announced on the night of 10 August, in which Lukashenko was declared the winner.
The foreign minister Sophie Wilmès was treated in intensive care after contracting COVID-19 in November, 2020.[139]
In July 2020 protests erupted through the country as a result of long-lasting corruption, state capture, lack of media freedom, particularly associated with prime minister Boyko Borisov's governments, in power since 2009.
The presidential elections' second round took place on 5 January 2020 between the two candidates with the highest number of votes in the first round. Zoran Milanović won the second round with 52.66% of the vote. The 2020 Croatian parliamentary election took place on 5 July 2020.[140] The ruling HDZ obtained an upset victory over the Restart Coalition, who had previously been leading in opinion polls for several weeks prior to the elections.
Kaja Kallas became the first female Prime Minister after the previous government fell after a corruption scandal.[141]
The murder of Samuel Paty reignited the controversy surrounding depictions of Muhammad, and was followed by the 2020 Nice stabbing committed by another jihadist, as well as a far-right attack in Avignon on the same day.[142] Before the attacks, the Charlie Hebdo depiction had been republished on September 1, and the trial over the Charlie Hebdo shooting in 2015 had begun on September 2.[143] There had also been a second attack on Charlie Hebdo's former headquarters in Paris on September 25, and on October 2, President Emmanuel Macron had called Islam a 'religion in crisis'.[143] Following Macron's remarks, the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan suggested he needed "mental treatment", leading France to withdraw its ambassador.[144] Saudi Arabia and Iran condemned France, while tens of thousands marched against in protest in Bangladesh.[145] The French government demanded that the representative body for the religion in the country accept a 'charter of republican values', rejecting political Islam and foreign interference, as well as establishing a system of official licenses for imams.[146] Overseas, the French military intervention in the Sahel continued fighting against the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara.[147]
The former president Nicolas Sarkozy was charged with corruption in 2020.[148] Sarkozy, was found guilty in 2021 and sentenced to three years in jail for corruption.[149][150] Two years of this sentence are suspended, and one to be served in prison.[150]
Presidential elections were held in Greece on Wednesday 22 January 2020 for the President of the Hellenic Republic. Incumbent President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, who was elected by the Hellenic Parliament on the 18 February 2015, was eligible for re-election but was not suggested by the government. Katerina Sakellaropoulou won the election with 261 votes. She was elected as the 13th and first female President of Greece.[151]
Following a surge of migrant arrivals from Turkey, Greece suspended all asylum applications in March 2020.[152] The freeze was lifted a month later.[153]
The 2021 Greek protests broke out in response to a proposed government bill that would allow police presence on university campuses for the first time in decades.
Presidential elections were held in Iceland on 27 June 2020.[154] Absentee voting opened on 25 May 2020.[155] Incumbent president Guðni Th. Jóhannesson was re-elected with 92% of the vote.
During the 2021 Italian government crisis, the Conte II Cabinet fell after Matteo Renzi, leader of Italia Viva (IV) and former Prime Minister, that he would revoke IV's support to the government of Giuseppe Conte.[156] On 18 and 19 January, Renzi's party abstained and the government won the key confidence votes in the Chamber and in the Senate, but it failed in reaching an absolute majority in the Senate.[157] On 26 January, Prime Minister Conte resigned from his office, prompting President Sergio Mattarella to start consultations for the formation of a new government. On 13 February, Mario Draghi was sworn in as Prime Minister, leading to the Draghi Cabinet.[158]
The 2020 Irish general election resulted in a historic win for the Sinn Féin, making it the second largest party of the Dáil Éireann.[159] The result was seen as a historic shift in Ireland's political landscape, effectively ending the two-party system of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.[160] The reason for the electoral upset for these parties was believed to be in voter dissatisfaction on issues of health, housing and homelessness.[161] Sinn Féin won 37 seats, Fianna Fáil won 38, and Fine Gael won 35.[162]Seán Ó Fearghaíl was re-elected to Ceann Comhairle at the first sitting of the 33rd Dáil on 20 February 2020.[163][164]
On 27 June 2020, Micheál Martin was elected as Taoiseach, in an historic coalition agreement that saw his party Fianna Fáil go into government with the Green Party and Fianna Fáil's historical rivals, Fine Gael. A majority of 93 members of the Dáil voted in favour of him taking the role, while 63 members voted against him.[165][166]
Ingrida Šimonytė became the second-ever female Prime Minister of Lithuania in 2020.
The 2020 Moldovan presidential election was won by Maia Sandu becoming the first female president and promising reform of the country's corruption.[167] After entering office, she demanded the withdrawal of Russian troops from Transnistria.[168]
North Macedonia
Early parliamentary elections were held in North Macedonia on 15 July 2020.[169] It was originally scheduled for November 2020, but Prime Minister Zoran Zaev called early elections after the European Council failed to come to an agreement on starting talks with North Macedonia on joining the European Union in October 2019. The election date was set for 12 April, but was postponed until July due to the COVID-19 pandemic in North Macedonia.[170]
The 2020 Polish presidential election was completed with a second round of voting on 12 July 2020. The first round of voting was held on 28 June 2020. The incumbent president Andrzej Duda, running with the support of Law and Justice,[171] faced off against Civic Platform vice-chairman and Mayor of Warsaw Rafał Trzaskowski after first round results showed Duda with 43.5% of the vote and Trzaskowski with 30.46%. Results from the second round of voting, announced by the National Electoral Commission (PKW) on 13 July, indicated that Andrzej Duda had won with 51.03% compared to Rafał Trzaskowski's 48.97%.[172]
On 7 August 2020, a protest against the arrest of LGBT activist Margot led to a confrontation with police in central Warsaw and resulted in the arrest of 47 others, some of whom were peacefully protesting and others who were bystanders to the event, dubbed "Polish Stonewall" in an analogy to the 1969 Stonewall riots.
The October–December 2020 Polish protests, commonly known as the Women's Strike (Polish: Strajk Kobiet)[citation needed], are the ongoing anti-government demonstrations and protests in Poland that began on 22 October 2020, in reaction to a ruling of the Constitutional Tribunal, mainly consisting of judges who were appointed by the ruling Law and Justice (Polish: Prawo i Sprawiedliwość, PiS) dominated United Right, which tightened the law on abortion in Poland. The ruling made almost all cases of abortion illegal, including those cases in which the foetus had a severe and permanent disability, or an incurable and life-threatening disease.[173][174] It was the biggest protest in the country since the end of the People's Republic during the revolutions of 1989.[175][176]
The 2020 Romanian legislative election had a record low turnout of 31.84 percent due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the ruling centre-right coalition winning the election, and the far-right Alliance for the Union of Romanians entering the legislature for the first time boosted by vaccine skepticism.[177]
The entire Russin cabinet resigned in January 2020, with a new Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin soon sworn in.[178] Following this, a constitutional referendum was held in Russia in 2020.[179] The draft amendments to the Constitution were submitted to a referendum in accordance with article 2 of the Law on Amendments to the Constitution.[180] The referendum was criticized for extending the rule of Vladimir Putin, as well as for not following the normal rules for referenda in Russia (by being labelled an "all-Russian vote" instead).[181][182]
The anti-corruption activist and politician Alexei Navalny was the target of an attempted assassination by the Russian Federal Security Service, whose members involved in the attempt he exposed together with the investigative journalism outlet Bellingcat.[183] Following his return to Russia afterwards, he was arrested and immediately jailed.[184] This, and the release of his film A Palace for Putin, led to the 2021 Russian protests. Navalny was ultimately sentenced to two-and-a-half years in a penal colony.[185] A court ordered the Anti-Corruption Foundation, linked to Navalny, to cease its activities.[186]
Parliamentary elections were held in Serbia on 21 June 2020.[187] Initially organised for 26 April 2020,[188] they were postponed by a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.[189] In the period before the elections, inter-party European Parliament–mediated dialogue wаs held and certain changes in election legislation were made. Numerous parliamentary and non-parliamentary political parties boycotted the elections, including the major opposition coalition Alliance for Serbia, which said that there were no conditions for free and fair elections. This resulted in the lowest turnout since the establishment of a multi-party system in 1990.[190] The Serbian Progressive Party–led coalition won one of the largest parliamentary majorities in Europe.
On 7 July 2020, a series of protests and riots began over the government announcement of the reimplementation of the curfew and the government's allegedly poor handling of the COVID-19 situation, as well as being a partial continuation of the "One of Five Million" movement. The initial demand of the protesters had been to cancel the planned reintroduction of curfew in Serbia during July, which was successfully achieved in less than 48 hours of the protest.[191] Among other causes, the protests were driven by the crisis of democratic institutions under Aleksandar Vučić's rule and the growing concern that the President is concentrating all powers in his hands at the expense of the parliament.[192]
Parliamentary elections were held in Slovakia on 29 February 2020 to elect all 150 members of the National Council. The anti-corruption movement Ordinary People (OĽaNO) led by Igor Matovič emerged as the largest party, winning 53 seats. The ruling coalition comprising Direction – Social Democracy (Smer–SD), the Slovak National Party (SNS) and Most–Híd, led by Prime MinisterPeter Pellegrini of Smer–SD, won only 38, with both the SNS and Most–Híd losing their parliamentary representation. It was the first time since the 2006 elections that Smer–SD did not emerge as the party with the most seats. As no party or electoral coalition won a majority of seats, a coalition government was needed.[193] On 13 March, Matovič announced he had reached an agreement for a governing coalition with We Are Family, Freedom and Solidarity and For the People, though they had not agreed upon a common governing program.
A series of protests broke out after the formation of Janez Janša's government in early 2020, with protestors demanding Janša's resignation and early elections.[194]
Janez Janša has been accused of eroding freedom of media since assuming office. According to a report by International Press Institute Slovenia has experienced a swift downturn in media and press freedom. IPI accused Janša of creating a hostile environment for journalists by his tweets, which IPI described as "vitriolic attacks".[195][196] He has also been accused of usurping power and corruption and is often compared to Viktor Orbán.[197][198]
United Kingdom
Under Boris Johnson's government, the UK left the EU on 31 January 2020; trade deal negotiations continued to within days of the scheduled end of the transition period on 31 December 2020 CET. The effects of Brexit will in part be determined by the EU–UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement which was agreed on 24 December 2020 and ratified by the UK Parliament on 30 December 2020 and was "provisionally" applied by the EU from 31 December 2020.[199]
Loyalists and unionists argued that post-Brexit trading arrangements have created barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.[200] The Loyalist Communities Council, which represents paramilitary groups including the Ulster Volunteer Force and the Ulster Defence Association withdrew their support for the Good Friday Agreement (which brought to an end The Troubles) until the sea border is removed.[201] A series of riots in loyalist areas of Northern Ireland began in Waterside, Derry, on 30 March 2021. First Minister Arlene Foster announced her resignation after losing the support of her Democratic Unionist Party in the aftermath of the riots.[202]
Middle East and North Africa
As a result of the Arab Spring which began in 2011, which evolved into what some considered the Arab Winter, much of the region was riven by massive instability and conflict, with the Syrian, Libyan and Yemeni Civil Wars continuing into the 2020s.. The 2018–2020 Arab protests in Algeria, Sudan, Iraq, Lebanon and Egypt were seen as a continuation of the Arab Spring.[203][204]
Following the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire agreement, Armenian forces were to withdraw from Armenian-occupied territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh by 1 December. An approximately 2,000-strong Russian peacekeeping force from the Russian Ground Forces was to be deployed to the region for a minimum of five years, one of its task being protection of the Lachin corridor, which links Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Additionally, Armenia undertook to "guarantee safety" of passage between mainland Azerbaijan and its Nakhchivan exclave via a strip of land in Armenia's Syunik Province. Russian FSB′s Border Troops would exercise control over the transport communication.​[205]​[206]​[207]
Shortly after the news about the signing the ceasefire agreement broke in the early hours of 10 November, violent protests erupted in Armenia against Nikol Pashinyan, claiming he was a "traitor" for having accepted the peace deal.[208] Protesters also seized the parliament building by breaking a metal door, and pulled the President of the National Assembly of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan from a car and beat him.[209][210] Throughout November, numerous Armenian officials resigned from their posts, including the Armenian minister of foreign affairs, Zohrab Mnatsakanyan,[211] the minister of defence, David Tonoyan,[212] head of the same ministry's military control service, Movses Hakobyan,[213] and the spokesman of Armenia's Defense Ministry, Artsrun Hovhannisyan.[214]
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan accused Chief of the General Staff of the Armenian Armed ForcesOnik Gasparyan and more than 40 other high-ranking military officers of attempting a coup after they published a statement calling for Pashinyan's resignation on 25 February 2021. Two days later Armenian President Armen Sarksyan refused the order from Prime MinisterNikol Pashinyan to dismiss Onik Gasparyan, saying parts of the decree were in violation of the constitution. Pashinyan immediately resent the motion to dismiss Gasparyan to the president.[215] On 27 February, more than 15,000 protested in the capital Yerevan calling for Pashinyan to resign.[216]
Parliamentary elections were held in Azerbaijan on 9 February 2020.[217] They were originally scheduled to take place in November 2020,[218] but were brought forward after parliament was dissolved in December 2019.[217] Opposition parties accused President Ilham Aliyev of limiting their ability to campaign, and called for a boycott of the election. The ruling New Azerbaijan Party retained its majority, winning 72 of the 125 seats, although this was later reduced to 70 when results in two constituencies were annulled. The second largest party (the Civic Solidarity Party) won only three seats.
Russian and Turkish troops were deployed in parts of the country as peacekeepers following the end of the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war.[219]
The 2020 Egyptian protests opposed the reign of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. The 2020 Egyptian parliamentary election was criticized as being undemocratic.[220]
See also: 2019–2020 Persian Gulf crisis, 2020 Iran protests, and 2020 Iranian legislative election
In January 2020, the United States assassinated the commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, general Qasem Soleimani. This led to an Iranian missile strike against bases housing US troops in Iraq five days later. As a result of expectations of a US retribution, the Iranian air defence system accidentally shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, killing all 176 people on board.[221] The International Maritime Security Construct was setup by the US to prevent Iran from disrupting international shipping in the Strait of Hormuz.[222]
Israel was suspected of being behind at least five explosions and fires at Iranian nuclear sites in the summer of 2020.[223] The leading nuclear scientist of the country, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, was assassinated on 27 November 2020, with Iran blaming Israel for the attack.[224]
In 2020–21, demonstrations took place in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq, over popular discontent with government corruption, unemployment, poor government services, and foreign interference within Iraq. Reports said that 450 protesters had been fatally shot by security forces.[225] Major protests were based in Nasiriyah in Dhi Qar province, with hundreds of protesters arriving there from other cities.[226] New clashes erupted in Baghdad between protesters and security forces, with security forces using gunfire against protesters.[227][228][229] One march included more than 1,000 students.[230]
In March 2020, Mohammed Allawi sent a letter to the President of Iraq, stating that he had to decline to take office as Prime Minister since the Iraqi Parliament had declined to approve his cabinet.[231][232][233] Reports indicated that the crowds of protesters in Baghdad had expressed widespread opposition to Allawi.[225][234]
Mustafa Al-Kadhimi was named by President Barham Salih as prime minister-designate, the third person tapped to lead the country in just 10 weeks as it struggled to replace a government that fell last year after months of protests.[235] Kadhimi was nominated by President Barham Salih, state television reported, shortly after the previous designated prime minister, Adnan al-Zurfi, announced he was withdrawing having failed to secure enough support to pass a government.[236] After nearly six months of political negotiations, Iraq's parliament confirmed al-Kadhimi as Prime Minister of Iraq on 6 May 2020.[237] Before entering office, al-Kadhimi said his government would be a government that finds solutions to Iraq's many problems and not a crisis ridden government. He promised early elections and vowed Iraq would not be used as a battleground by other countries.[citation needed] He assumed office on the heels of major upheavals in Iraq - protests, falling oil prices, and the COVID-19 pandemic.[238]
The 2019–2021 Israeli political crisis continued, with the fourth election within two years held in 2021.[239] The rotation government established after the third elections between the competing factions of Likud and Blue and White collapsed. In foreign relations, the country signed the Abraham Accords (also in 2020), leading to the Bahrain–Israel and Israel–United Arab Emirates normalization agreements. Sudan also announced that it would be normalizing relations with the country as did Morocco.[240] The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also met with Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammed bin Salman soon after.[241]
The 2021 Palestinian legislative election for the Palestinian Legislative Council, originally scheduled for 22 May 2021, according to a decree by President Mahmoud Abbas on 15 January 2021, was postponed.[242] President Abbas announced the postponement on 29 April 2021, "Facing this difficult situation, we decided to postpone the date of holding legislative elections until the participation of Jerusalem and its people is guaranteed," Abbas said in a speech on Palestinian TV.[243]
Mahmoud Abbas was elected President of the Palestinian National Authority on 9 January 2005 for a four-year term that ended on 9 January 2009.[244] The last elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council were held on 25 January 2006.[245] There have not been any elections either for president or for the legislature since these two elections
The 2021 Israel–Palestine crisis started on 6 May 2021, with Palestinians protesting in Jerusalem over a forthcoming decision of the Israeli Supreme Court regarding the eviction of four Palestinian families from Sheikh Jarrah, a neighbourhood of East Jerusalem.[246] The protests quickly escalated into violent confrontations between Jewish and Palestinian protesters. The following day, the major Islamic holy site and the holiest to Judaism, known as al-Aqsa Mosque compound or Temple Mount, was stormed[247] by the Israeli police using tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades against firecrackers and stone-throwing Palestinians.​[248]​[249]​[250]​[251] On 10 May, two Palestinian militant groups, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, began firing rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip, hitting multiple residences and a school.[252][253][254] Israel launched airstrikes against Gaza, including airstrikes targeting multiple apartment buildings, a refugee camp, and a news office building.​[255]​[256]​[257]​[258]​[259]
As part of the crisis, widespread protests and riots occurred across Israel, particularly in cities with large Arab populations. In Lod, rocks were thrown at Jewish apartments and some Jewish residents were evacuated from their homes by the police. One man was seriously injured after being struck in the head by a rock. In the nearby city of Ramle, Jewish rioters threw rocks at passing vehicles.[260] On 11 May, Mayor of Lod Yair Revivio urged Prime Minister of IsraelBenjamin Netanyahu to deploy Israel Border Police in the city, stating that the city had "completely lost control" and warning that the country was on the brink of "civil war".[261][262] Netanyahu declared a state of emergency in Lod on 11 May, marking the first time since 1966 that Israel has used emergency powers over an Arab community.[263][264] Minister of Public SecurityAmir Ohana announced the implementation of emergency orders.[264]
The 2021 Jordanian coup d'état attempt was a failed military coup attempt against King Abdullah II of Jordan. The former Crown Prince Prince Hamzah bin Hussein was placed under house arrest.
The 2019–20 Lebanese protests continued, leading to the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri, and then his successor Hassan Diab following the 2020 Beirut explosion. These events have also happened against the ongoing Lebanese liquidity crisis.
Main article: Libyan peace process § Political track
In February 2020, the political track of the Libyan peace process started in Geneva among 20 Libyans, from both the Tobruk-based and Tripoli-based parts of the Libyan House of Representatives, and from the independent persons' group selected by UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), including Interior MinisterFathi Bashagha, former Education Minister Othman Abdul Jalil and former head of the HCS Abdulrahman Sewehli.[265] The aimed composition was 13 HoR representatives from both the Tobruk and Tripoli branches, 13 HCS representatives and 14 UNSMIL-selected independent Libyans, for a total of 40.[266]
In November 2020, the Polisario Front declared it had broken a 30-year truce and attacked Moroccan forces in Western Sahara as part of the Western Sahara conflict.[267]
In early 2020, there was some evidence of new positive ties between the Syrian government and the Kurdish leaders in the autonomous region of Rojava, as the Kurds asked the Syrian government for help and protection against Turkish forces who invaded that region of Syria.[268]
In June 2020, the Syrian pound underwent a dramatic collapse. The US Government stated via US Envoy James Jeffrey that the collapse would be exacerbated due to sanctions, and offered to help Assad if he agreed to meet certain conditions for political reform.[269] On 10 June, hundreds of protesters returned to the streets of Sweida for the fourth consecutive day, rallying against the collapse of the country's economy, as the Syrian pound plummeted to 3,000 to the dollar within the past week.[270] On 11 June, Prime Minister Imad Khamis was dismissed by President Bashar al-Assad, amid anti-government protests over deteriorating economic conditions.[271] The new lows for the Syrian currency, and the dramatic increase in sanctions, began to appear to raise new threats to the survival of the Assad government.​[272]​[273]​[274] Analysts noted that a resolution to the current banking crisis in Lebanon might be crucial to restoring stability in Syria.[275]
In January 2020, Turkey announced it had sent troops to Libya in order to support the National Transitional Council in the Libyan Civil War, but that they would be in non-combat duties.[276] In March 2020, Turkey started a military offensive against the Syrian Armed Forces as part of its intervention in the Syrian Civil War.[277] That same month Turkey also declared that it would no longer stop migrants from entering the European Union.[278] Turkey also supported the Azerbaijani side in the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war by supplying it with Syrian mercenaries and drones.[279]
See also: Yemeni Civil War (2015–present)
The Yemeni Civil War is an ongoing conflict that began in 2015 between two factions: the Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi led Yemeni government and the Houthi armed movement, along with their supporters and allies. Both claim to constitute the official government of Yemen.[280]
Sub-Saharan Africa
See also: Sub-Saharan Africa, Africa § Economy, Economy of Africa, List of African countries by GDP (nominal), List of African countries by GDP (PPP), and Economy of the African Union
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) went into effect on July 1, 2020, abolishing 90% of tariffs between member states and bringing a 50% increase in trade in the next few years.[62][281] The CFA franc, which has been criticized as neocolonialist, will be replaced in by the ECO, which will be less controlled by France.[282]
Presidential elections were held in Benin on 11 April 2021 to elect the President of the Republic of Benin for a five-year term. Incumbent president Patrice Talon was re-elected for a second term in office with 86% of the vote.[283]
Burkina Faso
General elections were held in Burkina Faso on 22 November 2020 to elect the President and National Assembly.[284] In the presidential elections, incumbent president Roch Marc Christian Kaboré of the People's Movement for Progress was re-elected in the first round with 57.9% of the vote, avoiding the need for second round. The main campaign focus of the major presidential candidates was the growing insecurity in the country with the rise in terrorism and ethnic violence.[285]
In 2021, a military court indicted (in absentia) ex-President Blaise Compaoré with the 1987 murder of his immediate predecessor Thomas Sankara. Compaoré ruled the nation for 27 years following Sankara's assassination before resigning in the face of protests in 2014 and fleeing into exile in Ivory Coast. The court also indicted thirteen other Burkinabé ex-officials accused of various crimes including murder.[286]
General elections were held in Burundi on 20 May 2020 to elect both the president and the National Assembly.[287] Évariste Ndayishimiye of the ruling CNDD–FDD was elected president with 71% of the vote. In the National Assembly elections, the CNDD–FDD won 72 of the 100 elected seats. The Conference of Bishops of Burundi issued a statement criticizing the transparency and freedom of the election process. The church deployed around 2,716 observers across Burundi's 119 municipalities. The conference's observers witnessed intimidation and expulsion of opposition observers from the polling and vote counting stations. The church condemned the ruling party for engaging in national election fraud.[288][289] The East African Community issued a statement saying that "The 2020 Burundi elections hold an iconic place in the history of the nation, marking this the first peaceful and democratic transfer of power. More significantly, the process was domestically driven through own funding. The peaceful conclusion of the electoral process will not only be a big win for the people of Burundi, but for the East African Community as a region."[290]
Parliamentary elections were held in Cameroon on 9 February 2020.[291] The Cameroon People's Democratic Movement retained its majority in parliament, winning 139 of the 167 seats decided on election day. The ongoing Anglophone Crisis dominated the process, with supporters of Ambazonia calling for a boycott of the election. Ensuing violence resulted in a low turnout in the Northwest Region and Southwest Region, with separatists claiming that 98 percent of eligible voters had boycotted the election.[292]
Cape Verde
Parliamentary elections were held in Cape Verde on 18 April 2021. The current prime minister, Ulisses Correia e Silva of the Christian democratMovement for Democracy (MpD) party, won re-election after five years of government.[293] His main contender was Janira Hopffer Almada, of the moderate socialist African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV). The two parties have been the dominant political forces in Cape Verde since its democratization, but several new parties were taking part in the election.[294]
Presidential elections were held in Chad on 11 April 2021. Incumbent Idriss Déby, who served five consecutive terms since seizing power in the 1990 coup d'état, was running for a sixth. Déby was described as an authoritarian by several international media sources, and as "strongly entrenched". During previous elections, he forbade the citizens of Chad from making posts online, and while Chad's total ban on social media use was lifted in 2019, restrictions continue to exist.
Provisional results released on April 19 showed that incumbent president Idriss Déby won reelection with 79% of the vote.[295] However, on 20 April it was announced by the military that Déby had been killed in action while leading his country's troops in a battle against rebels calling themselves the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT).[296][297]
Following president Déby's death, a body called the Transitional Military Council – led by his son Mahamat Déby Itno, dissolved the government and the legislature, and proclaimed that it would be assuming power for a period of 18 months. Thereafter, a new presidential election would be held.[298] Some political actors within Chad have labeled the installing of the transitional military government a "coup", as the constitutional provisions regarding the filling of a presidential vacancy were not followed.[299] Namely, according to the constitution, the President of the National Assembly, Haroun Kabadi, should have been named Acting President after Déby's death, and an early election called within a period of no less than 45 and no more than 90 days from the time of the vacancy.[300]
Legislative elections were held in the Comoros on 19 January 2020; in constituencies where no candidate received a majority, a second round was held alongside local elections on 23 February. The elections were boycotted by the main opposition parties, including the two largest parties in the outgoing parliament, the Union for the Development of the Comoros and Juwa Party, in protest at constitutional reform and political repression,​[301]​[302]​[303] The result was a landslide victory for President Azali Assoumani's Convention for the Renewal of the Comoros, which won 20 of the 24 elected seats.
Cote d’Ivoire
Presidential elections were held in Ivory Coast on 31 October 2020. The election, boycotted by the opposition, saw the reelection of incumbent Alassane Ouattara. Several people were killed in clashes in Toumodi,[304] as well as Tiébissou.[305]
Presidential elections were held in Djibouti on 9 April 2021.[306] Incumbent president Ismaïl Omar Guelleh was re-elected for his fifth five-year term, having served in the role since 1999.[307]
The Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini died of COVID-19 in 2020.[308]
See also: Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and Tigray conflict
Tensions began to rise again between Ethiopia and Eritrea, after several years of efforts to negotiate peace, due to possible border disputes.[309][310][311]
After having won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's government adopted some policies which raised some concerns about political developments in Ethiopia. Abiy dissolved the governing coalition and formed a new party, the Prosperity Party; some said the imposition of a brand-new political party was detrimental to political stability. Also, the government enacted some restrictions on some forms of expression which raised concern about standards of free speech.[312][313] Abiy's response to rebel groups has raised some concerns about undue harshness, although some others allege that he was originally too lenient.[314][315] Amnesty International raised concerns about the status of one opposition leader.[316][317] Abiy encouraged Ethiopian refugees to return home, due to improving conditions.[318]
On November 4, 2020, the Ethiopian National Defense Force launched a military intervention against the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) in the Tigray Region, which it claimed was in response to an attack on its troops.[319] This followed month of feuding between the central and regional governments over elections and funding.[319] The Tigray forces launched rockets at the airport of Asmara, capital of neighbouring Eritrea, claiming that forces from there had taken part in the offensive.[320] Amnesty International reported that a massacre had taken place in Tigray, with TPLF-affiliated forces claimed to be responsible.[321]
There is also another conflict going on in the Oromia Region.[319]
General elections were held in Ghana on 7 December 2020. Incumbent President Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) was re-elected in the first round after securing a majority of the votes.[322] Former President John Dramani Mahama said he would contest the results.[323]
Parliamentary elections were held in Guinea on 22 March 2020 alongside a constitutional referendum​,​[324]​[325]​[326] after being postponed four times from the original date of January 2019.​[327]​[328]​[329]​[330]​[331]​[332] The 2020 Guinean presidential election resulted in a third term for President Alpha Condé, with protests against him resulting in at least 30 deaths according to the opposition.[333]
The Camp Simba attack by Al-Shabaab in January 2020 killed three Americans.[334]
A constitutional referendum was held in Liberia on 8 December 2020 alongside Senate elections and two by-elections to the House of Representatives. It had been planned for 13 October, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[335] Voters were asked whether they approved of eight amendments to the constitution, voting separately on each one. The government had planned to bundle the eight amendments into three questions, with one question on amending article 28 (citizenship), one on amending articles 45, 47, 48, 49 and 50 on the terms of office of the President, Senate and House of Representatives, and one on amending article 83 to change the date of general elections and decrease the time the Elections Commission has to investigate complaints.[336] However, this was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, as article 92 requires amendments to be voted on separately.[336]
The Constitutional Court ordered a re-run of the 2019 Malawian general election following “widespread, systematic and grave” problems with the process, leading to the 2020 Malawian presidential election.[337]
See also: Mali War
Parliamentary elections were held in Mali on 29 March 2020, with a second round on 19 April.[338] They were initially scheduled to be held on 25 November and 16 December 2018,[339] but were moved to April 2019 and then to June 2019,[340][341] before being postponed until 2020 by the Council of Ministers.[342] The elections were marred by violence in the north and center of the country.[343]
Incidents on April 19 prevented some people from casting votes, and on 30 April the Constitutional Court overturned the results in 31 districts, giving Rally for Mali, which is led by President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, ten more seats than originally expected.[344] Oppostion parties led by Iman Mahmoud Dicko established the Mouvement du 5 juin - Rassemblement des forces patriotiques (in French) (June 5 Movement - Rally of Patriotic Forces) on 30 May, and thousands took to the streets in protest on 5 June.[344]
Boubou Cisse was reappointed Prime Minister on 11 June, when he was instructed to form a new government.[344] Tens of thousands of Malians protested again on 19 June, demanding the resignation of President Keïta.[345] On June 20, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) called for new elections to be held.[345]
President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta and Imam Mahmoud Dicko met on 5 July,[346] but the opposition continued to call for civil disobedience to force Keïta's resignation and the dissolution of Parliament.[344] Protests turned violent on 10 July.[344] For the next three days, protesters in Bamako clashed with security forces,[347] and security forces reportedly fired live rounds at the protesters, killing at least 11 and injuring 124.[348]
On 18 August 2020, elements of the Malian Armed Forces began a coup.[349][350] Soldiers on pick-up trucks stormed the Soundiata military base in the town of Kati, where gunfire was exchanged before weapons were distributed from the armory and senior officers arrested.[351][352] Tanks and armoured vehicles were seen on the town's streets,[353] as well as military trucks heading for the capital, Bamako.[354] The soldiers detained several government officials including the President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta who resigned and dissolved the government.[355]
The insurgency in Cabo Delgado intensified with events such as the 2020 Mozambique attacks, the Mocímboa da Praia offensive in 2020 and the Battle of Palma in 2021.
The 2021 Nigerien coup attempt occurred on 31 March 2021 at around 3:00 am WAT (2:00 am UTC) after gunfire erupted in the streets of Niamey, the capital of Niger, two days before the inauguration of president-elect Mohamed Bazoum. The coup was staged by elements within the military. After it was foiled, the perpetrators were arrested.[356]
See also: Boko Haram insurgency
The End SARS movement protested the abuses committed by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, but were met with violence which killed at least 12 people.[357]
General elections were held in Seychelles on 22–24 October 2020 to elect the President and members of the National Assembly.[358] The National Assembly elections had been due in 2021,[359] but in July 2020 were brought forward by President Danny Faure in order to hold them together with the presidential elections, a proposal supported by opposition parties.[360][361]
The presidential elections were won by Wavel Ramkalawan of the Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS), with the LDS also increasing its majority in the National Assembly, winning 25 of the 35 seats.
See also: Sudanese peace process
In January 2020, progress was made in peace negotiations, in the areas of land, transitional justice and system of government issues via the Darfur track of negotiations. SRF and Sovereignty Council representatives agreed on the creation of a Special Court for Darfur to conduct investigations and trials for war crimes and crimes against humanity carried out during the War in Darfur by the al-Bashir presidency and by warlords. Two Areas negotiations with SPLM-N (al-Hilu) had progressed on six framework agreement points, after a two-week pause, but disagreement remained on SPLM-N (al-Hilu)'s requirement of a secular state in South Kordofan and Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile self-determination. On 24 January on the Two Areas track, political and security agreements, constituting a framework agreement, were signed by Hemetti on behalf of the Sovereignty Council and Ahmed El Omda Badi on behalf of SPLM-N (Agar). The agreements give legislative autonomy to South Kordofan and Blue Nile; propose solutions for the sharing of land and other resources, and aim to unify all militias and government soldiers into a single unified Sudanese military body.
On 26 January, a "final" peace agreement for the northern track, including issues of studies for new dams, compensation for people displaced by existing dams, road construction and burial of electronic and nuclear waste, was signed by Shamseldin Kabashi of the Sovereignty Council and Dahab Ibrahim of the Kush Movement​.​[362]​[363]​[364]
In February 2020, a new unity government was announced, to govern the entire country, with the support of all sides of the conflict.[365][366] As one part of the agreement, the current cabinet was disbanded, in order to enable more opposition members to be appointed to cabinet roles.[367][368][369][370] In March 2020, negotiators and officials on both sides of the conflict attempted to work out arrangements to facilitate the appointment of civilian governors for various regions, in concert with ongoing peace efforts.[371] The EU announced its support for the peace efforts and pledged to provide financial support of 100 million Euros.[372]
South Africa
A criminal investigation was launched against the former president Jacob Zuma after he refused co-operate with a corruption inquiry.[373]
South Sudan
The South Sudanese Civil War ended with a negotiated peace treaty. In January 2020, the Community of Sant'Egidio mediated a Rome Peace Declaration between the SSOMA and the South Sudanese government.[374] The most contentious issue delaying the formation of the unity government was whether South Sudan should keep 32 or return to 10 states. On 14 February 2020, Kiir announced South Sudan would return to 10 states in addition to three administrative areas of Abyei, Pibor, and Ruweng,[375][376] and on 22 February Riek Machar was sworn in as first vice president for the creation of the unity government, ending the civil war.[377] Disarmament campaigns led by the government has led to resistance, with clashes killing more than 100 people in two days in north-central Tonj in August 2020.[378]
General elections were held in Tanzania on 28 October 2020 to elect the President and National Assembly.[379] The presidential election was won by incumbent John Magufuli of the Chama Cha Mapinduzi party.[380] On 24 October 2020 the opposition claimed that the government was interfering in the election by making it more difficult to accredit thousands of opposition electoral observers, whose job is to ensure that the election is fair.[381] The opposition has also claimed that the National Electoral Commission, whose members are appointed by the president, have barred the challenger Lissu from campaigning while letting the incumbent Magufuli campaign.[382] From 27 October, the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) blocked several popular social media websites to restrict communication amid violence in the islands of Zanzibar, where dozens have been shot dead and tens have been injured by the police and other security forces.[381] Tanzania electoral watch panel,[383] USA State Department,[384] Commonwealth,[385] and European Union[386] were very critical about the elections.
Presidential elections were held in Togo on 22 February 2020.[387] Incumbent president Faure Gnassingbé of the Union for the Republic (UPR) was re-elected for his fourth term with 71% of the vote in the first round.[388] His closest challenger was Agbéyomé Kodjo, a former prime minister and leader of the newly established Patriotic Movement for Democracy and Development, who received 19% of the vote.
After observing the elections, ECOWAS determined that they were free and transparent, commending the population for its peaceful participation as an improvement from protests years prior against the long reign of the Gnassingbe family.[389] However, sporadic internet shutdowns were recorded across the capital and other major cities, prompting both international watchdogs and opposition parties to question the results.[390]
On 25 February Kodjo filed a petition at the Constitutional Court asking it to overturn the results.[391] Three days later, he and Kpodzro called for public protests, resulting in the military surrounding their homes and the Ministry of Territorial Administration stating that protests would be illegal.[391] Members of the National Assembly responded by accusing Kodjo of planning a coup.[392]
Unrest killed at least 45 people after the arrest of opposition leader Bobi Wine in the runup to the 2021 Ugandan general election.[393]
Zambia faces sovereign default as the first sub-Saharan African country since 2005 due to economic mismanagement by the government of Edgar Lungu, who has grown public debt from 32% to 120% and has scared off investment by seizing mines.[394] Debt servicing takes up four times more money from the budget than healthcare.[395] Much of the money is believed to have been lost to corruption.[395] The main opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema has been arrested.[394] The electoral roll has been nulled and only 30 days have been given for re-registration.[395] Comparisons have been drawn to neighbouring Zimbabwe.[395]
Argentina's economy faces major problems of debt, inflation, and growing poverty. Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is on trial for corruption.[396]
The 2020 Bolivian general election was won by the Movement for Socialism, which had been deposed from power during the 2019 Bolivian political crisis.[397]
On March 30, 2021, the commanders of all three branches of the Brazilian Armed Forces – General Edson Leal Pujol (Army), Admiral Ilques Barbosa Junior (Navy), and Brigadier Antonio Carlos Moretti Bermudez (Air Force) – announced their intention to resign from their posts. The collective resignation announcement came less than a day after the dismissal of former Defence Minister Fernando Azevedo e Silva and was allegedly a move to signal the Armed Forces' opposition to any military interference in politics.
See also: 2019–2020 Chilean protests
The 2019–20 Chilean protests demanded a new constitution, which the 2020 Chilean national plebiscite approved would be written by a constitutional convention.[398]
The 2019–20 Colombian protests were a collection of protests that began on 21 November 2019. Hundreds of thousands of Colombians demonstrated for various reasons. Some protested against various proposed economic and political reforms proposed by the government of Iván Duque Márquez, others against the few violent protestors and in favor of the Colombian peace process, and other issues.[89] Another series of protests began in Colombia on 28 April 2021 against increased taxes and health care reform proposed by the government of President Márquez.
At the 8th Congress of the Communist Party, Raúl Castro officially resigned as the First Secretary, the most powerful position in Cuba.[399] Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel was officially named First Secretary of the Communist Party following the resignation of Raúl Castro. He is the first person not of the Castro family to hold the position since the 1959 Cuban revolution.[400]
Dominican Republic
See also: 2020 Dominican Republic general election
In March 2020, massive protests occurred in the Dominican Republic, due to announced postponement of national elections.[401]
On 7 April 2020, The Criminal Court of the National Court of Justice found the former president Rafael Correa guilty of aggravated passive bribery in 2012–2016. He was sentenced to 8 years in prison in absentia for leading the corruption network that between 2012 and 2016 received "undue contributions" at to finance his political movement in exchange for awarding state contracts to businessmen along with Alexis Mera, former Judiciary Secretary of the Presidency, former Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, María de los Angeles Duarte, former congresswoman Viviana Bonilla and former Constitutional Judge and his secretary Pamela Martínez.​[402]​[403]​[404]​[405]​[406]​[407]
General elections were held in Ecuador on 7 February 2021. Incumbent president Lenín Moreno did not seek reelection. In first round results, Andrés Arauz had a significant lead, but one not large enough to avoid a runoff with Lasso, who had narrowly beaten third-place finisher Yaku Pérez. On 11 April, Lasso defeated Arauz,[408][409][410] which some news outlets called an upset victory.[411][412]
El Salvador
in the 2020 Salvadoran political crisis on 9 February 2020, the Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele ordered 1,400 Salvadoran soldiers from the Salvadoran Army to enter the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador to coerce the approval of a loan request of 109 million dollars from the United States for Bukele's security plan for El Salvador.[413] After winning a majority in the 2021 Salvadoran legislative election, President Bukele's party Nuevas Ideas voted to sack the country's Attorney General and the five judges of the Constitutional Court.[414]
Alejandro Giammattei became the new president in 2020. Later in the year, the 2020 Guatemalan protests breakout in response to COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricanes Eta and Iota.
In 2021, a former cartel leader testified in a New York court that he had bribed President Juan Orlando Hernández with 250,000 US dollars to prevent extradition to the United States.[415] His brother Tony Hernández was sentenced to life in prison on allegations of drug trafficking, with court documents claiming that the two had conspired to engage in "state-sponsored drug trafficking".[416]
See also: Presidency of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, LXIV Legislature of the Mexican Congress, and Fourth Transformation
As the Fourth Transformation enters its second year, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) faces challenges involving social violence (particularly drug-related and other killings),[417] corruption, major infrastructure development, universal health care,[418] and decentralization of the government.[419][420] At a news conference on January 15, 2020, journalist Jorge Ramos pointed that during AMLO's first year as president, there were more homicides than under his predecessors; Ramos asked if a change in strategy and/or personal were required. The president assured him that we would see results by December.[421]
Following several notorious cases of femicide, violence against women emerges as a priority concern. Hundreds of thousands march on March 8[422] and millions of women strike on March 9, 2020.[423]
United States
See also: Presidency of Donald Trump, 2020 United States presidential election, and 2020s in United States political history
The impeachment trial of Donald Trump found him not guilty in February 2020. The 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries ended up supporting moderate Joe Biden (former Vice President to Barack Obama) as the party's nominee, over more radical choices such as Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. The presidential campaign was dominated by the issues of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic fallout. A month before the election, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died unexpectedly, leading to the nomination and confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett as her replacement by the sitting President Trump and the Republican-held Senate. The election ended with Biden winning.
George Floyd protests
The George Floyd protests are an ongoing series of peaceful protests, lootings, riots, and demonstrations against police brutality and racism in policing. The protests began in the United States in Minneapolis on May 26, 2020,[424] following the killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, knelt on Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes during an arrest the previous day.[425]
The unrest began as local protests in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area of Minnesota before quickly spreading across the entire nation as well as George Floyd protests outside the United States in support of Black Lives Matter. While the majority of protests have been peaceful,[426] demonstrations in some cities descended into riots and widespread looting,[427][428] with some being marked by street skirmishes and strong police reaction, notably against some peaceful protesters and members of the media.[429] At least 200 cities imposed curfews by 3 June, while at least 27 states and Washington, D.C, activated over 74,000 National Guard personnel due to the mass unrest.[430][431][432] From the beginning of the protests to June 3, at least 11,000 people had been arrested,[433] including all four police officers involved in the arrest which led to Floyd's death.[434]
See also: 2017–2021 Peruvian political crisis and 2020 Peruvian parliamentary election
The fallout from the Odebrecht scandal and corruption investigations into opposition leader Keiko Fujimori and past presidents Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (2016–18), Ollanta Humala (2011–16), Alejandro Toledo (2001–06), and the late Alan Garcia (1985–90 and 2006–11) continue.[396]
Early parliamentary elections were held in Peru on 26 January 2020.[435] The elections were called after President Martín Vizcarra dissolved the Congress of the Republic on 30 September 2019.[435]
All 130 congressmen corresponding to the 26 electoral districts will be elected to office for the remainder of the 2016–2021 congressional period. It was the seventh parliamentary election under the 1993 Constitution, which created the current Congress of the Republic of Peru.
During the COVID-19 pandemic in Peru, Vizcarra instituted stay-at-home orders and issued relief funds, but existing inequality, overcrowding and a largely informal economy saw Peru being heavily affected by the pandemic. As a result, Peru's gross domestic product declined thirty percent, increasing political pressure on Vizcarra's government. In September 2020, Congress opened impeachment proceedings against Vizcarra on grounds of "moral incapacity", accusing him of influence peddling after audio recordings were released by an opposition legislator, but the process did not receive enough votes to remove him from office.
On 9 November 2020, the Peruvian Congress impeached Vizcarra a second time, after declaring him "morally incompetent"; he was removed from office.[436] The President of Congress, Manuel Merino, succeeded him as President of Peru the following day.[437] Vizcarra's removal from office was seen as a coup by many Peruvians,[438] political analysts[439] and media outlets in the country,​[440]​[441]​[442]​[443]​[444] resulting in the beginning of the 2020 Peruvian protests. Following the deaths of protesters, Merino resigned after only five days.[445] The new president chosen by the legislature was Francisco Sagasti, a former World Bank official characterised as a "centrist technocrat".[446]
The Crisis in Venezuela and its presidential crisis continued in 2020.
On 5 January, the 2020 Venezuelan National Assembly Delegated Committee election was disputed between Luis Parra and opposition leader Juan Guaidó.[447] On 19 January, Guaidó left Venezuela and arrived in Colombia, planning to meet with Mike Pompeo, as well as traveling to Europe and the United States later.[448]
On 26 March, the Department of State declared a $15 million bounty on Nicolás Maduro, as well as $10 million each on Diosdado Cabello, Hugo Carvajal, Clíver Alcalá Cordones and Tareck El Aissami, for charges of drug trafficking and narco-terrorism.[449] Following this, Clíver Alcalá, a former general residing in Colombia, published a video claiming responsibility for a stockpile of weapons and military equipment seized in Colombia.[450] According to Alcalá, he had made a contract with Guaidó and "American advisers" in order to buy weapons to remove Maduro.[450] Alcalá did not present any evidence[450] and Guaidó rejected the allegations.[451] After wishing farewell to his family, Alcalá surrendered to US authorities on 27 March.[452]
On 3 May, eight former Venezuelan soldiers were killed and seventeen rebels were captured on 3 May, including two American security contractors, after approximately 60 men landed in Macuto and tried to invade Venezuela. The members of the naval attack force were employed as private military contractors by Silvercorp USA and the operation aimed to depose Maduro from power.[453]
See also: 46th Parliament of Australia and Morrison government
The Morrison Government announced an economic stimulus package to combat the effects of coronavirus on the economy.[454]
New Zealand
The 2020 New Zealand general election was held on Saturday 17 October 2020 to determine the composition of the 53rd parliament.[455][456] Voters elected 120 members to the House of Representatives, 72 from single-member electorates and 48 from closed party lists. Two referendums, one on the personal use of cannabis and one on euthanasia, were also held.[457][458] The initial results for the general election have been released, with preliminary referendum results being released on 30 October. The final official results of the election and the referendum will be released on 6 November.[459]
The governing Labour Party, led by incumbent Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern won the election in a landslide victory against the National Party, led by Judith Collins.[460] It was the first time a New Zealand political party has secured a majority government under the mixed-member proportional representation (MMP) system introduced in 1996.[461] Labour also achieved the highest percentage of the popular vote (49.1%) for any political party since the 1951 general election[462][circular reference] (where the then-National Party won 54.0% of the popular vote). Labour also achieved its third-highest ever percentage of the popular vote (49.1%) in its political history, surpassed only by its previous general election victories of 1938 (55.8%) and 1946 (51.3%).[462] Conversely in this election, the National Party obtained the second-lowest ever percentage of the popular vote (26.79%) in its history, second only to the lowest percentage obtained in 2002 (20.93%).[462]
See also
See also
General overviews
Timeline articles for current year
Specific issues and topics
Overviews and historical topics for this period
Country and regional entries and timelines
Related decade overviews
See also: the categories 2020s, 2020s in politics, and 2020s economic history
See also: the categories 2020, 2020 in politics, 2020 by country, and 2020 in law
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