8 major events that ruffled feathers in the first half of 2017

June 27, 2017 10:58 am

Without any doubts, 2016 was one of the momentous political years of our time, with the US elections that took the world by storm. It was also the year of the Brexit.

As the first half of 2017 draws to a close, let’s take a small look at the political events and current affairs happenings that have taken centrestage.

1. The French Presidential Election

Emmanuelle Macron was elected as the new French President earlier this year after the much publicized elections – however his route to victory was far from easy. His opponent was Front National’s Marine Le Pen. One of the most notable facts of the Presidential Election was absention rate (the percentage of registered voters who didn’t cast a ballot) was quite high. A lot of voters expressed their objections by not turning out.

2. The Turkey Referendum

In a referendum, a new draft constitution that now deems Turkey a presidential republic has been now approved. The new reforms are slated to streamline decision making and avoid the parliamentary coalitions that have essentially gone wrong in the past in Turkey. As per the referendum, the president will now be elected directly by the people and now he is solely responsible to enforce laws.

3.  The UK Election

The British exit (or Brexit) referendum shook matters up in June 2016, where majority of the people voted to leave the EU. However in April 2017, Prime Minister Theresa May announced a June election to ensure there was a bigger majority to guarantee political stability in the Brexit negotiations with the EU.

4. Rouhani’s spectacular win in the Iranian elections

Iran’s reformist President Hassan Rouhani won the country’s Presidential election, sweeping a strong victory from under the feet of arch rival Ebrahim Raisi. The election was viewed by many people as a verdict impacting positively Rouhani’s policy of bringing Iran to the forefront of the world.

5. Deutsch elections in Autumn 2017

The German elections have been scheduled to take place on September 24 later this year. Despite all the criticism Angela Merkel has received in her role so far, a majority of the voters are supporting her role as the chancellor. Her main opponent is former European Parliament President Martin Schulz. At the moment the German political scene seems to be unraveling with the Alternative for Germany (AfD) coming to the forefront.

6. President Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia

In the speech delivered by President Trump during his visit in May 2017, he spoke about strongly working towards eradicating terrorism. He strongly announced that the US as a country is going to focus on building a partnership and offering a hand of help to other countries. Eradicating ISIS, working towards the humanitarian crisis in Syria, and also isolating Iran due to their open support for barbarism, cruelty and destruction summarized the key points of Trump’s 36 minute speech.

7. The Qatari Crisis

In a surprise move, with effect from June 5 2017, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE and several other countries have cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and have imposed a land, sea and air embargo. There is a strong accusation on Qatar of supporting terrorism, which the country has outright denied. Qatar has spoken out about this collective decision being unjustified. In the middle of this diplomatic crisis, Qatar has found an ally in Turkey.

8. The recent surge of terrorist attacks in Europe

The ISIS have claimed responsibility for majority of the recent terror attacks in Europe. The city of London has been a huge target of late, with quite a few attacks which have sadly taken place in this first half of the year. One very common view being expressed time and again in the media is that the surges of terrorism  are the results of the double-standard, decades-long policies adopted by the western countries in their dealing with terrorism in West Asia.


AMEinfo Staff
By AMEinfo Staff
AMEinfo staff members report business news and views from across the Middle East and North Africa region, and analyse global events impacting the region today.