In highly anticipated legislative elections held because a newly-elected legislature failed to form a coalition government last month, the center-right New Democracy party took a majority on Sunday, June 28, 29.6 percent and 130 seats to the radical right Syriza party’s 26.9 percent with 70 of the parliament’s 300 seats, The Christian Science Monitor and Le Figaro reported. Antonis Samaras, the leader of the New Democracy party announced that those elected have until Thursday, June 21, to explore possible coalitions. The PASOK Socialist Party seems likely to join the center-right in a commitment to adhere to the austerity measures instituted as part of a series of bailout packages the nation received from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, a commitment Syriza opposition campaigned against, according to The New York Times. However, leaders seemed hopeful that a coalition government would be formed by the evening of Tuesday, June 19, according to Le Parisien.
Greece’s far-right New Dawn party, which has campaigned against immigration, maintained its minority block in the elections, losing only three seats to retain 18 places, US News & World Report and The Washington Post reported. Tensions continue to rise between Greeks and their immigrant populations. The arrest of six far-right activists on Tuesday, June 12, for an attack on the home of Egyptian immigrants is but an example of the ongoing conflict in the debt-ridden nation, as covered by Le Monde.
The week proved tumultuous for Egypt as loyalists to ousted leader Hosni Mubarak moved to limit the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood, which achieved prevalence in the nation’s first democratically held elections since the transition of power. On Thursday, June 14, the Supreme Constitutional Court, named by Mubarak, dissolved the nation’s majority Islamist parliament just two days before the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate, Mohammed Morsi, was set to face off with Ahmed Shafik, former prime minister at the end of Mubarak’s reign, according to The New York Times. When Morsi won the presidential election with more than 52 percent of votes on Sunday, June 18, the Supreme Court announced a new bill dramatically diminishing the powers of the president, Le Figaro reported.
Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel laureate and pro-democracy opposition leader from Myanmar, appeared across Europe this week on her first trip to the continent in a quarter century after years of house arrest, The New York Times reported. In Kyi’s first stop at the United Nations’ International Labor Organization in Geneva, she called for the international community to invest in Myanmar as a key step in advancing the nation toward democracy. She was honored in Ireland and then returned to her alma mater, Oxford University, as covered by TF1 and The Washington Post.
The Institute of Cetacean Research, an organization that oversees the controversial whaling industry in Japan, reported on Wednesday, June 13, that about 75 percent of the more than 1,200 tons of whale meat produced during the summer 2011 hunting season had gone unsold, Le Monde reported. From the nation that continues to whale despite an international moratorium on the practice through a loophole allowing for “scientific research,” the appeal of fresh and high-quality whale meat remains high, while frozen whale meat has failed to attract buyers, despite a number of auctions held between November and March, according to The Guardian.