Global Review – 27th September

Official! Socialists win German election

The Social Democratic Party (SPD) has won yesterday’s parliamentary election in Germany, marking the end of the Merkel era, with 25.7% of the vote, slightly ahead of the Conservatives, according to an official provisional tally announced by the Federal Electoral Commission this morning. The conservative CDU-CSU camp obtained 24.1% of the votes, the worst result in its history, while the Greens came in third place with 14.8%, followed by the liberal Fdp party with 11.5%. Afd 10.5 (-2.1) and Linke 5% (-4.2). The government will depend on the choices of the Liberals and the Greens. In such a tight race, the possibilities for a coalition are still unclear. The candidates of the two main parties, Olaf Scholz and Armin Laschet, have said that they want a coalition by Christmas.

‘Taliban government in Afghanistan cannot be recognised’

Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio has told Rai 3 that the Taliban government in Afghanistan could not be recognised, but urged foreign governments to prevent a financial collapse there that would spark massive flows of migrants. Italy holds the annual, rotating presidency of the G20 and is looking to host a special summit on Afghanistan. “Recognition of the Taliban government is impossible since there are 17 terrorists among the ministers, and the human rights of women and girls are continuously violated,” said Di Maio, who chaired a meeting of G20 foreign ministers in New York last week.

San Marino votes for abortion

Residents in San Marino have overwhelmingly voted to legalise abortion: over 77.3% voted in support of allowing abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. Beyond the 12th week, the procedure would only be permitted if the mother’s life is in danger or if there are foetal abnormalities. It is now only Malta, Andorra and the Vatican, the three last places in Europe to have a total ban on abortion,

Iceland almost gets female-majority parliament

Iceland briefly celebrated electing a female-majority parliament on Sunday, before a recount produced a result just short of that landmark for gender parity in the country. The initial vote count had female candidates winning 33 seats in Iceland’s 63-seat parliament in an election that saw centrist parties make the biggest gains. Hours later, a recount in western Iceland changed the outcome, leaving female candidates with 30 seats. Still, at almost 48% of the total, that is the highest percentage for women lawmakers in Europe.

Swiss say yes to marriage equality

The Swiss have approved the ‘Civil marriage for all’ referendum which opens marriage to same-sex couples. With 64% of the votes in favour, the percentage was slightly higher than that predicted by the polls. The new law allows all married couples to jointly adopt a child and female couples to access sperm donation. If one of the two spouses is of foreign nationality, they will be able to benefit from a facilitated naturalisation procedure. Anonymous sperm donations, as well as the use of surrogate mothers, remain prohibited.

Austrian Communists win municipal election

The Austrian Communist Party unexpectedly won a municipal election in the Alpine country’s second biggest city. The Communists got 28.9% of the vote in the election for the city council in the southern city of Graz, ahead of the centre-right People’s Party with 25.7%. Mayor Siegfried Nagl, a People’s Party member who has led the city for 18 years, announced he would step down.

Israelis kill five Palestinians

Five Palestinians have been killed during raids by Israeli forces in the West Bank. The Israeli army said the operation was against Hamas militants about to carry out attacks, adding that as far as it knew all the dead were Hamas members. Two soldiers were seriously injured by Palestinian gunfire in one of the raids, it said. Hamas said four of its members were killed.

Talibans ban barbers from trimming beards

The Taliban have banned hairdressers in the Afghan province of Helmand from shaving or trimming their clients’ beards, saying it violates their interpretation of Islamic law. Anyone who breaks the rule will be punished. Some barbers in the capital Kabul said they received similar orders.

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