With the end of 2016 and the U.S. Presidential Election being something of last year, it is time for Americans to turn their eyes back outwards because the world around them is rapidly changing. This was not just an election period in the United States, but in other nations as well. These elections were almost revolutionary as they show the world taking enormous steps in a different direction.
2017 is the year of the next French Presidential election. Leadership will be more important to this country than any other due to the fact that France has suffered 22 terrorist attacks in the past five years, the length of all French presidential terms since 2000. Current President of France François Hollande has one of the lowest approval ratings of any French President before him (an average of around 12%). This is in comparison to Barack Obama’s 56% and Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau’s 63%.
Hollande chose not to run for reelection, making him the first modern French President to do so. The election process to choose the next leader of the Fifth Republic has not gotten past the primaries, but it looks like Marine Le Pen, the far right candidate, and François Fillon, the center-right candidate, are going to lead the polls in the coming election.
Unless you were living under a rock in 2016, you know about “Brexit.” What people may not have realized is the effect it has had on the British Government. Prior to the vote, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron confidently promised he would step down if the vote for the U.K. to leave the European Union succeeded, and when it passed he held true to his word.
After Cameron’s departure, Theresa May was elected to be the new P.M. of the United Kingdom, a position she readily accepted. Two days prior to being appointed P.M., May was also elected as the Leader of the Conservative Party, another position she filled that Cameron stepped down from. Not only was it shocking for Cameron to leave office and create a shift in British leadership, but also presented a great step forward for women in politics. May became the second woman ever, the first being Margaret Thatcher, to become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. May also became the first women ever to have held two of the Great Offices of State, having been Home Secretary prior to her appointment as Prime Minister.
Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key, resigned on December 12th. Being a popular leader, it came as a surprise to people and also as a disappointment. Key stated his reason as having, “a desire to spend more time with [his] family.” He was a good friend of David Cameron and his resignation caused Key to lose some interest in politics. Another problem for Key was the end of President Barack Obama’s final term, another good friend of Key’s.
Key began as a business executive and never desired a role as a career politician. After 8 years of his job as P.M., he decided it was time for him to take a break from politics, probably for good. Bill English will most likely take over as Prime Minister. Both English and Key worked hard on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and are huge supporters of it. President Elect Donald Trump threatens this agreement, likely another influencing factor in the resignation of Key.
Matteo Renzi, the former Prime Minister of Italy, chose to resign from his position after seeing the results of the Referendum in December 2016, but was told by the President to remain until the economic issue was solved. Renzi took full responsibility for the loss and was almost disheartened by it.
The Referendum was a vote on whether or not to amend the 1948 Constitution, creating a smaller Parliament of just 100 members as opposed to the current 315 members. The desire for amendment was mainly due to the current state of the Euro in Italy, the 3rd wealthiest member of the Eurozone, which has caused some discontent in Italy.
With the value of the Euro dropping and Italian uncertainty, this incident can show a part of a bigger picture and dually bring into question the future of the Euro in Europe. Paolo Gentiloni is now the Prime Minister of Italy, replacing Renzi on December 12, 2016.
The former President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, was voted out of office on the 31st of August, 2016. She was being charged for manipulation of the budget, and 61 Brazilian Senators voted in favor of her impeachment. Earlier this fall, Grace Bentley and Alec Brandel wrote excellent articles regarding the impeachment process. To summarize the basics of the situation, Rousseff borrowed money from banks for social programs without providing any reimbursements.
Rousseff was replaced by Michel Temer, who has promised to unify Brazil and get its economy back on track. Rousseff is defiant of the results and has said that she will keep fighting. “They think they’ve defeated us, but they’re wrong,” she said in Brasilia, the capital of Brazil.
Finally, former President of South Korea Park Geun-hye was impeached on December 9, 2016 on the charges of extorting private business in order to benefit a friend, Choi Soon-sil, the daughter of a shaman cult leader. She forced companies to give over $90 million to two foundations she controlled.
With an under 5% approval rating, Geun-hye has even less approval than President Hollande of France. With her impeachment trials being held in the beginning of this year, Geun-hye has been absent for the hearings. The role of President is now being fulfilled by the the Prime Minister, Hwang Kyo-ahn, acting President of South Korea.