Ukrainian President calls snap parliamentary election
On May 20, 2019, Volodymyr Zelenskyj was inaugurated as the 6th president of Ukraine. During his inauguration speech, Zelenskyj called for the dissolution of the Verkhovna Rada and early elections shortly afterward. The main argument of the president stemmed from the collapse of the ruling coalition, low public confidence and the absence of a publicized version of the coalition agreement or the list of the MPs supporting the coalition.
Just a few hours after the inauguration, the late prime minister Volodymyr Groysman resigned. He was followed by the late minister of defense, Stepan Poltorak, the chief of the SBU intelligence, Oleksandr Turchynov, and the general prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko.
According to the last survey on party preferences that was realized right after the call for early elections, the party of president Zelenskyj, The Servant of the People, has a massive lead of 43.8% over Medvedchuk’s Opposition Platform – For Life (10.5%), the Bloc of Petro Poroshenko (8.8%), Tymoshenko’s Fatherland/Batkivshchyna (7.3%), or Smeshko’s Party of Strength and Honour (5.1%). Yatsenyuk´s Popular Front did not reach the threshold for the Supreme Council. Zelenskyj declared several times during his presidential campaign that he would not consider support of Medvedchuk, Tymoshenko, or Poroshenko as acceptable while constructing a new ruling coalition. Considering Zelenskyj’s unwillingness to change his mind, the party of the president would be left to find some support among parties that are currently balancing over the threshold and their future presence in the parliament is far from certain.
While dissolving the parliament and calling for early elections, Mr. Zelenskyj can pursue several goals at once. Resignation of several members from the previous administration served Zelenskyj as initial evidence for promises he had made during the presidential campaign focused on corruption and kleptocracy. The president is aware that his popularity has probably reached its peak and now it is the best time to utilize it in the most effective manner. Having the elections on July 21 instead of late October would give him enough time to stabilize the political situation. At the same time, it would revoke his opponents time for preparation or constructive criticism.
Bombs for hackers: Is Israel showing the future of arfare?
At the beginning of this month, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) bombed a building in Gaza Strip, which was allegedly the headquarters of hackers responsible for a cyberattack attempt. The Israeli response is the first known use of hard military power as a direct and immediate response to a cyber attack within an ongoing conflict.
The act could bring an essential shift in modern warfare when states begin neutralizing hacker groups, which they consider a threat to their security, by lethal means. The development could bring a number of practical and ethical problems. The use of hard military power as a response to a cyberattack is a clear breach of principles of proportional use of power. Therefore, it could significantly contribute to the escalation of the conflict, especially when it has not yet fully started. The use of lethal power against unarmed people, who did not pose any threat to people’s lives, is also questionable. In this case, however, the hackers have conducted offensive action in the name of a militant group.
In general, states will need to assess closely the circumstances and consequences of adopting the principles of hard military power against cyberattacks. Especially complicated might be situations when a cyber incident response of a state cannot be as effective as its military response. The eventual erasing of borders of the cyberspace is an apparent trend, and this development could bring even more uncertainty into waging of conflicts.
Istanbul mayoral elections outcome will be annulled
Turkey’s Supreme Election Council (YSK) announced today that, after a month, the outcome of the local mayoral elections in Istanbul will be annuled. This request was demanded by the ruling AK Party after the opposition candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu won on March 31. Istanbul will, therefore, face a re-run on June 23.
The decision of the president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his party to achieve do-over of Istanbul mayoral elections acts as a symbol showing the expected course of development in the country. The radical wing in the AKP prevailed and it will continue to promote the current nationalist discourse of the government coalition and continue to deepen Turkey’s already bad relations with the West. A probable further consolidation of the authoritarian regime will lead to an even more deteriorated economic situation and a further fall of the Turkish lira.
It is evident that the current Turkish regime has reached its limits in both the domestic (local election) and foreign policy (F-35 vs S-400) and will therefore behave rather unpredictably in the foreseeable future, with Erdoğan more willing to adopt radical measures.
STRATPOL Memos is a project which on a bi-weekly basis provides a short overview of the most important selected moments of Euro-Atlantic security and related areas. Our goal is to provide brief and informative comments with short analysis putting news into a broader context.
Responsible editor Matúš Jevčák.
The text has not undergone language revision.