Eastern European populist leaders face unpopularity
A right-wing populist wave in Eastern European countries like Slovenia, Hungary and Poland, raised by Donald Trump’s victory in 2016, has run into a serious hurdle: their leaders are not very popular, largely because of their response. to the coronavirus pandemic.
In Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban is now being countered by an unusually united opposition. In Poland, the deeply conservative government has shifted to the left on economic policy to regain support. And in Slovenia, the approval rating for the far-right ruling coalition has fallen from 65 to 26 percent.
To oust these leaders and capitalize on growing fatigue with their divisive tactics, their opponents must continue to act together. In Hungary, a diverse and previously antagonistic variety of opposition parties have joined, while in Slovenia, Prime Minister Janez Jansa narrowly survived an impeachment attempt by opposition lawmakers and defectors from his coalition.
Analysis: Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek, a self-proclaimed “moderately conservative Marxist,” said it was too early to dismiss the nationalist leaders in power. His most important asset, he said, was the disorder of his opponents.
Related: In response to the arrest of a young opposition journalist in Belarus, the United States, the EU, Great Britain and Canada imposed new sanctions for human rights abuses committed by the country.
Elections in Ethiopia
Ethiopian voters headed to the polls on Monday for the long-delayed parliamentary elections. But in 102 of the country’s 547 electoral districts, voters were unable to participate due to war, civil unrest and logistical failures. The ruling Prosperity Party, led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, is expected to win easily.
Not long ago, Abiy was seen internationally as a bright hope for the country and the continent. After coming to power in 2018, he released political prisoners, welcomed exiles from abroad, and quickly reached a historic peace deal with Eritrea, Ethiopia’s long-standing enemy. In 18 months, he had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
But that halo has been brutally shattered by the civil war in the northern Tigray region that has become synonymous with atrocities against Ethiopian citizens and has led to accusations of massacres, sexual assault and ethnic cleansing.
Catch up: Our reporters explain what led Abiy to carry out a military campaign in the Tigray region and how the fighting has affected Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa. This is what you need to know.
From opinion: Abiy promised peace to his country. Instead, it’s tearing it apart, writes Tsedale Lemma, founder of Addis Standard magazine.
Tokyo Olympics to allow domestic spectators
Viewers in Japan will be able to attend the Olympic events in Tokyo this summer, ensuring a live, albeit still limited, audience after foreign fans were excluded in March.
The announcement comes as the number of coronavirus cases in Japan falls and vaccination rates skyrocket. Currently, the country administers almost a million doses of vaccines every day. About 18 percent of the population have received a first dose and 7.3 percent are fully vaccinated.
Those attending will be required to wear masks and will not be allowed to shout. Athletes will be evaluated regularly and will have limited movement.
US Olympic Track and Field Trials: Nine-time United States Olympic medalist Allyson Felix qualified for her fifth and final summer game. Michael Norman, who has run the fastest 400 meters of all time, will also travel to Tokyo. Here are others who have succeeded.
Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.
In other developments:
The Biden administration has yet to distribute 55 million doses of the Covid vaccine that it pledged to donate by the end of this month. Most will go to Covax, an international effort to vaccinate the poorest nations.
Concerts with permanent audiences will be able to resume in France on June 30 and nightclubs will be able to reopen on July 9.
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Other great stories
An exquisite stretch of the Asi River has come to symbolize the identity politics that divide Israeli society.
On one side is the Free the like campaign, a mostly Mizrahi group fighting for public access to a treasured place of beauty. On the other hand, there is a kibbutz eager to maintain its hard-earned assets and a laid-back lifestyle, and is unwilling to share. “We live here,” said a kibbutznik. “This place was nurtured by us.”
ARTS AND IDEAS
‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ at 25
In 1996, Disney released an animated film with a musical number about lust, sin, and hellfire. The plot of the film involved the threat of genocide against the Roma people. Yet somehow, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” got a G grade from a parent review board.
“That’s the highest R-rated G he’s ever seen in his life,” Tab Murphy, one of the film’s screenwriters, told The Times. For the film’s 25th anniversary, Sarah Bahr explained how Disney made such a dark children’s movie.
The film changed a few things from its original material, a sad 19th-century Victor Hugo novel. He added talking gargoyles, and the two main characters didn’t die in the end. Because Disney didn’t want to take on the church, Hugo’s troubled archdeacon Claude Frollo turned into an evil magistrate.
Still, Disney executives took a relatively non-intervening approach. “They’d tell me, ‘Write the story you want to tell and let us care about our brand,'” Murphy said. (The marketing of the film made tell a different story. His motto was “Join the party!”)
Some of the themes in the film have stood the test of time. Frollo feels like a “very contemporary” villain in the #MeToo era, the film’s co-director noted. “Perhaps in hindsight ‘Hunchback’ was a bridge too far,” said Alan Menken, who composed the film’s soundtrack. “But God, I’m glad they pushed that bridge too far.”
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That’s it for today’s briefing. See you tomorrow. – Natasha
P.S. Tiffany HarnessA longtime editor of The Washington Post, he joins The Times’ Washington bureau as our new foreign policy editor.
The latest episode of “The Daily” is about a crucial decision by the United States Supreme Court on the right to vote.
Sanam Yar wrote Arts and Ideas of Today. You can reach Natasha and the team at [email protected] Voice.