Sat. Feb 24th, 2024

Welcome back to World Brief as we examine Pakistan’s national election, coup accusations against ex Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, and Ukraine’s new military chief.

Pakistan held national elections to choose a new parliament on Thursday in what will be the country’s third-ever democratic transition between civilian governments. Results anticipated on Friday, but analysts expect three-time former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League party to win, although early results show independents backed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party leading in multiple constituencies.
Michael Kugelman of FP’s South Asia Brief writes that the powerful Pakistani military has heavily influenced the voting outcome by weakening rival parties, turning the process into a “selection,” not a true vote.
Sharif returned from a nearly four-year self-imposed exile in October 2023 to run for reelection. Pakistan’s Supreme Court overturned his prison sentences, allowing him to seek a fourth term. A popular opposition leader, Imran Khan, was barred from running for reelection for the next 10 years due to convictions for corruption. It’s expected that Sharif’s party will establish a coalition government with Bhutto Zardari’s support, further alienating Khan’s party if they don’t secure an outright majority. The military deployed around 650,000 security personnel across the country, but protests and violent attacks marred the election. Issues centered on record-high inflation, frequent gas outages, and extremist violence. The ruling coalition shut mobile phone service on Thursday due to recent terrorism, only to lift the shutdown hours later. Khan’s PTI party criticized the internet restrictions as a “severe assault on democracy” and “a cowardly attempt to stifle dissent.”
Brazilian police accused former President Jair Bolsonaro and his top aides of an organized campaign to overthrow the 2022 presidential election, leading to an attempt to instigate a coup. Bolsonaro was ordered to relinquish his passport and stay in Brazil.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reshuffled the leadership of the country’s military, replacing Gen. Valery Zaluzhny with Gen. Oleksandr Syrsky.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Israeli forces will soon enter the southern Gaza city of Rafah. At least 14 people, including five children, were killed during Israeli airstrikes. The city’s border with Egypt serves as the enclave’s main entry point for humanitarian aid).
In Madrid, hundreds of people demonstrated against a planned eviction by hosting performances in each apartment that would be affected.

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