Expert Comment

First Presidential debate: Much ado about nothing.


The first three hours presidential debate on April 28th revolved around social and cultural topics. It was organized on 12 questions, distributed among the six candidates –Hassan Rohani, Mohamad Baqer Qalibaf, Ibrahim Raisi, Eshaq Jahangiri, Mostafa Mirsalim y Mostafa Hashemi Taba–, with a fixed time for answers and comments; it did not clarify any of the candidates’ programs regarding these aspects, but it did draw up which the main discussion axis is going to be along the campaign: Rohani, Jahangiri and Hashemi Taba on one side, Qalibaf, Raisi and Mirsalim on the other.

I participated in the January Revolution!


With the hashtag "I participated in the January revolution", social networks in Egypt have been awash with recollections and protestation on the fifth anniversary of the 25 January 2011 revolution. The mobilisation on both Facebook and Twitter in defence of those 18 days of mass protests that led to the overthrow of then-President Hosni Mubarak, has been a breath of fresh air and a change compared to last year's anniversary.

A turning point


The battle for Taksim which has spread across across Turkey in recent days is being waged economically and politically. Taksim is, after all, the hub of Istanbul's European side and a highly symbolic place both collectively and politically. The square is linked to the pedestrian Istiklal Street and its iconic tramway which on weekends fills with crowds from every part of the city and different countries around the world.

From one surprise to another


We have become accustomed to major surprises during Iranian presidential elections. While the 1997 and 2005 elections were won by the least-expected candidates (Mohamed Khatami and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad), and the 2009 elections ended in the biggest political crisis the republic has undergone in its thirty year history, the 2013 elections will be remembered for the rejection of Hashemi Rafsanjani and Esfandiar, the two most awkward candidates for the Leader, Ali Khamenei.