Monitoring Facebook during the Presidential Elections – Romania, November 2019

Between 1 – 24 November 2019, GlobalFocus Center, in cooperation with MEMO 98, monitored 102 public Facebook accounts of political parties, candidates, politicians, media, and other influential actors involved in the presidential election. Analysis observed 168 posts dedicated to disinformation in relation to the presidential elections by various accounts, especially by media and influencers.

Read the report in PDF format.

The ambivalence of the Zelensky presidency

By Andreas Umland | Kiev

Many political experts both in and outside Ukraine have reacted negatively or very negatively to the meteoric political rise of Ukrainian comedian Volodymyr Zelensky. Indeed, Zelensky’s presidency could prove problematic in various ways. His 2019-2024 term as Ukraine’s head of state may prove to be an even more ambivalent enterprise than those of the other two top contenders in this year’s presidential elections, the opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko and the former president Petro Poroshenko, would have been. Still, for all the apt scepticism, there is also – as in the case of certain positive aspects of Tymoshenko’s and Poroshenko’s unsuccessful bids for president – a bright side to Zelensky’s victory. One can identify at least three major risky or negative, but also three relatively encouraging dimensions of his rule.

Ze! Ukraine’s foreign and security policy

By Mykola Kapitonenko | Kiev

In the pre-election rhetoric used by all the front-runners in Ukraine’s presidential campaign, issues of national security and foreign policy ranked high. The conflict – referred to by many as ‘war’ – with Russia, the question of annexed Crimea, aspirations for NATO and EU membership, became topics of specific concern and points for emotional political discussions. The overwhelming majority of presidential candidates – there were 39 on the list in total – highlighted the restoration of the country’s territorial integrity and moving closer to EU and NATO membership as their foreign and national security policy priorities. 

New European leadership

by Ana-Maria Luca and Octavian Manea

The outcome of the latest round of Euro-elections (May 2019) was instrumental in the reconfiguration of the European leadership. For the first time in 40 years the European People’s Party (EPP) and the group of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) did not win enough seats to form a comfortable majority. The new political circumstances made the election of the Spitzenkandidat impossible.

Slovakia: Voters’ burning desire for change?

By Andrej Matišák | Bratislava

For a relatively small country, as Slovakia is usually described, February 2019 was a month of massive diplomatic importance. On this very rare occasion, several top-level politicians visited over a span of few weeks.

First, it was German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s turn. Slovakia was able to attract her not just for a bilateral visit but also for a meeting of the Visegrád Group during Slovakia’s one-year (July 2018-June 2019) presidency of the V4. Interestingly, Slovakia was successfulin organising a visit by Merkel while Hungary failed to achieve this aim – and, according to various diplomatic sources and experts,not for a lack of trying.