Serbia’s undisputed leader Aleksandar Vučić, has relocated his power to the position of the republic’s President – a formally weak and largely ceremonial office in a parliamentarian system of government. Vučić has appointed a Prime Minister who holds no political power, allowing him to keep his influence in political decision-making. Monitoring the rise of Vucic has echoes of his southern neighbour in Turkey – is Vucic pulling an Erdogan?
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With the growing personalisation of politics in Turkey, embodied in President Erdoğan, a patron-client environment is emerging in the private sector. The President has secured a new loyal group of businessmen in his circle – in exchange for preferential access to state resources, these private sector players support Erdoğan and the AKP in any form required.
In all probability, Serbia’s President Vučić is set to maintain his political influence by leveraging his ability to manipulate a variety of formal and informal mechanisms of power in the state. All things being equal, Vučić is well on the road to becoming the most powerful figure in the country.
Erdoğan’s ability to manipulate the Turkish system to his favour is building a system governed by loyalty to the President. In fact, ongoing reshuffles will see even more loyalists brought in to secure him; and are important to monitor to understand how they will impact the country’s short to medium term political and investment environment.
Current tensions in Macedonia are contributing to an environment of political uncertainty. Although some are espousing concerns that Macedonia’s plight is contributing to greater regional instability, there are more convincing indications that recent developments are being driven by the former government to delay SJO investigations.
Although Romania has been an EU member for 10 years, the degree of transparency and privatisation of its energy sector fall well below expected EU standards. As a result, Romania’s energy sector remains largely opaque and politically exposed.
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Nationalism still dominates political discourse in much of the Balkans, and is a major source of political instability. Going hand in hand with illiberal and authoritarian tendencies, nationalism is being used for utilitarian political purposes and appears to be a vehicle for the Kremlin’s low-cost drive to destabilise the EU's projects and interests in the region.
Macedonia’s 3-year political crisis has been fueled by a powerful pro-SDSM civil society sector funded by Western interests. The cards are on the table, and the battle is reaching new heights as civil society power players seek to exert greater influence at all costs.
The electoral victory of Vučić in the Serbian presidential elections will directly impact the composition of informal networks surrounding him and his inner-circle. The main determining factor, however, will be the nomination for the new Prime Minister, which will have to balance several domestic and international political factors.
Central Asia has acted as a region through which Turkey has sought to channel its soft power, namely through the Gülen Movement. However, because of the AKP-Gülen split, Turkey’s involvement in Central Asia is in decline.
The first visit by a Turkish President to Mozambique has been tainted by the political war between the Gülen movement and the Turkish state.
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The energy sector in Turkey not only plays a vital economic role, but it is also a tool for political interests. The overwhelming influence of the state in this sector has allowed the government to utilise it to reinforce the loyalty of its surrounding informal networks.
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