Roughly a month after the legislative elections held in February 2016, the Guardian Council was still in validating the results. Votes were recounted in several provinces and hardliners, who suffered a significant loss in the elections, used the process to eliminate moderate or reformist figures in an attempt to influence the political makeup of the new assembly and offset their electoral defeat.
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Assessing the last six months of political and economic development for the Emirates is less a focus on challenges to stability, and more an assessment of how the ruling elites rebalance to maintain control.
Rouhani's strength in enlisting the support of popular Khatami and influential Rafsanjani supporters may also become his weakness, as he will need the full range of his diplomatic skills to keep his wide-ranging coalition of supporters together.
Apart for headline news sounding major commercial interest in Iran, private investors eager to reap benefits of the nuclear deal are confronted with a more sobering reality of factional infighting, a stagnant economy, and a private sector struggling to compete against quasi-government actors.
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Saudi Arabia’s 8th April pledge of almost $25 billion to Egypt was not a surprise. The Kingdom has been the most steadfast support of the el-Sisi regime since it took power in the summer of 2013.
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The UAE has established an unwanted reputation as a primary destination for international money laundering. In a bid to halt the illicit outflow of state wealth, Nigeria has taken a proactive stance in developing bilateral mechanisms to combat the movement of funds.
Despite President Rouhani’s promise to strengthen the private sector, state and so-called ‘quasi-state’ organisations continue to dominate the Iranian economy.
The resignation and arrest of then-Agriculture Minister Salah el-Din Mahmoud Helal in September 2015 highlighted the manipulation of political office for personal gain in Egypt.
The Suez Canal is an emblematic symbol of Egypt's role in global commerce. It was therefore predictable for el-Sisi to announce an extension to the canal as an election priority – but the promise has yet to materialise.
The on-going challenge for the UAE remains how to respond proactively to the challenges of low oil prices. Reforms are underway, driven by consolidation of elite control.
The Egyptian Central Bank devalued the pound against the dollar on 14th March 2016 in an effort to take active steps to improve a faltering economy. This decision, however, is likely to increase political pressure.
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The importance of Iran’s elections held on the 26th of February 2016 was demonstrated by an unprecedented high number of registered candidates - but hardliners remain influential.