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Alexei Navalny arrested on arrival as he returns home
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Opposition activist Navalny's call for mass protests a success as thousands take to the streets across Russia
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Police arresting activists ahead of Saturday’s demonstration in support of Navalny
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Private finance mobilised by development banks up 9% to $175bn in 2019
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OUTLOOK 2021 Lithuania
EBRD says loan to Estonia’s controversial Porto Franco project was never disbursed
Czech MPs pass protectionist food law in violation of EU rules
M&A in Central and Eastern Europe fell 16% in value in 2020, says CMS report
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COVID-19 and Trump’s indifference helped human rights abusers in 2020
OUTLOOK 2021 Poland
OUTLOOK 2021 Slovakia
BRICKS & MORTAR: Rosier future beckons for CEE retailers after year of change and disruption
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BALKAN BLOG: US approach to switch from quick-fix dealmaking to experience and cooperation
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Retailers and restaurant owners threaten protests in Bulgaria if reopening is delayed
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Bulgaria’s government considers gradual easing of COVID-related restrictions
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ING: Growth in the Balkans: from zero to hero again?
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OUTLOOK 2021 Moldova
Storming parliaments: New Europe's greatest hits
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Montenegrins say state administration is most corrupt institution
North Macedonia plans to cut personal income tax in IT sector to zero in 2023
Romania government to pursue “ambitious” timetable for justice reforms
OUTLOOK 2021 Romania
OUTLOOK 2021 Slovenia
Slovenia’s opposition files no-confidence motion against Jansa cabinet
Slovenia’s government to release funds to news agency STA after EU pressure
UK Moneyhub picks Slovenia for post-Brexit European base
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Turkey’s benchmark rate held as concerns over faltering recovery come to fore
Turkish lira breaches HSBC’s stop-loss, Turkey ETF signalling outflows
CAUCASUS BLOG : What can Biden offer the Caucasus and Stans, all but forgotten about by Trump?
Armenia ‘to extend life of its 1970s Metsamor nuclear power plant after 2026’
OUTLOOK 2021 Armenia
COMMENT: Record high debt levels will slow post-coronavirus recovery, threaten some countries' financial stability, says IIF
OUTLOOK 2021 Georgia
Iran’s Khamenei menaces private citizen Trump with image of aircraft shadowing blond golfer
Iran’s technology minister indicted for failing to properly implement internet censorship
No US move to rejoin Iran nuclear deal imminent, say Biden national security nominees
TEHRAN BLOG: Will Biden bet on a quick return to the Iran nuclear deal?
Central Asia vaccination plans underwhelm, but governments look unruffled
Fears of authoritarianism as Kyrgyz populist wins landslide and backing for ‘Khanstitution’
Mongolia's PM quits amid protests over treatment of mother with coronavirus and newborn baby
Mongolia's winter dzud set to be one of most extreme on record says Red Cross
Mongolian coal exports to China paralysed as Beijing demands virus testing of truck drivers
Mongolia fears economic damage as country faces up to its first local transmissions of coronavirus
OUTLOOK 2021 Tajikistan
OUTLOOK 2021 Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan: How the Grinch stole New Year
COMMENT: Uzbekistan is being transformed, but where are the democratic reforms?
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Poland’s ruling coalition, led by Law and Justice (PiS), passed a hugely controversial law on April 6 instituting a mail-only presidential election next month.
The changes were rushed through after the coalition failed to place the draft of the law on the parliamentary agenda earlier that day. That triggered speculation about the government’s possible collapse but PiS eventually marshalled its initially sceptical junior coalition partner, the Alliance party, to vote in favour
A postal vote is a safe way to carry out the election during the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic, the government claims.
But questions remain as to whether the new election rules will potentially endanger the safety of people during the epidemic when millions of voters will have to go out and post their votes via specially designed boxes.
Nationally-held voting by post – normally an option reserved for a minority of voters, such as the disabled – compromises basic rules of a democratic election like anonymous voting, critics have charged.
The technical side of organising a postal vote for some 30mn eligible voters is also staggeringly difficult, given the election is due only next month. The new law gives the parliamentary speaker some leeway in moving the date to up to two weeks later than the original date of May 10.
A controversial provision in the new law also penalises mishandling of the voting cards by up to three years in prison. While it is not clear whether that entails simply not picking up the cards from one’s mailbox – in case someone is not willing to vote at all – the measure is seen as a means to nudge people to vote and inflate turnout.
Some polls have shown that turnout could drop well below 30%, were the election to go ahead during the spreading epidemic.
Poland registered over 4,400 coronavirus cases as of March 6, including 107 deaths. The epidemic could only peak in May or June, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki admitted on April 6.
Since the coronavirus outbreak, there has been virtually no presidential campaign in Poland. The incumbent President Andrzej Duda has clearly benefitted from that, remaining active as the head of state and with unwavering support of the government-controlled public broadcaster TVP.
Recent polls suggest Duda could win without a run-off vote, which takes place if no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote.
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