Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, defied the pundits by winning an outright re-election victory in the first round of voting. His Justice and Development (AK) party, together with its allies, also triumphed in simultaneous elections to parliament. The elections marked a rise in nationalist sentiment. In his victory speech Mr Erdogan said the country had “voted for a decisive fight against the PKK”, an outlawed Kurdish group. See article.
The EU launched a new defence co-operation arrangement, dubbed EI2. Unlike other non-NATO schemes, it will focus on deployment in conflict zones. See article.
A European mini-summit on immigration made little progress. Italy demanded an end to the system whereby migrants must be processed in their first country of arrival. See article.
The British government’s plan for a third runway at Heathrow was passed by the House of Commons by 415 to 119 votes. Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, was widely ridiculed for missing the vote, having previously said he would lie down in front of bulldozers to stop the runway. Other opponents of the runway vowed to continue their fight to prevent further noise and air pollution. See article.
A heterosexual couple opposed to the “patriarchal nature” of marriage won the legal right to have a civil partnership, after appealing to Britain’s Supreme Court. The law states that civil partners must be two people of the same sex, but the court found that this breaches the European Convention on Human Rights. Those who advocate broadening civil partnerships to all people urged the government to change the law.
An explosion at a campaign rally in Zimbabwe attended by Emmerson Mnangagwa, the president, killed two people and injured dozens. The government claimed that Mr Mnangagwa was the target of the attack. He was unharmed and said a general election, scheduled for July 30th, would go ahead. See article.
A similar attack in Ethiopia killed two people and injured over 150. This one targeted a political rally for Abiy Ahmed, the new prime minister, who is pursuing political and economic reforms and has reached out to the opposition.
The warring sides in South Sudan’s civil war signed a permanent ceasefire, which calls for a transitional government to be created within four months and to govern for three years. If it holds, the deal will secure the flow of aid into the country.
A long-standing ban on women driving was lifted in Saudi Arabia. The mood was celebratory as women took to the road. So far relatively few have been granted licences, though many thousands have applied.
Big protests erupted in Iran. Thousands of people marched towards the parliament building in Tehran, angered by rising prices and a sinking currency. Some clashed with the police, who eventually dispersed the crowd with tear gas. See article.
The Syrian army stepped up its assault on the rebel-held part of Deraa, a province in the south-west. The fighting has displaced 45,000 people, according to the UN. See article.
A moderate climate
Centrists did well in provincial elections in Indonesia. But in the governor’s race in North Sumatra, in which the two candidates resembled the likely contenders in next year’s presidential election, the moderate whose views are closest to those of the president, Joko Widodo, was beaten by a general backed by religious and nationalist parties. See article.
Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines, called God a “son of a whore”. “Who is this stupid God?” he asked in a speech, prompting predictable outrage. See article.
Malaysian authorities announced that they had seized cash, jewellery, designer handbags and other luxury goods worth $273m from properties belonging to Najib Razak, a former prime minister, as part of a corruption investigation.
A bad week for liberals
America’s Supreme Court issued some blockbuster rulings. It decided that Donald Trump’s travel ban on people from several Muslim countries is constitutional; let stand a congressional map drawn to favour Republicans in North Carolina; overturned a law from 1977 that required non-unionised public-sector workers to contribute fees towards collective bargaining; and found that religiously oriented pregnancy clinics are not compelled to provide information on abortion on free-speech grounds. See article.
Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the Supreme Court. He often delivered the swing vote between the court’s ideological wings and wrote the opinion legalising gay marriage. Mr Trump now has the chance to nominate a judge with a more decisively conservative bent and reshape the court. See article.
A federal judge issued an order to reunite families who have been separated at the Mexican border when trying to cross it illegally. More than 2,000 children separated from their parents in the recent crackdown remain in custody; in some cases their parents have already been deported. The House, meanwhile, rejected an immigration reform bill when over 100 Republicans ignored their party’s leaders and voted against it. See article.
In this week’s primaries, Mitt Romney won his bid to become the Republican candidate for a Senate seat in Utah. He is all but assured of winning the seat in November; in his victory speech Mr Romney vowed to tackle immigration reform. There was a big upset in a primary for a congressional seat in New York City, where Joseph Crowley, one of the Democrats’ leaders in the House, was defeated by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old socialist.
Slapping a helping hand
A 24-hour strike to protest against Argentina’s $50bn standby-loan agreement with the IMF brought much of the country to a standstill. The General Confederation of Workers, the largest trade union, which called the strike, also demanded pay rises to match the annual-inflation rate, which is 26%.
The EU imposed sanctions on 11 Venezuelan officials, including the vice-president, Delcy Rodríguez. The EU said that the re-election in May of the president, Nicolás Maduro, was “neither free nor fair”. The sanctions freeze the officials’ assets in the EU and ban them from travelling there.
This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”