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Which way will 2019 turn?

Posted in Featured, View Point

Published on January 04, 2019 with No Comments

The New Year is only a few days old, but the political forces that are likely to shape a turbulent 2019 are already in play. The first major move has come from an unexpected quarter. In Sudan  twenty-two opposition parties and groups backing  protesters have called for president Omar al-Bashir to resign over a dire economic crisis in the country  demanding transitional government.  On the other end in South Asia, elections in Bangaldesh have prompted United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom to  urge Bangladesh’s Election Commission to investigate reports of irregularities in parliamentary polls marred by deadly violence.

For Ontarians, year 2019 has already ringed in with new penalties. Drivers caught, talking, texting, dialling or emailing on a handheld device will be fined up to $1,000 — more than double the current fine. Additional penalties include a three-day licence suspension and three demerit points. And that’s just the beginning, and with each conviction the fine rises many folds and the convicted motorists can expect their insurance rates to go up.  Will these penalties make them better drivers is something that only time would unveil as stiffer fines and long-term consequences are already in force for distracted drivers.

More changes are expected at Federal politics. The official campaign for the federal election would kick off in mid September and would be closely watched as the Liberals, the Progressive Conservatives and the National Democratic Party appear to be a formidable forces. The outlook of these elections could depend upon how Prime Minister Justin Trudeau handles some contagious issues that include federally imposed carbon tax on provinces, the new parental sharing benefit that seeks to encourage parents to more equally share the responsibility of raising children. Though, the production and sale of edible cannabis, cannabis extracts, and cannabis topicals will be legal in Canada no later than Oct. 17, 2019, however the preparedness of the provinces would determine the outcome of the proposal.  The federal government will begin enacting consolidated food safety regulations, some of which come into force on January 15, 2019. Among the new regulations: business that import food or prepare food for export across provincial and territorial borders will need to have licenses and “preventive controls” to ensure food safety. Most businesses will also have to keep traceability records so that unsafe or contaminated foods can be faster removed from the marketplace.

Just South, the  Republicans’ total control of the US Congress would end in January, 2019. That’s when a new batch of politicians will be sworn in, and many of them may not endorse the policies of US President Trump, who may have to answer an all important question- “Will Trump hold on to the White house in the 2020 election?”.  In 2019, the question will take on new meaning as contenders, hoping to replace him, announce their andidacies. 

The U.S.-China trade war had brought economic slowdown last year, hope these two economic giants are able to come to some concrete proposal  on world economic front. When President Donald Trump announced pullout from Syria this month, he created an impression a growing sense that the civil war raging through the country, which has killed hundreds of thousands and made Syria a byword for suffering, is finally winding down. That impression was short lived and by all means the war is not over. The government of President Bashar Assad, at its strongest since the conflict began in 2011, insists it will again control every inch of Syria. Russian President Vladimir Putting may be facing of the most serious political challenges.  Putin’s approval ratings dropped after he introduced controversial pension reforms this summer. Thousands of Russians took to the streets to protest the move, saying that by raising the retirement age, the Kremlin was planning to fund depleting budget revenues at the people’s expense.

2019 is expected to be the year that Britain finally leaves the European Union.  Brexit is scheduled to formally come into effect on March 29, but given how challenging the negotiations have been to date, nothing is yet guaranteed.  The first three months of the year will be critical to ensuring that timeline goes according to plan. In the second week of January British Prime Minister Theresa May will summon her Cabinet back together in preparation for lawmakers voting on her Brexit divorce deal. There could be different course of action depending upon the outcome.

It’s going to be a big year for India on many fronts. India has got a charismatic politician Narendra Modi as their prime minister and India would be going to the parliamentary polls. India has been on an upswing under his leadership, however his silence on critical issue that include hate crimes against minority, and changing the goal post for poll promises announced in the last elections have been a cause of concern. Last month, his party lost control of three state assemblies indicating a tougher-than expected contest for him to retain power in nationwide elections. Opposition is divided and a lack of a leader of his stature are some of the factors that could tilt the scales in his favour, even though some major allies have deserted him.

Staying in Asia, the political drama between President Maithripala Sirisena and the UNP/UNF government of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe would likely overshadow this year.

Overall 2019 is expected to be an year where politics is going to dominate as always. Will the leaders with political power over the world let their will dominate or will give way to the will of the people?

 

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