[Apr 29] 2nd Belt and Road Forum, Spain general elections
PHOTO: Yonhap News. Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks at the opening of an international forum on China’s “One Belt, One Road” Initiative (BRI) in Beijing on April 26, 2019.
The Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) was held in Beijing, China from April 26 to 28. 37 Heads of State and government attended the forum.
The three-day conference included 12 thematic forums, an opening ceremony, a banquet dinner, a leaders’ roundtable, and a closing ceremony, drawing together some 5,000 participants from more than 150 countries and 90 international organizations.
Since Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the BRI six years ago, 126 countries and 29 international organizations have signed BRI cooperation documents with China.
In his closing remark, Xi said that more than US$64 billion worth of deals (a total of 283 items of practical outcomes) were signed during the forum, and assured all participants that market principles would guide all BRI cooperation projects and the commercial and financial sustainability of BRI projects would improve the livelihoods of people in participating countries worldwide.
Xi stated that China would introduce well-organized rules and standards in its BRI projects: “We will make sure that corporates follow international rules and standards during construction, operation, and merchandise, and respect laws and regulations in different countries.”
From the MSEAP countries, Azerbaijan (President Ilham Aliyev), Brunei (Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah), Cambodia (Prime Minister Hun Sen), Cyprus (President Nicos Anastasiades), Czech Republic (President Milos Zeman), Indonesia (Vice President Jusuf Kalla), Kazakhstan (Former President Nursultan Nazarbayev), Kyrgyzstan (President Sooronbay Jeenbekov), Laos (President Bounnhang Vorachit), Mongolia (President Khatlmaa Battulga), Myanmar (State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi), Pakistan (Prime Minister Imran Khan), Philippines (President Rodrigo Duterte), Russia (President Vladimir Putin), Serbia (President Aleksandar Vucic), Tajikistan (President Emomali Rahmon), Thailand (Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha), Uzbekistan (President Shavkat Mirziyoyev), and Vietnam (Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc) attended the event.
PHOTO: AFG/Getty Images. From left to right: Pedro Sanchez (Socialist Party), Pablo Casado (Popular Party, PP), Albert Rivera (Ciudadanos/Citizens), Pablo Iglesias (Podemos), Santiago Abascal (Vox)
In the 2019 general elections, Spain’s governing Socialists have claimed victory in the country’s third election in four years, but have fallen short of a majority.
PM Pedro Sanchez’s Socialist party polled 29% (123 seats), while their former coalition partner Podemos won 14.3% (42 seats), falling 11 seats short of the necessary 176 to form a majority. PM Sanchez could make up the numbers with smaller regional parties, including Basque nationalists, but he is likely to need the help of Catalan pro-independence parties, which withdrew their support for his government last month, forcing the election.
The Popular Party (PP) which governed Spain until it was ousted from power in May 2018 in a non-confidence vote, won only 16.7% (66 seats) in the 2019 general election, 71 seats less than it had in the previous parliament. This historic defeat means that even with the support of center-right Ciudadanos (the Citizens Party) and far-right party Vox, PP has no chance of forming a coalition. PP’s leader Pablo Casado said it would become the main opposition force.
Far-right party Vox won 10% of the vote, winning 24 seats in the 350-seat parliament. This is the first time that a far-right party is set to enter parliament since the military rule ended in the 1970s.
Turnout was 75.8%, the biggest for several years and 9% higher than the previous election in 2016.
In his victory speech, Sanchez said the party’s big challenges were to fight inequality, advance co-existence, and halt corruption. “The future has won and the past has lost”, he told cheering supporters.
During Sanchez’s time in office, he has raised the minimum wage, appointed a female-dominated cabinet and promised to bring in laws defining rape as sex without clear consent.
BY MSEAP Cyber Secretariat (firstname.lastname@example.org)