The SPD won only 37.1 percent of the votes in North Rhine and Westphalia, down 5.7 points since the last state election five years ago.
The SPD’s crisis has been sharpened by resistance to Schröder’s policies.
Laura Bush, wife of the US president, visited Egypt last week to shower praise on the country’s regime. She described Egypt’s dictator, Hosni Mubarak, as "bold and wise", claiming that he was "taking the first step" towards democracy.
The first round of voting in Lebanon’s elections has exposed the reality behind the "new dawn for democracy" in the Middle East.
Egyptian police and ruling party thugs turned 25 May, the day of the "historic referendum", into a public show of power and violence.
A massive strike by telecom workers in Pakistan is threatening to derail the government’s privatisation programme which would cut up to 4.2 million phone lines. Over the last two weeks over 55,000 workers at the Pakistan Telecom Company Limited (PTCL) have been involved in strike action. The government’s first response was to postpone the privatisation in the hope of demobilising the workers, and then to announce that privatisation was back on. At the time of writing, the unions had just announced the resumption of the strike.
The long drawn out crisis in the Andean countries of Latin America developed rapidly in the early months of 2005, producing extraordinary popular mobilisations.
Elections for governors and councillors took place across Uruguay, South America, on 8 May. Right wing parties were crushed in almost half of the districts of the country.
George Bush’s government smears its opponents as "supporters of tyranny". Yet recent events in the central Asian republic of Uzbekistan have exposed how the US government backs one of the world’s most repressive regimes.
Six months after his election, the cracks are well and truly appearing in the promises and policies of Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
A new left wing party is contesting the regional elections in North Rhine and Westphalia in Germany this Sunday.
Iraqis in the city of Ramadi and neighbouring towns held a general strike last weekend in a protest against a blockade by US troops. The strike was called as US troops mounted a major offensive on villages and towns along the Euphrates river up to the border with Syria.
Last week there were demonstrations in several cities in Afghanistan. The immediate cause was a report that US interrogators at Guantanamo Bay had defiled a Qur’an by putting it down a toilet.
We live in a big prison. How else could you explain why state security forces prevented a solidarity delegation going to visit 400 striking weavers at the state-owned Esco company?
Bomb and gun attacks in Cairo at the end of April prompted warnings of a new Islamist offensive against tourists in Egypt. But this is unlikely to materialise. The political climate is changing fast — and not in favour of targeting tourists.
President George Bush is facing increasing hostility at home to his proposals to kill off the US’s social security programme, which provides state retirement and disability benefits to some 44 million Americans.
Hundreds of thousands of supporters of Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s left wing president, marched through Caracas, the capital, on May Day in support of plans to introduce worker management across state run industries. Workers in Alcasa, the state aluminium company, have already started organising production themselves and electing their shop directors. "It is impossible for us to achieve our goals with capitalism, nor is it possible to find an intermediate path," Chavez told the crowds.
On 8 December, Gutierrez annulled the supreme court in Ecuador. He didn’t give any reason, or quote any law—he just abolished it because it was too independent. From that date the people started to organise themselves, holding assemblies and taking to the streets in massive numbers.
"Create conflict where necessary, communicate with all those suffering exploitation and oppression," was the message from Francesco Louca, one of eight members of the Portuguese Left Bloc (Bloco de Esquerda) elected to parliament in February.
An extraordinary event has taken place in one of Africa’s most significant historic sites.