In his first press conference since winning the presidential election, Iran’s President-elect Ebrahim Raisi said he opposes negotiations on limiting Tehran’s ballistic missile program and support for proxy forces in the region, reports the Washington Post. Raisi, a hardline conservative cleric elected last week, also said he is not interested in meeting President Biden. His administration marks a departure from the moderate presidency of Hassan Rouhani and has the support of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Ethiopians are voting for prime minister on Monday, according to the BBC. The election is Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s first challenge since he was elected in 2018 and comes in the midst of intense conflict in the northern region of Tigray. Voting has been postponed in Tigray due to the ongoing violence there, and that conflict in addition to logistical problems have resulted in no voting in about a fifth of all constituencies.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez confirmed plans to pardon several Catalan separatists despite widespread opposition, reports the BBC. In a speech on Monday, Sánchez announced he would present the proposal to Spain’s national cabinet tomorrow to pardon nine separatist leaders imprisoned for sedition and three found guilty of disobedience after a failed bid for independence in 2017. News of the proposed pardons triggered protests earlier this month, and a poll for Spanish newspaper El Mundo found that 61 percent of Spaniards opposed the move. Spain’s Supreme Court also expressed its opposition to the pardons in a non-binding decision.
Sweden’s prime minister, Stefan Lofven, lost Monday’s no-confidence vote in parliament, writes the Associated Press. Lofven’s Social Democratic Party had governed as part of a minority government after Sweden’s 2018 election resulted in a hung parliament. The coalition fell apart when the Left Party opposed Lofven’s proposed abolition of rent controls on new properties, opening the way for a no-confidence vote. The Swedish constitution stipulates that within a week, Lofven must either call a snap election or ask that the speaker of parliament find a new governing coalition.
ICYMI: This Weekend on Lawfare
Ilari Papa argued that U.S. strategic competition with China has served as the impetus for a growing U.S.-Albania relationship in this week’s Foreign Policy Essay.
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