Every six months a different member state of the European Union holds the Presidency presiding over the work of the Council of the European Union.
During the second half of 2012 Cyprus will take over the Presidency.
Despite the challenges that holding the Presidency presents, Cyprus aspires to rise to the expectations that the role entails and also to influence and assist substantially in furthering EU ideals and enhancing the profile of the Union internationally. Cyprus is strongly committed to acting fairly and to ensuring outcomes that conform to the spirit of cooperation in which the EU was conceived.
Substantial work is under way to prepare Cyprus for the EU Presidency. The preliminary website of the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the EU is part of the preparatory activities taking place and it aims at providing information for what is currently being planned and implemented in preparation for the Presidency.
Ireland will hold a referendum on the European Union’s new fiscal treaty. It is the only member of the euro zone to subject the fiscal pact to a national vote. If the treaty is ratified, it will bind members to a maximum deficit of 0.5% of GDP.
The president is elected by absolute majority to serve for a 6-year term. The declared candidates are Amr Moussa (independent), Hazem Salah Abu Ismail (affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood), Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh (independent), Mohammad Salim Al-Awa (independent), Bothaina Kamel (independent), Ahmed Mohamed Shafik (formerly National Democratic Party) and Khaled Ali (independent).
Since Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in February 2011, the office of the president has been vacant. Mohammad Hussein Tantawi, the head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, is currently acting head of state.
The 2012 Forum of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) will be held in Paris. The forum brings together various governments, scholars, business leaders, union representative and leaders of international organisations to discuss important issues on the international agenda such as equality, job development and environmental policies.
The president is elected by absolute majority to serve a 4-year term. If none of the candidates obtains 50% plus one vote, a second round will take place. The main candidates are Danilo Medina (Dominican Liberation Party) and Hipólito Mejía (Dominican Revolutionary Party), who was president of the Dominican Republic from 2000 to 2004.
In February 2011, Congress passed a law to expand the electorate by allowing citizens living abroad to vote in the presidential elections.
The 2012 NATO Summit will be held in Chicago on 20-21 May and will be hosted by President Barack Obama. It is the first NATO Summit to be held in an American city other than Washington, D.C. Leaders from NATO members and partner nations will discuss the next phase of transition in Afghanistan and the necessary steps to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Other issues include ways to broaden the relationship with non-NATO partners.
Large protests are expected in Chicago during the summit.
The 38th G8 Summit will take place in Camp David, Maryland. It was originally planned to be held in Chicago, together with the NATO Summit. G8 leaders, heads of state from non-members and leaders of major international organisations will meet to discuss matters such as the Deauville Partnership, non-proliferation and food security.
The second round of Mali’s presidential elections is currently scheduled to be held only two weeks after the first round. Elections may be postponed due to the recent military coup and the Tuareg rebellion in the north that has displaced thousands of people.
The National People’s Assembly of Algeria (Al-Majlis Ech-Chaabi Al-Watani) has 389 seats and the Council of Nations 144 seats. The members of the Assembly are elected through a party-list proportional representation system for 5 year terms. In the Council of Nations, 96 members are elected by indirect vote and the other 48 are appointed by the president for 6 year terms.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Algeria’s independence from France and also the continuous rule of the National Liberation Front (FLN). Three officially sanctioned Islamist parties have created an alliance to challenge the FLN in the upcoming elections.
Armenia has a unicameral National Assemby (Azgayin Zhoghov) with 131 members. Ninety are elected through a party-list proportional representation system and 41 are elected through a plurality vote in single-member constituencies. All members serve 5 year terms.
President Serzh Sargsyan has stated that Armenia is determined to conduct the elections in May in accordance with international standards after the presidential elections in 2008 were internationally condemned and instigated a series of mass protests.
A total of 225 members of the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majles-e-Shura-ye-Eslami) were elected in the first round of parliamentary elections in Iran, with loyalists of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gaining three-fourths of the seats in the Assembly. The remaining 65 members will be elected in the second round on 4 May.
World Press Freedom day is celebrated every year on 3 May, the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek. The Declaration characterises free press as essential to democracy and one of the fundamental human rights. This year’s theme is “New voices: Media Freedom Helping to Transform Societies”.
The first round of Mali’s presidential elections is scheduled for 29 April 2012. Through a two-round system, the president is elected by absolute majority to serve a 5-year term. The four main candidates are Dioncounda Traoré (Alliance for Democracy in Mali), Soumaila Cissé (Union for the Republic and Democracy), Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (Rally for Mali) and Modibo Sidibé (Independent).
The recent military coup is a heavy blow for Mali, previously considered one of the few established democracies of West Africa. If the military allows the elections to happen as planned, Mali will be choosing its third democratically-elected leader over the course of two decades.
The first round of France’s presidential elections will take place 22 on April 2012. The President is elected for a 5-year term by an absolute majority vote in a two-round system.
The main candidates are the incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy (Union for a Popular Movement), François Hollande (French Socialist Party), Marine Le Pen (National Front), François Bayrou (Democratic Movement), Jean Luc Melenchon (Left Party), Eva Joly (Europe Écologie) and Dominique de Villepin (République Solidaire).
Candidates must obtain a number of votes equal to at least 12.5% of the total amount of registered voters to be eligible for the second round.
Amongst other meetings, the IMF International Monetary and Financial Committee and the joint World Bank-IMF Development Committee meet to discuss the work and the progress of the IMF and the World Bank. The Spring Meeting features seminars, press conferences and regional briefings centered on the global economy, international development and the world’s financial markets.
The Organisation of the American States (OAS) will hold the 6th Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia. This year’s theme is “Connecting the Americas: Partners for Prosperity”. The 34 Heads of State and Government of the Americas will meet to discuss regional cooperation to reach greater levels of development and to overcome poverty and natural disasters, and to improve citizen security and access to technology.
South Korea will elect the members of its unicameral 299-seat National Assembly (Kukhoe). Through a plurality vote in single member constituencies, 245 members are elected to serve 4-year terms, while 54 members are elected through a closed-list proportional representation system for the same period.
Currently South Korea’s main left wing opposition party leads the polls. Their victory could usher in new policies, including the pursuit of closer ties with North Korea.
World Health Day is celebrated on 7 April to mark the anniversary of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) founding in 1948. This year’s topic is “Aging and Health”, emphasising the fact that good health throughout life can help older citizens to lead full lives and be productive members of their communities.
The Governing Council of the European Central Bank will meet to discuss monetary policy decisions for the euro area.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will hold their 20th summit in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. The heads of government of the ten member states will meet to discuss resolutions for regional issues. There will also be a meeting with non-members to promote external relations.
Myanmar will hold parliamentary elections for its bicameral People’s Assembly. It will elect 168 members for the House of Nationalities (Amyotha Hluttaw) and 330 members for the House of Representatives (Pyithu Hluttaw) to serve 4-year terms. The military reserves 56 members in the House of Nationalities and 110 members in the House of Representatives.
Fair and transparent polls in the upcoming elections could strengthen Myanmar’s case for lifting some EU sanctions.
Mauritania will hold parliamentary elections on 31 March 2012. It was originally set for 1 October 2011, then delayed to 16 October 2011, then indefinitely delayed per the opposition's demands to join reconciliation talks.
In the Senate (Majlis al-Chouyoukh), 53 members are elected by indirect vote for 6-year terms and 3 members are selected for the same period. At the National Assembly (Majlis al-Watani), 81 members are elected in single- and multi-member constituencies for 5-year terms and 14 members are elected through a closed-list proportional representation system for the same period.
Gambia will hold legislative elections to elect 48 members to the National Assembly by plurality vote in single-member constituencies for 5-year terms. Five members are appointed by the president for the same period.
Incumbent president Yahya Jammeh (APRC) has been in power for 17 years since 22 July 1994; he seized power in 1994 in a military coup, was elected in 1996, and re-elected in 2001, 2006, and 2011 in disputed elections.
Guinea Bissau will hold an early presidential election on 18 March 2012 following the death of president Malam Bacai Sanhá on 9 January 2012.
Prime minister Carlos Gomes Júnior resigned on 10 February 2012 to become a presidential candidate.
The president is elected by absolute majority vote through a two-round system for a 5-year period. The president designs the prime minister.
The 2nd round of Senegal's presidential elections will be held on 18 March 2012 to elect a president for a 7-year period.
The runoff will be held between Abdoulaye Wade, of the Senegalese Democratic Party, and Macky Sall, of the Alliance for the Republic.
The first round took place on 26 February 2012, amidst controversy over the constitutional validity of a third term for incumbent president Abdoulaye Wade.
The president is elected by absolute majority through a two-round system for a 5-year term. He is also in charge of assigning the prime minister.
UN representatives welcome these elections and assure they will be transparent and fair.
Incumbent president Jose Ramos-Horta, who is eligible for a second and final term, has announced that he will seek nomination to be the candidate. He had initially been reluctant to run for reelection, but a draft movement collected over 120,000 signatures in favour of his candidacy, prompting him to run.
El Salvador will hold elections to choose 84 members of its Legislative Assembly. The country has a unicameral system and members are elected through an open-list proportional representation system for 3-year terms.
The main parties competing in these elections are Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, the Nationalist Republican Alliance and the Grand Alliance for National Unity (GANA).
Parliamentary elections will be held in Slovakia to elect 150 members for the National Council of the Slovak Republic. Members are elected through a flexible-list proportional representation system for 4-year terms.
The main theme in this year’s International Women’s Day is “Empower rural women. End hunger and poverty”. Rural women play a decisive role in developed nations as well as in developing nations in matters such as agricultural production, food security and poverty reduction in their communities.
Russia’s presidential election will be held on 4 March 2012. The president is elected for a 6 year period and is responsible for appointing the prime minister.
The main candidates are Vladimir Putin (United Russia), Gennady Andreyevich Zyuganov (Communist Party), Sergey Mikhailovich Mironov (A Just Russia), Vladimir Volfovich Zhirinovsky (Liberal Democratic Party) and Mikhail Dmitrievitch Prokhorov (independent candidate).
Vladimir Putin served as the second president of the Russian Federation (1999-2008) and is the current prime minister of Russia (since 2008), as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus.
Iran will hold parliamentary elections to elect 290 members for the Consultative Assembly (Majles-e-Shura-ye-Eslami).
Iran has a unicameral Islamic Consultative Assembly and the members are elected by qualified plurality vote for 4-year terms. 5 seats are assigned to religious minorities.
EU leaders meet at the European Council to review the economic situation in Europe and to decide on the next steps for the following 6 months. Other issues to be discussed include the situation in Syria and the preparation for several international meetings, including the summits the G8 and the G20 (19-20 May and 18-19 June, respectively) and the Rio + 20.
Senegal's presidential election will be held on 26 February 2012 to elect a new president for a 7 year period by absolute majority in a runoff voting system.
The main candidates are Abdoulaye Wade, from the Senegalese Democratic Party, and Macky Sall, from the Alliance for the Republic.
Syria will hold a referendum to amend the constitution and define the term of office of the president.
A year after the beginning of popular protests, violence and repression mount in the country.
London will host the Conference on Somalia 2012. The meeting will gather representatives of over 40 governments, multilateral organisations, the World Bank, the Intergovernmental Authority for Development, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and the League of Arab States.
The main issues to be discussed are piracy and terrorism.
The Winter Meeting is the primary forum for Assembly Members and three General Committees to receive high-level briefings from OSCE officials and discuss draft reports for the upcoming Annual Session.
All sessions will be open to the media.
The prospects for democratic transition in the country depend heavily on this presidential election. The President is elected by absolute majority in a two round voting system for a 7-year period.
Latvia will hold a referendum to approve amending articles 4, 18, 21, 101 and 104 of the Latvian Constitution, which plans to attribute Russian the status of second national language.
During the summit to be held on 14 February in Beijing, the EU and China will discuss a broad range of issues, including their strategic partnership, the economic situation, trade and cooperation agreements, the G20, climate change, the peace process in the Middle East and strengthened cooperation on energy.
Egypt will hold the second phase of its parliamentary elections to choose 176 members to its Advisory Council. 88 members are elected by absolute majority for a 6 year period and 88 are appointed by the president for the same time period.
The President is elected by absolute majority through a two round system for a 5 year period. The main candidates are Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov, Rejep Bazarov, Myratgeldi Jumageldiyev and Rozygeldi Rozgulyev, all from the Democratic Party of Turkmenistan.
The EU and India will celebrate their summit in New Delhi on 10 February. It will be attended by Herman Van Rompuy on behalf of the EU and by Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Parliament. The agenda includes bilateral, regional and global issues. The leaders will discuss the strategic partnership, with special attention to strengthening cooperation on security, energy, research and innovation.
The presidential election in Finland is by absolute majority through a two round system, for a 6 year period. The second round will be a contest between Sauli Niinistö, from the National Coalition, and Pekka Haavisto, from the Green Party.
Parliamentary elections will be held in Kuwait to elect 50 members for the National Assembly (Majlis al-Umma). Members are elected by plurality vote in multi-member constituencies to serve 4-year terms and 15 members are designated ex officio.
The members of the European Council will meet to analyse key steps needed to overcome the financial and debt crisis. European countries are looking to reach a definitive agreement on further integration and fiscal union. The summit should also examine how to promote economic growth and create jobs.
On 29 January, Egypt will hold legislative elections to choose 176 seats in the Advisory Council (Majilis Al-Shura). The office of president has been vacant since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in February 2011. Muhammad Hussein Tantawi, head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, is acting head of state.
On 22 January, Crocia will hold a referendum to decide on the country’s entry into the European Union, as well as the requirements to hold new referendums.
In Finland, the president is elected by absolute majority vote through a two-round system to serve a 6-year term. If no candidate achieves the majority of votes, a second round will be held on 5 February. The tow most likely candidates to pass the first round are the conservative Sauli Niinistö and the green party candidate Pekka Haavisto.
The parliamentary system in Kazakhstan is composed by two Cameras. In the Senate, 7 members are appointed by the president and 32 members are indirectly elected by regional legislatures to serve 6-year terms. In the House of Representatives, 98 members are elected through a closed-list proportional representation system to serve 5-year terms.
Taiwan celebrates its presidential and legislative elections on 14 January 2012. The President is elected by popular vote to serve a 4-year term. The Premier is appointed by the President. In the Legislative Yuan, 73 members are elected by plurality vote in single-member constituencies to serve 4-year terms and 34 members are elected through a closed-list proportional representation system to serve 4-year terms.
Presidential elections in Kiribati will take place on 13 January 2012. The incumbent, Anote Tong, in power since 2003, is running for a third term. The president will be elected to serve a 4-year term.
On 3 January 2012, Egypt will hold the last stage of its parliamentary elections after the fall of the Mubarak regime. More than 40 million Egyptians from nine different regions are called to the polls to elect 150 seats in the People's Assembly (Majlis Al-Sha'b).
Every six months a different member state of the European Union holds the Presidency presiding over the work of the Council of the European Union. At the same time the state holding the Presidency becomes the host of most of the Union's events and plays a key role in all the fields of activity of the European Union. It is responsible for the organization of EU meetings, sets the Union's political direction and ensures its development, integration and security.