This week’s Monday Briefing turns the spotlight on the outcome of Finland’s general elections. In other news, a WSJ journalist has been arrested in Russia, a grand jury voted to indict Donald Trump, Spain’s PM urged Beijing to discuss peace plan with Zelenskiy, and much, much more. Also, check out our new Monday Briefing’s Cartoon of the Week!
Spotlight: Sanna Marin concedes defeat in Finland’s general elections
On Sunday, Finland’s prime minister, Sanna Marin, conceded defeat after her party, the Social Democratic party (SDP), narrowly came third in the county’s parliamentary elections. The close-fought elections saw the centre-right National Coalition party (NCP) win the highest percentage of seats, closely followed by the right-wing Finns party. Both the Greens and the Left Alliance, two of Marin’s coalition partners, suffered heavy losses, while Marin’s party still managed to gain three more seats than in the previous election. In her concession, Marin announced: “democracy has spoken, and we have reason to be happy about this result.”
Marin’s four-year term has come to a close and, on Monday, the leader of the party with the most seats, Petteri Orpo of the NCP, will begin negotiations to form a new majority coalition. A task that is set to be further complicated by the decision of the SDP, the Greens, and the Left Alliance to rule out any alliance with the Finns due to what Marin has called the party’s “openly racist” nationalist rhetoric. If the Finns party is included in the new coalition, the party leader, Riikka Purra, has stated that they would prioritize their goal of cutting non-EU immigration flows.
In the run-up to the elections, the opposition leaders Orpo and Purra gathered major public support by proposing deep welfare cuts in a cost-of-living crisis, while fears grew that Marin’s government had been excessively borrowing and failing to rein in public spending. Regardless, Marin has remained more popular personally than her political rivals. An opinion poll conducted by the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper found 64% of respondents believed she had done a “very” or “fairly” good job as prime minister. Marin became the world’s youngest prime minister by assuming leadership of the SDP in 2019. She successfully steered Finland through the Covid-19 pandemic and promoted the biggest foreign policy change in decades with Finland now set to join NATO.
Around the World
Russia detains Wall Street Journal reporter on espionage charges. Earlier this week, Evan Gershkovich was accused by the Russian domestic security agency of having followed instructions from the Americans to collect classified information on Russian enterprises. He was then sent to a prison in Yekaterinburg, about 1670 km east of Moscow. This marks the first time an American reporter has been arrested on spying accusations since the end of the Cold War.
Grand jury votes to indict Donald Trump. The indictment comes from the former President’s alleged role in a hush payment scheme and cover up related to adult film star Stormy Daniels. He is expected to be arraigned in a Manhattan Criminal Court next Tuesday, though exact timing is still unclear. Regardless, Trump’s attorneys claim they will “vigorously fight this political prosecution in Court”. This is the first time in American history that a former President faces criminal charges.
Migrant crackdown in Tunisia is reportedly prompting more to attempt sea crossings. Tunisia faces a wave of racist violence after a speech by the President Saiedwho claimed that irregular migration to Tunisia from other parts of Africa was part of an international conspiracy to change the country’s demographic character. The crackdown on migrants has reportedly increased the number of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean to arrive in Europe. According to UN data, at least 12,000 migrants who reached Italy this year set sail from Tunisia, compared with 1,300 in the same period of 2022.
China renews threats as Taiwan president greeted by crowds in New York. Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, is set to stop twice in the US during her 10-day visit to Taiwan’s diplomatic allies Guatemala and Belize. On her arrival to New York, on Friday, Chinese officials warned that there would be “serious” consequences if she met with the US House speaker. It is expected that Tsai will meet the Hose speaker next week in Los Angeles on her return journey.
Russia set to head UN security council in April. From the 1st of April, more than a year after the Kremlin decided to launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russia will hold the monthly presidency of the UN Security Council. Ukrainian officials were quick to react against the news, urging other member states to block the move. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba even called the news “the worst joke ever for April Fool’s Day”. However, despite Ukraine’s wishes, the US claimed it had its hands tied and could not act towards the removal of a permanent member from the Council.
Spain’s PM urges Beijing to discuss peace plan with Zelenskiy. On Friday, Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, visited China in an attempt to boost relations between the two countries. This was the first meeting between Xi Jinping and a Western leader since the invasion of Ukraine. Reporters explained how Sanchez had asked the Chinese President to begin talks with Zelenskyy in order to discuss a peace plan. In February, Beijing presented a 12-point plan for peace in Ukraine and casted itself as a mediator capable of creating the conditions for a negotiations to begin between the parts.
Belarus, echoing Russia, raises the prospect of nuclear conflict. Less than a week from Putin’s announcement that he would be placing nuclear weapons in neighboring Belarus, the Belarusian president has joined his close ally in promoting the fear of nuclear conflict. In what appears to be part of a campaign to pressure western military powers against supporting Ukraine, President Lukashenko of Belarus claimed that “a third world war loomed in the horizon with nuclear fires.” In his annual address to legislators and members of the elite, he presented a very similar rhetoric to Putin’s, and claimed that Poland was planning to attack Belarus. Belarus is almost entirely dependent on Russia economically, politically and for its security.
Russian pro-war military blogger killed in blast at St Petersburg cafe. Vladlen Tatarsky, an influential Russian pro-war blogger with 560,000 followers on Telegram, was killed in an explosion in a cafe in central St Petersburg. Tatarsky had been present at the ceremony in September where Putin declared Russia’s annexation of four occupied regions in Ukraine. The blogger often travelled to the Russian frontlines, however in recent times he had been critical of Russia’s defense ministry for the slow military gains in Ukraine. On Monday, the police arrested a woman suspected of having carried the bomb into the cafe.
Heavily Armed Assailant Kills 6 at Christian School in Nashville, Tennessee. A twenty-eight-year-old from Nashville, Tennessee shot and killed three children and three adults in what has become the 130th mass shooting in the United States of the year. The assailant broke in and began firing shots at 10am, carrying with him detailed maps of the school’s layout and information on its security protocols. He targeted The Covenant School, a small catholic private elementary school in an affluent neighborhood of Nashville. While there is still no apparent motive for the attack, shootings such as this one have rarely targeted either private or elementary schools, raising the worrying notion that the scales of these attacks has become ever increasing.
Israeli crisis continues as ‘fired’ minister apparently refuses to quit. It’s the 12th week of protests in Israel. On Monday, Netanyahu announced, in a televised address, a delay of his controversial legislative proposals and, on Tuesday, the aides to the fired defense minister announced that, since he had never been formally notified of the lay-off, he would remain in his post. Netanyahu’s speech comes after the explicit disappointment of Washington towards the bill and the rise of international concerns.
Sbarco autonomo di migranti a Roccella Ionica, arrivati in 650. Sono arrivati in 650, nella notte, all’interno del porto di Roccella Ionica a bordo di un peschereccio di 30 metri partito dalla Libia sfuggendo ad ogni controllo. I migranti sono tutti maschi e provengono da Siria, Pakistan, Egitto e Bangladesh e hanno viaggiato per circa 5 giorni prima di entrare in porto e andare a sbattere contro un’altra imbarcazione utilizzata in un precedente arrivo.
Aeronautica militare compie 100 anni, gli auguri di Mattarella e Meloni. L’Aeronautica compie 100 anni e festeggia alla presenza delle più alte cariche dello Stato. La cerimonia è iniziata con gli onori militari al presidente della Repubblica, Sergio Mattarella. Presenti anche la Meloni e La Russa. Sottolinea il Presidente della Repubblica che in questi cento anni l’Areonautica ha scritto “tutte pagine di storia di assoluto valore”.
Papa Francesco in ospedale per “bronchite su base infettiva”. “Papa Francesco ha trascorso il pomeriggio al Gemelli dedicandosi al riposo, alla preghiera e ad alcune incombenze di lavoro”, ha comunicato nel pomeriggio il direttore della Sala stampa vaticana, Matteo Bruni. Al Pontefice, hanno reso noto i medici, è stata diagnostica una “bronchite su base infettiva” che ha richiesto la somministrazione di una terapia antibiotica su base infusionale.
L’Anac stronca il nuovo Codice degli appalti varato dal governo: “Ora sotto i 150mila euro lavori anche al cugino e a chi mi ha votato”. “Semplificazione e rapidità sono valori importanti, ma non possono andare a discapito di principi altrettanto importanti come trasparenza, controllabilità e libera concorrenza.” Il Codice degli Appalti varato dal nuovo Governo viene stroncato dall’Autorità nazionale anticorruzione (Anac). “Sotto i 150.000 euro va benissimo il cugino o anche chi mi ha votato e questo è un problema, soprattutto nei piccoli centri,” ha ribadito mercoledì mattina il presidente Giuseppe Busia, mettendo nel mirino gli affidamenti senza gara che, allargati a dismisura durante la pandemia, ora diventano strutturali. Insieme alla possibilità per le stazioni appaltanti di ricorrere alla procedura negoziata senza bando previa consultazione di almeno dieci operatori economici per lavori fino a 5,3 milioni di euro. Con il risultato di sottrarre alla concorrenza il 98% dei lavori. Sostanzialmente “si dà mano libera, si dice non consultate il mercato, scegliete l’impresa che volete”, sottolinea Busia. Il risvolto pratico, insomma, è che “si prenderà l’impresa più vicina, quella che conosco, non quella che si comporta meglio”, ha spiegato a Zapping su Radio Uno.
The end of exam session means that many of us now have once again the time to get involved within our associations and other extracurricular activities. As such, next week the Bocconi campus will be packed with conferences, panels, and other events, most organized by hard-working students. Some of them include a talk on Macro Hedge Funds organized by the Bocconi Students Investment Club, or a conference on the historical roots of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, made possible by the Bocconi Historical Society. For the full list of events, make sure to check your Outlook email.
And, since our students are not only interested in finance, economics, and history, but they also enjoy art, music, and culture, BLPSA (the Bocconi Live Performance Association) released this week some news many of us will find exciting. Following last year’s successful interpretation of “Grease”, the association is back! This time they have organized the performance of “Gimme Gimme- Another ABBA story”. The event will take place on the 27th of April, at 20:30, in Aula Roentgen. Tickets are already on sale here.
Cartoon of the Week: ChatGPT needs a bit of support
In case you missed it
Tommaso Leone delves into the reasons that led Israelis to take to the streets against Netanyahu’s government.
Lorenzo Garbarino takes us on a trip to the Botanical Gardens of Brera.
Fernanda Panzar, con l’associazione studentesca Keiron, ha trattato dell’evoluzione giuridica del reato di violenza sessuale.
Gonçalo Almeida assesses the financial situation in Asia in the weekly finance column Week at Close.
Chiara Banti, con l’associazione studentesca Bocconi Students Against Organized Crime, colloca la strage di Via dei Georgofili nel quadro degli attentati del ‘92- ’93.