December 2011 Current Events: World News
Here are the key events in world news for the month of December 2011.
Parliamentary Elections Spark Massive Protests in Russia (Dec. 4): Parliamentary elections spark protests, mainly from middle-class Russians. International and local monitors condemn the election as fraudulent. United Russia, the party led by Vladimir Putin, comes out on top in the elections, receiving nearly 50 percent of the vote, but they lost 77 seats. Monitors say that United Russia would have lost more seats were it not for ballot-box stuffing and voting irregularities. For example, videos, some taken with cellphones, surfaced on the internet showing local authorities threatening subordinates at polling stations. (Dec. 10): Over 40,000 Russians rally near the Kremlin. It is the largest anti-Kremlin protest since the early 1990s and is approved by city authorities, although riot police are on hand. The activists call for Putin's resignation and denounce the election results. Putin accuses the United States, singling out Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, for instigating the demonstrations when she criticized conduct during the parliamentary elections. (Dec. 12): Billionaire industrialist Mikhail D. Porkhorov announces that he plans to run for president against Putin in 2012. Porkhorov owns many businesses in Russia as well as the New Jersey Nets, the NBA franchise, in the United States. In his announcement, Porkhorov says, "I made a decision, probably the most serious decision in my life: I am going to the presidential election." Many observers question if Porkhorov is truly challenging Putin or if he has Putin's approval to run to create an air of legitimacy to the race.
European Leaders Call for Changes to Treaty (Dec. 5): Together German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France make a joint call for Europe's governing treaties to be amended in order to provide better governance on the economic policies of the 17 countries within the euro zone. The proposed amendments include monthly meetings of all European leaders, automatic penalties for nations that exceed deficit limits, and a creation of a European monetary fund.