Key Global Events to Watch in April

 At the start of every month, the Global Observatory posts a list of key upcoming meetings and events that have implications for global affairs.

APRIL 1: Second Round Election in Costa Rica

In a runoff following February’s election, the former labor minister Carlos Alvarado Quesada won three-fifths of the vote to become the president of Costa Rica. His opponent, evangelical singer Fabricio Alvarado Muñoz, had built his campaign around opposition to same-sex marriage. Alvarado Muñoz, of the small, conservative National Restoration Party, got the most votes in the first round of balloting on February 4, winning nearly 25 percent. Quesada, of the governing Citizen Action Party, won nearly 22 percent.

APRIL 1: Presidential Election in Egypt

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi won the presidential election with 97 percent of votes, the same proportion he secured four years ago for his first term. Despite efforts to get as many citizens to vote as possible, however, the turnout was 41 percent. President al-Sisi had been virtually guaranteed a landslide win, as the election featured only one other candidate—himself an ardent supporter of the president—after all serious contenders halted their campaigns in January. The main challenger was arrested and his campaign manager beaten up, while other presidential hopefuls pulled out, citing intimidation.

APRIL 4: Meeting on Syria, Ankara

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet on April 4 in Ankara in a summit of the three countries sponsoring a series of Syrian peace talks. A day ahead of the summit, Putin and Erdogan are scheduled to meet in bilateral talks in the Turkish capital as part of the Turkish-Russian High-Level Cooperation Council.

APRIL 8: Hungarian National Elections

Hungary will hold a general election on April 8, which is widely viewed as a test of whether immigration is losing its political force in a country that has been at the forefront of a reawakening of nationalist movements in Europe. Prime Minister Viktor Orban has, for the past eight years, waged a campaign to rewrite the Constitution, reshape the judiciary, and tweak the electoral system in favor of his Fidesz political party. Though Orban appears headed towards winning a fourth term, he will likely fall short of the commanding two-thirds majority he has held for four of the past eight years.

APRIL 9-13: Commission on Population and Development, New York

The 51st session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD51) will be held in New York from April 9 to 13. The theme of this year’s commission is sustainable cities, human mobility, and international migration. The commission was established to support and advise the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on the implementation of international frameworks on population and development and provides recommendations based on reports and analysis, including those of the secretary-general.

APRIL 11: Snap Election in Azerbaijan

In February, Azeri President Ilham Aliyev called a snap presidential election for April 11, six months ahead of schedule. The vote will be the first since a September 2016 referendum called by Aliyev where the powers of the president were expanded and the term extended from five to seven years. Critics claim that the rescheduling is designed to catch the opposition by surprise and impede their ability to rally support for free and fair elections. The government says it is to avoid clashes with important domestic and international events later in the year.

APRIL 13-14: Summit of the Americas, Lima

The Summit of the Americas, held every three years, will take place in Lima, Peru on April 13 and 14. The agenda will focus on “democratic governance against corruption,” and will convene heads of state from across Latin America, as well as Canada and the US. A primary issue in the lead up to the meeting is the attendance of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The former president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who recently resigned due to corruption allegations, banned Maduro from attending, calling him a “dictator.” Martin Vizcarra, sworn in as president last week, has not reaffirmed the ban, and rather deferred to his foreign ministry. A spokesperson for the ministry said its position regarding Maduro was unchanged.

APRIL 15: Arab League Summit, Riyadh

The Arab League will hold its first summit since 2017 in Saudi Arabia on April 15, after an earlier postponement from March due to Egypt’s presidential election. The meeting comes amid heightened regional tensions, most notably between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and security concerns necessitating a change in location from Riyadh to Dhahran. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the situation in Jerusalem, the crises in Syria, Yemen, and Libya, counter-terrorism, regional meddling, and the dispute with Qatar will form the majority of the agenda.

APRIL 15: Election in Montenegro

Montenegro will hold an election for president on April 15. Arguably the most powerful politician in the country’s history, Milo Djukanovic, is the ruling party’s candidate. Outside of a few years, Djukanovic has been either prime minister or president since 1991. He stepped aside as prime minister in 2016 after his government accused Russia of staging a failed coup and assassination attempt against him on the night of parliamentary elections that his party narrowly won. A former politician, Mladen Bojanic, is running as an independent candidate with the support of almost all opposition parties in parliament.

APRIL 22: Presidential Election in Paraguay

Voters in Paraguay will elect a new president on April 22. A central issue in the election is the economy, in particular the agriculture sector. The ruling-party candidate Mario Abdo Benitez, has said he would not raise taxes on the sector despite opposition calls for a levy on soybean exports. There is no independent polling of the race, but Abdo claims that opinion polls show him 30 points ahead. Other polls place center-left candidate Efrain Alegre ahead by two points. Current President Horacio Cartes is constitutionally barred from seeking re-election.

APRIL 17-20: Japanese President to Visit the US

In the lead up to anticipated talks between the United States and North Korea at the end of May, Japanese President Shinzo Abe will meet with US President Donald Trump between April 17 and 20. Abe told senior government officials that the talks will be on “matters of mutual interest, including the issue of North Korea.” He also mentioned that he will formally request that President Trump raise the issue of the abduction of Japanese nationals by North Korea during the summit in May.

APRIL 24-25: High-level Event on Sustaining Peace, New York

In accordance with resolutions on the review of the UN’s peacebuilding architecture, the President of the General Assembly Miroslav Lajčák, will be convening a high-level meeting on peacebuilding and sustaining peace on April 24 and 25 in New York. The meeting will focus on strengthening and assessing efforts to improve the UN’s work in these areas. Present at the meeting will be representatives from UN member states and civil society. The event comes on the heels of reports on sustaining peace and other issues in peacekeeping by the secretary-general and others.

APRIL 27: First Summit of North and South Korea in Years

North and South Korea will hold their first summit in more than a decade on April 27, after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un pledged his commitment to denuclearization. Indeed, the agenda of the meeting will largely focus on the denuclearization issue. There will be a working-level meeting on April 4 to discuss details of the summit, such as staffing support, security and news releases. The two Koreas will hold the summit at the border truce village of Panmunjom, where the armistice that ended the Korean War almost exactly 65 years ago was signed.