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 1–5: UN Commission on Population and Development, New York

The 52nd session of the United Nations Commission on Population and Development opened today in New York. It will continue until April 5. The commission is responsible for reviewing progress made since the 1994 adoption of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), which established the importance of sexual and reproductive health and rights to the well-being of people, communities, and nations. 

APRIL 9: Legislative Elections, Israel

Israel is holding elections to elect the members of its legislative body, the Knesset, on April 9. The leader of the political party or coalition of parties that holds the most seats in the Knesset will be the country’s next prime minister. The campaigning has been highly contentious to date and could see the end of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ten year tenure as head of state. Netanyahu is battling charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust, and has come under fire for forging an election alliance with the far-right party of the late anti-Arab rabbi, Meir Kahane. Some polls show the former Israeli army chief Benny Gantz with a slight lead over Netanyahu, while a reported 22 percent of Palestinians think he has a chance of winning.

APRIL 10: European Council Meeting on Brexit, Brussels

Last week, following the third failure of United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, European Union leaders announced they will meet on April 10 to discuss the UK’s departure from the EU. The meeting will be two days before the new deadline of April 12 that Prime Minister May secured in March.

April 11–May 19: Parliamentary Elections, India

Starting on April 11, India will hold elections for parliament that will span 39 days. Over 900 million people will be eligible to vote during this time period. Last time these elections were held in 2014, the results gave a clear majority for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This time, Modi faces a greater challenge as his tenure as prime minister has not been the success he and his party had hoped for. Modi has claimed that the BJP will increase its seats in parliament, despite experts saying a lack of jobs and lower incomes could bring mean the party loses its majority. The results of the election will be announced on May 23.

APRIL 11: Moon Jae-in to Visit United States

South Korean President Moon Jae-in will visit Washington on April 11 in a follow-up to last month’s failed summit between the US and North Korea in Hanoi, Vietnam. The White House announced that the two presidents will discuss “the latest developments regarding the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as well as bilateral matters.” Other reports predict that President Moon Jae-in will focus specifically on removing the nuclear threat to peace on the Korean peninsula.

April 12: Brexit Deadline

Following the EU’s agreement to extend the Brexit deadline until April 12, and the further extension to May 22 if the UK Parliament agreed to a deal, Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal was rejected for a third time by parliament last week. Barring another referendum or a new deal the UK will exit the EU without any agreed-upon terms. Parliament is expected to debate and vote on the extent of its takeover of the Brexit process and other options today, while Prime Minister May has offered to resign if her deal is passed.

UPDATE: Brexit: UK and EU agree delay to 31 October

APRIL 13: Houthi Militias to Hold Parliamentary Elections, Yemen

Houthi militias are planning to hold elections for parliament in the occupied capital of Sana’a on April 13. The Houthis are aiming to legitimize their control of Sana’a and have the support of the former chairman of Yemeni parliament, along with many other ministers of parliament. In an effort to preempt these elections, the parliament that Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi ordered be moved to Aden is pushing to meet before they take place. If held, it will be the first session of parliament under the internationally-recognized government of President Hadi since the conflict broke out in 2014.

APRIL 14–16: Conference on Libya Conflict, Ghadames

The UN will hold a conference to discuss solutions to the conflict in Libya in the town of Ghadames, from April 14 to 16. Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) commander, announced that by the end of April a deal will be reached to end the political crisis and establish a government. As part of this deal, the Libyan government will have one cabinet. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has affirmed that Haftar, the UN-backed prime minister Fayez al-Sarraj, and other groups are moving closer to agreeing on a power-sharing agreement.

APRIL 17: Presidential and Legislative Elections, Indonesia

On April 17, Indonesia will hold an election for the presidency and legislature. A recent survey shows President Joko Widodo’s lead over his chief rival, former general Prabowo Subianto, is shrinking. The presidential election will be a rerun of the 2014 race, in which Widodo beat out Prabowo by almost six percentage points. Election campaigning has already noticeably boosted the country’s economy, with data suggesting a significant rise in government expenditures as candidates vie to win.

APRIL 18: Presidential Election, Algeria

Algeria will hold its election for president on April 18. Recent reports indicate that President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is preparing to announce his resignation, this after the army chief of staff, General Ahmed Gaid Salah, called for a declaration to deem Bouteflika unfit to rule, initiating a process that would bring an end to his twenty-year term as president. Millions of Algerians have been protesting over the last few months calling for end to Bouteflika’s rule. Bouteflika suffered a stroke in 2013 and is rarely seen in public.

UPDATE: Algeria’s President Bouteflika ‘resigns’

APRIL 21: Second Round of Presidential Election, Ukraine

After the first round of voting for president took place on March 31 in Ukraine, it is almost certain that the second round will need to be held on April 21. Results point to a runoff between comedian and political newcomer Volodymyr Zelenskyy and incumbent Petro Poroshenko. Zelenskyy is on track for a first place finish of just over 30 percent of the vote, according to the Central Election Commission. Poroshenko was far behind with just over 16 percent of the vote.

April 28: General Election, Spain

After facing political challenges, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez called for a snap election to be held on April 28. Recent polls show that the Socialist party is in the lead but do not yet have a majority. The Socialists would win just over 27 percent of the vote, or 122 seats in the 350-seat parliament. Together with far-left ally Podemos they would have 162 seats in parliament. A coalition of right-wing parties—the People’s Party (PP), Ciudadanos, and the far-right Vox—would have roughly the same number. In the lead up to the poll, Facebook announced that it would block unauthorized campaign advertisements and require that parties and candidates be verified before placing ads. The company had already instituted these requirements for the upcoming EU elections in May.

APRIL TBD: Possible China-US Trade Summit

Despite public claims that the United States and China had made progress in trade talks, the planned summit between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping did not go ahead in March. It is now likely to take place sometime in April, according to reports. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been negotiating the terms and wording of any agreement between the countries in the interim.