Israel on the way to downgrade Arabic status / Basque sovereignty unofficial votes / Kosovo election

4 to 11 May

People voting in Gure Esku Dago's unofficial referendums.
People voting in Gure Esku Dago's unofficial referendums. Author: Gure Esku Dago
WEEKLY ROUNDUP. The controversial Nation-state bill is making its way in Israel. As it is written now, the bill will mean that Arabic will no longer be considered an official language. This is one of the highlights in a week with electoral flavour, either because Kosovo is heading for a snap election after its government has fallen, or because votes for the assemblies of Schleswig-Holstein and Cornwall have been held. Basques have also gone to the polls, in their case in unofficial referendums on Basque sovereignty organized by civil society group Gure Esku Dago.


Bill to downgrade Arabic language status in Israel. Arabic will have a "special status," but no longer be regarded one of the countries' two official languages, if the Nation-state bill is finally passed under the same wording as the Ministerial Legislation Committee has proposed. The bill, which will be added to the limited list of Israeli Basic Laws —the closest to a  Constitution the country has— specifies that "Israel is the national home of the Jewish people." "The right to realize self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people," the bill states. Arab-majority United List party alliance says the norm cements "the tyranny of the majority over the minority." Haaretz newspaper writes that the law could become "a cornerstone of apartheid." The bill is currently being debated in the Israeli Parliament.


More than 63,000 vote in fourth wave of sovereignty unofficial votes in Basque Country. The referendums, organized by Basque civil society organization Gure Esku Dago, have been held in 52 municipalities. 96.2% of voters have backed Basque sovereignty. This is the largest wave of votes since the first wave of unofficial referendums was launched in 2016. This time, turnout exceeded 25% of more than 245,000 people who were called to cast their votes.

Kosovo heading for snap election. The Kosovar government has lost a confidence vote in Parliament. The two parties in government (PDK and LDK) diverged on several issues; however, the confidence vote was triggered by the opposition after the government was seeking to sign a border demarcation agreement with Montenegro. Opposition parties argued the deal would have deprived Kosovo of some territory. The same parties were also against a government plan —which had been agreed with Serbia— to establish an Assembly of Serbian Municipalities. Kosovo president Hashim Thaçi has called the election for 11 June.

Syrian Kurdish militias to receive more US weapons. The Pentagon has announced the US government will be delivering arms to "Kurdish elements" of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). US official sources have explained that small arms and armoured vehicles will be sent, among other materials. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the decision is a "mistake" and has called on US president Donald Trump to reverse it.

Mebyon Kernow keep all 4 seats in Cornwall Council. The Cornish pro-autonomy party will hold the same seats it already had during the 2013-2017 term. The Conservative Party has won the election, with 46 seats out of a total of 123. Mebyon Kernow has decided not to field candidates to the 8 June UK legislative election.

Frisian-Danish party manages to retain 3 seats in Schleswig-Holstein Parliament. The SSW —the party seeking to represent those two national groups in the German Land— kept the same number of seats it already had. Conservative CDU has emerged as the largest party in the Schleswig-Holstein election. The current governing coalition —made up of the Social Democrats, the Greens and the SSW— has lost the majority it had in Parliament.