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Movements for change around the world

WHEN the people of Great Britain voted in a referendum in June, 2016, to leave the European Union (EU), it was a decision that surprised the country’s officials led by Prime Minister David Cameron. He had confidently scheduled the referendum, expecting a big vote for staying with the EU. But the referendum resulted in a 52 percent vote for “Brexit” – a British exit from EU. It was a close vote but a decisive one.

Since that unexpected decision of British voters to leave the European Union, for a change in the established order and established way of doing things, similar movements for change have taken place in other parts of the world.

In the United States, Hillary Clinton was ahead in nearly all poll surveys. But when the votes in the Electoral College system of the US presidential elections were tallied, the winner and new president was Donald Trump, who had never had any government service or experience of any kind. He simply rode on a wave of change that swept the US and its politics.

In Europe, there are fears that after Britain, five other countries could leave the European Union – France, the Netherlands, Austria, Finland, and Hungary. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said there are also demands for referendums in Denmark, Italy, and Sweden.

Last Friday, one of the more colorful leaders of France, Marine Le Pen of the far right, said that if elected president of France this April, she will campaign for France to leave EU. She called for discussions on France’s call for restoration of intra-European borders and on its ability to adopt protectionist policies, after which, she said, she would organize a “Frexit.”

We in the Philippines have had our own movement for change in the election of President Duterte. We are now seeing the effects of that change in government goals and style. We are truly one with the rest of the world in sensing the need to move on and try new ways to solve old problems and bring about a better life for our people and for all our fellow inhabitants of this planet Earth.