News Timeline: September 2021

September 5 – Africa: Guinea

Coup d’état

Guinea’s President Alpha Condé, who is the country’s fourth president but the first freely elected in 2010, is detained by the military in a coup d’état after earlier gunfire in the capital, Conakry.  The coup leader, Lt. Col. Mamady Doumbouya, says he led the coup to end the corruption and announces the dissolution of the constitution and government.  The international community condemns the coup while many people in Guinea celebrate the removal of Condé from power.[1]

More on the coup in Guinea (video: 05:45 min)

September 7 – World

Global Health: Coronavirus pandemic, or Covid-19

More than 70 percent of the European Union’s adult population has been fully vaccinated, one of the highest vaccinations rates in the world.  However, it is uneven across the Union.   Some countries, such as Belgium, Denmark and Portugal have 80 percent of their population fully vaccinated.  Spain is aiming to inoculate 90 percent of its total population soon.   Eastern European countries, however, are trailing with Bulgaria and Romania among those with the lowest vaccination rates at 20 and 32 percent respectively.  Those countries, along with the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland, also have some of the highest mortality rates across the EU during the pandemic.  One reason for this discrepancy is vaccine misinformation, but also deep mistrust of the governments in Eastern and Central Europe.[2]

(Sep 22): After one Covid-19 positive case, Harbin, the city of 10 million people in China’s far north, orders a lockdown in compliance with the Chinese government’s “zero tolerance” Covid policy.   The policy seeks to extinguish even small outbreaks of infections with sweeping measures.[3]

(Sep 22): Each day in the United States, more than 90,000 people infected with Covid-19, mostly with the Delta variant, get admitted to the hospitals, forcing the health institutions to postpone treatments and surgeries for people with other serious conditions.  Some patients have died while awaiting a spot in an acute or I.C.U. ward.[4]

September 8 – Africa: Morocco

Parliamentary elections

Moroccan voters elect 395 members of the House of Representatives.  The largest party in the parliament so far, the Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD), which won 125 deputies in the 2016 elections, loses 90 percent of its seats, falling to the eighth place with only 13 seats.  The PJD has been in power since the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011.  The winner of the election is pro-business and liberal National Rally of Independents (RNI) party, which now has the most seats, 102, a gain of 65 seats.  It is led by billionaire businessman Aziz Akhannouch who will be the country’s next prime minister.  Two other parties, the progressive and pro-monarchy Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM) and the conservative and also pro-monarchy Istiqlal Party, take second and third places with 86 and 81 seats respectively.  The voter turnout was just above 50 percent.[5]  Morocco is a semi-constitutional monarchy; King Mohammed VI approves a prime minister and a cabinet, as well as the government’s policies.  Criticism of the monarchy is a criminal offense.[6]

More about the fate of Islamist parties after the 2011 Arab Spring

September 15: East Asia / Europe/ North America:

Australia / United Kingdom / United States

AUKUS: trilateral security pact

Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States sign a trilateral security pact, AUKUS that includes cooperation on naval technology, closer alignment of regional policies and actions, and greater integration of the militaries and the defense industries of the three allies.  The UK and the U.S. will also help Australia build its first nuclear-powered submarine fleet.  The goal is to counter China’s expansion in the South China Sea and its aggressive stance towards Taiwan and to match technologically Australia’s navy with that of China’s, the world largest.  Nuclear power submarines can remain at sea for up to five months and operate more quietly, evading enemy detection.  Australia will be only the seventh country in the world to have submarines propelled by nuclear reactors.[7]

September 15 – East Asia: North Korea / South Korea / Japan

Ballistic missiles

North Korea fires a short-range ballistic missile that lands in waters off the Korean Peninsula, just outside Japan’s territorial waters.  This is North Korea’s third such test this month.  North Korea is barred from testing ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons under the international law and was sanctioned for previous tests by the United Nations Security Council. 

Just hours later, South Korea successfully tests its first submarine-launched ballistic missile at an undisclosed location in the waters of South Korea.[8]

More on North Korea’s missile tests and South Korea’s new submarine

September 17-19 – Europe: Russia

Parliamentary elections

Pro-Putin United Russia party wins almost 50 percent of the vote in the Russian legislative election.  Although it is down form 54 percent in 2016, it still has over two-thirds of the seats, a constitutional majority, in the State Duma.   Voter turnout was about 40 percent.  The victory comes after the government’s unprecedented crackdown on opposition politicians who were either jailed, or banned from running, or forced to flee the country.  The opposition accuses the government of voter fraud.  There were thousands of electoral violations reported.  United Russia’s super majority allowed the Putin’s government to make constitutional changes, such as allowing Putin to run for two more terms as president after 2024, which would keep him in power until 2036.[9]

More on the 2021 Russian elections

September 20 – North America: Canada

Parliamentary Elections

After calling a snap election two years before schedule, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal party gains five additional seats in the parliament with a total of 160 seats.  However, it comes short of 170 seats required to have a parliamentary majority.  Canada’s second largest party, and a main rival of the Liberals, the Conservative Party, wins 119 seats, the same as in 2019 elections. Trudeau will remain prime minister, but once again as the head of a minority government.  To pass laws, he will have to continue negotiate with the opposition.[10] 

How Canada voted in graphics

September 26 – Europe: Germany

Federal elections

Germany holds federal parliamentary elections.  Chancellor Angela Merkel of the CDU/CSU coalition, who held this office since 2005, is not running.  The Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) records their best result since 2005; it beats the CDU/CSU, winning the most seats in the parliament.   The SPD wins 25.7 percent of the vote, followed by the CDU/CSU bloc with 24.1 percent, and the Green Party with 14.8 percent of votes.  The Free Democratic Party (FDP) makes small gains garnering 11.5 percent of the vote.  The Alternative for Germany (AfD) fell from third to fifth place with 10.3 percent.   The SPD will now start negotiations to form a coalition government that might take several weeks.[11]

How does the German election system work?

About outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel

[1] Chris Benderev. “Guinea’s Military Declared A Coup. What Happens Next Is Uncertain.” NPR. September 6, 2021. Accessed December 14, 2021 from

[2] Elian Peltier, Boryana Dzhambazova and Monika Pronczuk. “A Vaccine Success in Europe That Sinks in the East.” The New York Times. September 7, 2021. Updated November 8, 2021. Accessed December 16, 2021.

[3] Chris Buckley. “One Covid case prompts closures across a Chinese city of 10 million.” The New York Times. COVID Updates. September 22, 2021. Accessed January 24, 2022 from

[4] Reed Abelson. “‘I Just Cry All the Time’: Non-Covid Patients Despair Over Delayed Care.” The New York Times. September 22, 2021. Accessed January 24, 2022.

[5] “Final election results announced in Morocco confirming RNI victory.” MENA Affairs.

10 September 2021. Accessed January 27, 2022 from

[6] “Morocco: Moderate parties rout ruling Islamists in elections.” Deutsche

September 9, 2021. Accessed January 6, 22 from

[7] Julian Borger and Dan Sabbagh. “US, UK and Australia forge military alliance to counter China.” The Guardian. September 15, 2021. Accessed November 5, 21.

[8] Yoonjung Seo. “North Korea tests missile hours before South Korea launches new submarine.” CNN. September 28, 2021. Accessed November 5, 21.

[9] “Russia: Putin’s party wins majority in parliamentary election.” September 21, 2021. Accessed December 6, 2021 from

[10] Ian Austen. “Trudeau Projected to Remain Prime Minister, but Falls Short of a Majority.” The New York Times. September 21, 2021. Updated Oct. 26, 2021. Accessed January 25, 2022 and “How Canada voted from coast to coast, in graphics.” Toronto Star. Sept. 22, 2021. Updated Oct. 08, 2021. Accessed September 25, 2022.


Frederik Pleitgen, Salma Abdelaziz, Nadine Schmidt, Stephanie Halasz and Laura Smith-Spark. “Germany’s Social Democratic Party wins most seats in federal elections, preliminary official results show.” CNN. September 27, 2021. Accessed November 16, 2021.