Americas: Rousseff likely to lose impeachment trial final vote

In Brazil, the Senate’s final vote on suspended President Dilma Rousseff impeachment trial is expected to take place between 30 and 31 August, with Rousseff increasingly likely to be permanently removed from the presidency. Should at least two-thirds of the 81 senators find her guilty of doctoring fiscal accounts to mask Brazil’s budget deficit, interim President Michel Temer will serve out her term which lasts until December 2018. Even after Rousseff’s likely impeachment political stability is far from guaranteed. Further Petrobras corruption scandal fallout could still affect both Temer and his PMDB party. Anti-government and impeachment-related unrest should be expected over the coming week with a potential for localised disruption, although turnout in recent marches has been lower than expected.

Asia-Pacific: Myanmar’s upcoming peace talks face uncertain start

Myanmar’s imminent agenda-setting nationwide peace meeting is facing a difficult start after three active ethnic rebel groups were banned from participating. The three groups had ignored the military’s demand they pledge to disarm before the five-day Union Peace Conference, which starts on 31 August. Failures to include all of Myanmar’s 20-plus armed organisations have long stymied attempts to achieve an inclusive peace deal. Large areas of Myanmar’s border regions are controlled by ethnic rebels and associated fighting regularly affects mining, hydropower development and other economic activities. A deal is possible over the next few years, but the recent difficulties demonstrate that the need to balance the diverging interests of the government, the armed forces and the various rebel groups will likely hinder progress towards peace.

Eurasia: disputed reports of President Islam Karimov’s death following hospitalisation

In Uzbekistan, many news outlets reported on 29 August that President Islam Karimov died, a day after the Cabinet of Ministers announced he had been hospitalised and would undergo treatment for an ‘extended period.’ One of Karimov’s daughters announced he had suffered a brain hemorrhage, possibly as early as 26 August. Uzbekistan has not witnessed a single transition of power in its 25 years of independence and although it is believed powerful interest groups and dominant security chief Rustam Inoyatov will reach a deal to maintain the status quo, it cannot be ruled out that divisions and tensions will emerge amongst the ruling elite, which is amongst the most secretive in the world.

Europe: Commission rules against Ireland-Apple tax deal

The European Commision ruled the tax agreement between Apple Inc. and Ireland amounted to illegal state aid. The Commission ordered Apple pay up to US$14.5bln in back taxes, 40 times larger than any previous tax back-payment ordered. The sum could change if other EU states seek back taxes from Apple, which shifted its EU corporate taxes and the vast majority of its profits outside the US to Ireland. Many argue the commission’s crackdown on tax deals will see companies move their tax bases out of the EU. Both Ireland and Apple plan to appeal. Should the appeals fail, the ruling may have a major long-term impact on the economies of states such as Ireland and Luxembourg that are increasingly reliant on such tax deals to maintain their revenue base.

MENA: renewed negotiations on Iraqi oil revenue sharing agreement

The prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) restarted its negotiations with Baghdad over the potential to resume the oil revenue sharing agreement, which provides the autonomous Kurdistan region with 17 per cent of total oil revenues as laid out in the constitution. The KRG has been marketing and selling its oil through the Ceyhan pipeline itself for the last several months. Kurdish officials have publicly stated they will demand no less than US$1bln monthly in revenues, which is more than double their current revenues from Ceyhan exports. The KRG needs significant financial support to alleviate its debt burden of at least US$18bln, which the federal Iraqi government may be unwilling to carry. Negotiations will ultimately be successful, if tense over the coming week.

Sub-Saharan Africa: tensions heightened ahead of Gabon election results

Gabon opposition candidate Jean Ping claimed victory over President Ali Bongo and called on him to acknowledge defeat, following presidential elections on 27 August. Early figures showed Ping having a comfortable lead, in what has been the country’s closest elections to date. However, Bongo also claimed victory, in an election marked by voter irregularities. Increased opposition unity, an economy severely impacted by low oil prices and the failure of infrastructure projects to come on-stream have increased popular support for Ping in recent months. However, it remains uncertain whether Bongo will step down in the event of a Ping victory, and tensions between the two candidates are likely to remain heightened, with the risk of further escalation to violent clashes between opposing supporters. Results are expected on 1600 GMT on 30 August.