Americas: increased risk of unrest as US heads to the polls
Key Risks: civil unrest; electoral violence
In the United States, a particularly polarising campaign in the run up to the 8 November general elections underscores the potential for localised protests, although violent incidents are highly unlikely to be widespread. The vast majority of elections in recent US history, including the contested 2000 presidential election, have not been accompanied by any significant unrest, although the tenor of the current election is unprecedented. However, the risk of clashes or widespread violence is likely to remain low. Potential incidents are expected to last a few days after the vote and will be promptly addressed and dealt with by the security services. For now, personnel are recommended to anticipate additional security in major cities and a degree of disruption and potential unrest at campaign rallies, polling stations and demonstrations before and after the election.
Asia-Pacific: Beijing intervention to increase instability in Hong Kong
Key Risks: political instability, civil unrest
China’s National People’s Congress ruled on 7 November that two pro-independence Hong Kong legislators could not take up their seats in the Legislative Council. Baggio Leung and Yau Wai-Ching won seats in September’s election, but refused to take an oath of loyalty to Beijing, raising questions as to whether they were constitutionally allowed to serve in the Legislative Council. Hong Kong courts were set to decide on the issue, but Beijing intervened. The decision is Beijing’s most overt interference into the city’s politics since Hong Kong was handed back to China. Beijing has shown that it is willing to become actively involved in the city’s politics. The decision, as well as China’s general stance, is likely to lead to further demonstrations in the coming days.
Eurasia: presidential run-off in Moldova to determine country’s direction
Key Risks: political instability, trade disruption, civil unrest
Voters in Moldova will determine the country’s first directly-elected president in 20 years in a 13 November presidential runoff election, with the centrist pro-Western candidate Maia Sandu facing off against the Socialist Party leader Igor Dodon. Dodon has fluctuated in the two weeks since the election between taking a vehemently pro-Russian position and attempting to temper concerns he will seek to withdraw Moldova from its Association Agreement with the EU, which came into effect this year. The presidency is largely symbolic, however, and it is unlikely that either candidate would be able to follow through on all their pledges, including Dodon’s calls for the federalisation of the country. A Sandu victory would, however, also give license to additional anti-corruption efforts. A disputed result could result in increased civil unrest.
Europe: risk of civil unrest in Kosovo and Montenegro rises
Key Risks: political instability, civil unrest
On 6 November, Kosovar police announced Astrit Dehari, an activist from the nationalist Vetevendosje party, was found dead in his cell and that an investigation would be carried out into the circumstances. Dehari was arrested on 30 August for allegedly helping orchestrate the 4 August firing of a rocket-propelled grenade at parliament in protest over agreements with Serbia and Montenegro. Vetevendosje has called for protests which could lead to major civil unrest and associated violence in central Pristina. Meanwhile, post-election tensions in Montenegro remain extremely high over the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists’ (DPS) accusations that Moscow may have been involved in a coup attempt during the 16 October national elections. As Montenegro moves towards joining NATO, anti-government protests are likely to increase and could result in unrest including isolated violent incidents at government buildings in the capital.
MENA: growing risk of civil unrest in Egypt
Key Risks: civil unrest; protests; riots; political instability
Small protests, and other political violence including localised riots, are likely nationwide towards the end of the week as the government may struggle to contain public anger in response to its ongoing fiscal reforms. There have been growing calls for street action since September when 11 November was declared a day of protest under the banner of “the revolution of the poor”. Police have increased arrests of activists and students suspected of orchestrating the protest calls on social media platforms. Sharply increased security measures will likely be in place this week, in particular in central Cairo. Despite this, sporadic protests and running battles with police are likely in major urban centres nationwide and key industrial areas in the Nile Delta.
Sub-Saharan Africa: political crisis spills over to the street
Sectors: retail; mining
Key Risks: civil unrest; political violence; political instability
On 5 November, police fired tear gas at opposition protesters in Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital, Kinshasa. While President Joseph Kabila’s two-term limit ends in December 2016, elections have been postponed until 2018 after the country’s electoral commission cited constraints in registering voters. Many see this as an attempt by Kabila to cling onto power. Kabila’s approval rating is perilously low, with recent polls indicating that only 8 per cent of citizens would vote for him. In September, demonstrations contesting the decision to delay elections left over 50 people dead. Protests have since been banned, and some major radio stations disabled as part of a crackdown on political space. Nevertheless, protests will likely continue over the coming weeks. While these will predominantly be in Kinshasa, similar protests in major cities, including Lubumbashi, are also likely.