Americas: Peru’s President Boluarte announces bill for snap elections amid nationwide protests
Key Risks: civil unrest; political violence; political stability
In Peru, on 12 December President Dina Boluarte responded to nationwide protests demanding snap elections by announcing that she would present a bill to Congress to bring forward the general election from April 2026 to April 2024. Protesters also demand the dissolution of Congress, Boluarte’s resignation and the release of former president Pedro Castillo – impeached and arrested on 7 December following his attempt to dissolve Congress in what was considered an attempted ‘self-coup’. Protests have rocked the capital Lima, Cusco and the provinces of Canas, Arequipa, Puno, Ica and Cajamarca. Boluarte also declared a state of emergency in southern regions where Castillo has strong support following violent unrest during which two demonstrators were killed and four were injured amid clashes with police on 11 December in Andahuaylas, Apurimac region. The risk of political instability and violent unrest will remain heightened.
Asia Pacific: Fijians to vote in third general election since 2006 military coup d’etat
Key Risks: political instability; economic risks
In Fiji, a media blackout is currently being observed as Fijians prepare to vote in the 14 December general elections – the country’s third democratic elections under the 2013 Constitution put in place following a military coup d’etat in 2006. Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, the instigator of the 2006 coup, is seeking to extend his rule following two previous electoral victories in 2014 and 2018. His main challenger is former prime minister Sitiveni Rabuka, who himself led two successful military coups in 1987 and has a significant chance to return to power. The election comes as the economy still reels from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and amid Fiji’s burgeoning international role in climate change advocacy. While the country’s military has vowed to honour the upcoming vote, an inconclusive result could mark the return of further political instability.
Eurasia: Ukraine’s President Zelensky holds bilateral calls ahead of crucial week for aid
Key risks: economic instability; war on land
In Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke bilaterally with the leaders of France, Turkey and the US ahead of the G7 online meeting and the EU foreign ministers meeting on 12 December. EU ministers are expected to discuss the ninth sanctions package against Moscow, as well as EUR2bln in military aid. On 13 December Zelensky will co-chair the International Conference for the Resilience and Reconstruction of Ukraine to be held in Paris. The conference is expected to address Kyiv’s wartime economic needs and the country’s reconstruction plans in the medium term, as French companies will be encouraged to provide economic support. The bilateral calls came as Russian targeted strikes have damaged Ukraine’s civilian and energy infrastructure including electricity grids. Further financial and military aid to Kyiv is likely.
Europe: Civil unrest escalates in Kosovo
Key Risks: civil unrest; violent clashes
In north Kosovo, on 10 and 11 December ethnic Serbs reportedly set up road blockades and clashed with police officers. On 10 December European Union Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) forces were reportedly attacked by a stun grenade. Tensions rose as ethnic Serb former police officer Dejan Pantic – who took part in the November mass resignation over the ongoing licence plate row – was arrested. Pantic was reportedly arrested for attacking election commission offices. President Vjosa Osmani announced the postponement of local elections scheduled for 18 December to 23 April 2023. On 12 December Serbian President Aleksandr Vucic urged ethnic Serbs not to attack peacekeeping forces, vowing to make efforts for a peaceful resolution while affirming Belgrade’s resolve to protect ethnic Serbs. Further civil unrest should be expected over the coming weeks.
MENA: Turkey continues to delay ground operation in northern Syria
Key Risks: war; political violence; terrorism
In Turkey, on 11 December President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a phone conversation with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to discuss the security situation in Syria. On 20 November Turkish forces launched Operation Claw-Sword, with air strikes targeting Kurdish militant groups in northern Syria and with ground operations meant to follow in the short-term. However, plans to send ground troops to Syria have been delayed to avoid a military confrontation with Russia, which maintains a significant presence in the country. Erdogan called for a 30-km buffer zone to be implemented along the Turkish-Syrian border, displacing Kurdish groups such as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Ankara and Moscow have continuously cooperated on a variety of issues. A likely agreement with Moscow would allow Turkish forces to swiftly launch the planned ground operations to secure the border areas over the coming weeks.
Sub-Saharan Africa: South Africa’s President Ramaphosa faces impeachment threat
Key Risks: political stability; civil unrest
In South Africa, on 13 December members of parliament (MPs) will vote on whether to launch impeachment proceedings against President Cyril Ramaphosa. Ramaphosa faces the threat of impeachment after a report found preliminary evidence indicating that he may have violated his oath of office and sections of the constitution because of his mishandling of the theft of at least US$580,000 at a game farm he owns. MPs will vote on whether to adopt the findings of the report. If the 400-seat National Assembly agrees to adopt the report, it will then set up a panel to investigate whether there are grounds for Ramaphosa’s dismissal. The adoption of the report requires a simple majority of 50+1 to pass, while impeachment would require the backing of two-thirds of MPs. Ramaphosa’s ruling ANC maintains a majority of 230 seats and is unlikely to vote alongside the opposition to adopt the report.