Americas: Fresh, disruptive anti-government unrest expected in Peru
Sectors: all; mining; cargo transport
Key Risks: civil unrest; business interruption; political violence; political stability
In Peru, on 14 July President Dina Boluarte’s government pledged to use only legitimate force and to guarantee demonstrators’ safety in anti-government protests scheduled for 19 July. The pledge came after the government and security forces were accused of committing abuses against protesters between December 2022 and March, when the country experienced highly disruptive and violent nationwide protests sparked by the ouster and arrest of former president Pedro Castillo in December 2022. On 12 July the government announced a 30-day extension of the state of emergency in place across the country’s highway network ahead of the fresh demonstrations. The measure is meant to ensure free transit and the protection of key infrastructure – particularly across the Southern Mining Corridor. Despite the government’s pledge, disruptive protests with a potential for violence should be expected in key cities in the coming days.
Asia Pacific: Two Singaporean MPs sacked over ‘inappropriate relationship’ amid graft probe
Key Risks: political instability
In Singapore, on 17 July the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) sacked two MPs over “inappropriate relationships”. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong accepted the immediate resignations of Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin and MP Cheng Li Hui. The PAP maintains a generally upheld high standard of personal conduct. However, it begs the question as to why Tan retained his position as speaker after Lee was made aware of his extramarital affairs in 2020. Tan offered his resignation in February and, although it was accepted, he was not replaced. The sackings followed the 11 July arrest of Transport Minister Subramaniam Iswaran by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau – the highest profile graft investigation involving the PAP in almost 40 years. On 12 July Lee instructed Iswaran to take a leave of absence. The recent PAP scandals are indicative of the strong likelihood of political infighting within the party. Further shuffles within the party can be expected.
Eurasia: Increased risk of Russian retaliatory attacks as Ukraine’s drones damage Kerch Bridge
Key risks: war on land
In Ukraine, there is an increased risk of Russian retaliatory attacks against targets nationwide after two Ukrainian naval drones damaged the Kerch bridge on 17 July. The bridge – also known as the Crimea Bridge – connects Russian-occupied Crimea with Russia’s Krasnodar Krai. Two people were reportedly killed and another one was injured in the attack. Traffic on the bridge was halted and the inspection of the bridge was launched. Russia-installed officials claimed that the railroad track – arguably the most important part of the bridge serving Russian military supplies – was not damaged. Videos on social media appeared to support the claim. However, the extent of the damage is unclear and it remains to be confirmed if the support structure holding up the bridge has also been impacted.
Europe: Spain to vote in general election on 23 July
Key Risks: political instability; policy uncertainty
In Spain, voters will go to polls to elect a new parliament in snap general elections on 23 July. According to the latest polls, the opposition conservative People’s Party (PP) is ahead of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s ruling Socialists (PSOE). However, polls indicate that PP is unlikely to secure a decisive majority of 350 seats in the lower house of congress. To reach a majority, many believe the PP would form a coalition with the far-right Vox party – which is projected to win approximately 10 per cent of the vote. PSOE would likely seek the support of the Sumar left-wing bloc poised to secure around 9 per cent. Sanchez called the election – originally due in November – on 29 May following PSOE’s poor performance in the municipal elections. The election will be held amid extremely high temperatures which could impact the turnout.
MENA: US reinforcing military posture in the Persian Gulf
Key risks: external conflict; regional stability; economic
In the US, on 15 July reports emerged indicating that an unspecified number of F-16 fighter jets would be shortly deployed to the Persian Gulf to protect ships sailing through the Strait of Hormuz from Iranian naval forces. In recent months, Iranian authorities – led by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) – seized a number of oil and fuel tankers close to Iranian territorial waters on politically-motivated charges. The Bahrain-US Navy Fifth Fleet patrols the area in a bid to deter Iranian seizures. Most recently, on 5 July it thwarted an attempt by the IRGC Navy to seize two oil tankers in international waters in the Gulf of Oman. The deployment of F-16s signals Washington’s determination to confront Iran’s aggressive actions. However, increased US military presence risks escalating tensions with Tehran and undermining recent efforts to revive nuclear talks.
Sub-Saharan Africa: Court ruling could send former South Africa’s president Zuma back to jail
Key Risks: civil unrest; political stability
In South Africa, on 13 July the Constitutional Court upheld a decision by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) that former president Jacob Zuma’s early release from prison on medical parole was unlawful. The ruling came after the SCA upheld a ruling by the Pretoria High Court in December 2021 that the medical parole granted to Zuma was unlawful and that he should return to prison to complete his 15-month sentence for contempt of court. The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) is expected to decide whether Zuma must go back to prison by end-August. Zuma’s initial arrest on 7 July 2021 sparked countrywide riots between 9 to 18 July 2021 with at least 337 people killed and more than ZAR50bln (US$287m) in property damages. There is a high risk of protests should the DCS rule that Zuma should return to prison.