Americas: Heightened risk of civil unrest in Chile on 50th anniversary of 1973 coup

Sectors: all
Key Risks: civil unrest; business interruption; political violence

In Chile, on 10 September at least 11 people were arrested as thousands – including President Gabriel Boric – participated in demonstrations in the capital Santiago on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the 11 September 1973 coup that overthrew then-president Salvador Allende. Small groups of protesters clashed with security officers and damaged the Palacio de La Moneda, the Mausoleo de Carabineros and the grave of far-right former senator Jaime Guzman. Protesters threw Molotov cocktails at police vehicles and police fired water cannons at demonstrators. A local journalist and cameraman were also allegedly attacked. Boric condemned the violence. Traffic disruption should be expected near Palacio de La Moneda and La Alameda avenue in Santiago, as well as in key urban centres across the country. The risk of disruptive protests with the potential to turn violent will remain heightened in the coming days.

Asia Pacific: Maldivian presidential elections headed to run-off amid strong opposition challenge

Sectors: all
Key Risks: political instability; policy continuity; economic risks

In Maldives, on 9 September President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih from the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) came second to his main challenger, Malé Mayor Mohamed Muizzu from the opposition coalition led by the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) – with 39 per cent of the vote compared to Muizzu’s 46 per cent. The campaign had been fought over cost of living issues, soaring foreign debt and India’s historic influence in the archipelagic country. While Solih favours closer ties through his “India First” foreign policy, Muizzu has pledged to remove an Indian military contingent and balance trade relations with China if elected. Solih had also been severely weakened by a primary challenge from former president Mohamed Nasheed which subsequently split the MDP in May. The run-off is expected to be held later in the month and a change of government is increasingly likely.

Europe: EU set to decide on extending curbs on Ukrainian grain imports past 15 September

Sectors: all; agriculture
Key risks: trade disruptions;

In the EU, on 15 September the EU-wide restrictions on Ukrainian grain imports – first implemented on 19 April – are set to expire. EU officials did not reach an agreement on extending the bans at the College of Commissioners’ weekly meeting on 6 September, and will need to do so in the coming week. Brussels waived trade curbs on Ukrainian grain products in May 2022, which resulted in an influx of cheap grain, undercutting the prices of local producers, particularly in Ukraine’s EU neighbours. Brussels reached a deal with Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria on 19 April, allowing them to ban the import of Ukrainian grain while ensuring its continued transit through their territories. Warsaw and Budapest have called for an extension of the EU-wide curbs past 15 September. An extension cannot be ruled out, nor could unilateral import bans if Brussels lifts the restrictions.

Eurasia: Armenia launches joint military drills with the US amid heightened tensions along border

Sectors: all
Key Risks: war-on-land

In Armenia, on 11 September the military launched the 10-day-long ”Eagle Partner 2023” joint military drills with the US. 85 US soldiers and 157 Armenian troops will participate in the drills which are reportedly aimed at preparing Armenian soldiers for peacekeeping missions. The exercise – the first of its kind – will come amid heightened tensions along the country’s border with Azerbaijan. On 7 September Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan accused Baku of a military build-up along the border after reports emerged on Azerbaijani social media of an increased movement of troops along the border and in Nagorno-Karabakh. Baku denied the allegations, claiming that Azerbaijani forces were conducting pre-planned drills in the area. While the presence of US soldiers in Armenia will mitigate the risk of another major outbreak of violence in the coming days, tensions will remain high and the risk of renewed fighting is increasing.

MENA: Israel’s Supreme Court set to review first judicial reform

Sectors: all
Key risks: political stability, civil unrest, political violence

In Israel, on 9 September around 150,000 Israelis demonstrated across the country against the government’s judicial overhaul, ahead of Supreme Court hearings to review the ‘reasonableness’ law – the first judicial reform passed on 24 July. The law amended the country’s Basic Laws – to prevent courts from evaluating the ‘reasonableness’ of administrative decisions made by the executive. The hearings, set to begin on 12 September and billed as a showdown between the executive and the judiciary, will see a Supreme Court panel examining petitions challenging the ‘reasonableness’ law as a threat to Israeli democracy. However, the Court is not expected to issue a ruling for several weeks, while the government asserts that the Court has no right to review Basic Laws and their amendments which, it argues, are beyond judicial review. Disruptive unrest is likely to continue in the run-up to the ruling.

Sub-Saharan Africa: Nigerien junta accuses France of preparing to launch intervention

Sectors: all
Key Risks: war on land, civil unrest

In Niger, on 10 September the ruling National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP) military junta accused Paris of deploying troops across several West African countries in preparation for a possible military intervention together with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) regional bloc. The junta also demanded the withdrawal of French troops from the country. However, French President Emmanuel Macron responded by stating that his troops would only depart at the request of deposed Nigerien president Mohamed Bazoum. Bilateral relations between France and Niger have rapidly deteriorated in recent weeks. Growing anti-French sentiment continues to trigger protests, particularly in the capital Niamey. There is no information to suggest that French commercial assets and businesses have been targeted, although such incidents cannot be ruled out. Nevertheless, military intervention against the junta remains unlikely.