Americas: Noboa and Gonzalez to face off on 15 October in Ecuador’s presidential runoff
Key Risks: policy continuity; political violence; political stability
In Ecuador, on 15 October voters will head to the polls to choose between Luisa Gonzalez – an ally of leftist former president Rafael Correa – and businessman Daniel Noboa in the presidential runoff. The electoral process has been marred by political violence incidents linked to organised criminal groups – including the 9 August killing of presidential candidate Fernarndo Villavicencio – amid an unprecedented security crisis. Both candidates have pledged to bolster security in the violence-ridden country, but have differed on how to boost the economy. In the 20 August first round of snap general elections, Gonzalez and Noboa secured 33 and 24 per cent of the vote, respectively. Though Gonzalez has since been considered the frontrunner, Noboa led a 23 September Comunicaliza poll by 6.7 percentage points. Policy uncertainty and political violence risks will remain heightened ahead of and after the vote.
Asia Pacific: Support for Australia’s Indigenous Voice falters ahead of 14 October referendum
Key Risks: political instability; civil unrest; political polarisation
In Australia, according to a recent Resolve poll, support for the proposed Indigenous Voice to Parliament continues to falter ahead of the 14 October constitutional referendum. The poll showed the “yes” campaign at 44 per cent compared to the “no” campaign at 56 per cent. The Voice is an advisory group of elected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples that would enshrine the country’s indigenous populations into the constitution. However, confusion over the contentious change as well as antagonism from the country’s opposition parties have undercut support for its passage – which peaked at 64 per cent in October 2022 – heightening political polarisation and prompting a rise in racially-motivated incidents. The referendum would need a “double majority” to pass, requiring a national majority of voters and most states to vote in the affirmative. The high threshold will likely see the referendum defeated.
Eurasia: Russia’s State Duma Council to discuss repealing of CTBT nuclear arms treaty
Key Risks: war-on-land, geopolitical tensions, nuclear arms testing
In Russia, on 9 October the State Duma Council – the body responsible for organising the legislative work of parliament – plans to meet to discuss the possibility of revoking Moscow’s ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). The meeting was announced after President Vladimir Putin stated on 5 October that although Moscow’s nuclear doctrine did not need to be revised, he could not rule out the possibility of revoking the treaty as the United States (US) had not ratified it. Moscow’s envoy to the CTBT confirmed plans to revoke the treaty on 6 October, prompting US criticism. The Kremlin has not stated whether the potential de-ratification would prompt Moscow to resume nuclear testing. The war in Ukraine will continue to strain US-Russia relations. Further steps by Moscow to withdraw from treaties governing nuclear arms cannot be ruled out.
Europe: PiS narrowly leads polls as Poland heads for parliamentary elections
Key risks: political instability; civil unrest
In Poland, on 15 October citizens are set to vote in parliamentary elections. Polls suggest that the ruling nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party has a narrow lead over the opposition Civic Platform led by Donald Tusk. Warsaw will hold a referendum on four issues on election day – on the privatisation of state companies, on raising the retirement age, on a fence on the Belarus border and on accepting migrants under an EU deal. The referendum was proposed by PiS and is likely aimed at mobilising the ruling party’s voters. The election results will have a major influence on Warsaw’s relations with Brussels, which became increasingly strained under PiS over its attempts to weaken the judiciary. PiS is unlikely to win an absolute majority and could form a coalition with the far-right Confederation party. Major protests in support of PiS and Civic Platform are likely in the coming weeks.
MENA: Hamas attack on southern Israel reignites Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Key risks: internal conflict; political violence; terrorism
In Israel, on 7 October Gaza-based militant group Hamas launched an air, land and sea operation dubbed ‘Operation al-Aqsa Flood’ on Israeli towns and villages near the Gaza border. The attack saw hundreds of Hamas militants breaking through the Gaza border, while thousands of rockets were simultaneously launched at cities, including Tel Aviv. Over 800 Israelis have been killed, around 2,200 others injured and dozens taken hostage. Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) responded with a barrage of airstrikes on the densely-populated Gaza Strip, killing around 510 Palestinians and injuring 2,800 others. On 9 October Israel’s Defence Minister Yoav Gallant announced a total blockade on Gaza, preventing the supply of food, fuel and electricity. The build up of IDF troops around Gaza suggests the impending launch of a ground invasion which is likely to cause further casualties on both sides of the conflict.
Sub-Saharan Africa: Civil unrest risks remain elevated ahead of Madagascar’s 9 November poll
Key Risks: civil unrest
In Madagascar, on 7 October police fired tear gas at supporters of opposition candidate former president Marc Ravalomanana in the capital Antananarivo as they marched to denounce President Andry Rajoelina’s upcoming participation in the 9 November presidential vote. At least two people were arrested and eight others were injured. Reports indicated that Ravalomanana – who was ousted in a coup by Rajoelina in 2009 – was among those injured by the police. Opposition supporters have continued to denounce President Andry Rajoelina’s dual French-Malagasy citizenship. Dual citizenship is illegal under local law. Opposition supporters have accused Rajoelina of staging an “institutional coup”. Civil unrest risks are expected to remain elevated in the lead up to, during and after the election.