Americas: Over 40 organisations set to protest across Costa Rica on 25 October
Sectors: all; transport
Key Risks: civil unrest
In Costa Rica, on 25 October anti-government demonstrators – including members of the National Council of Rectors (CONARE) union and 40 other student- and teacher-led social organisations – are set to protest nationwide. The protests were reportedly organised to express discontent with President Rodrigo Chaves’s public policies and his alliances in the Legislative Assembly as well as to denounce the alleged constant undermining of institutional autonomy. Demonstrators are also expected to call for agri-food security; universal and quality public health and education; increased environmental protection and energy security; and the creation of employment opportunities, among other demands. Severe traffic disruption should be expected in the capital San Jose’s Zapote district and in other major urban centres. Violent protests remain rare and the scheduled marches are likely to remain peaceful.
Asia Pacific: Indonesian Defence Minister names President Widodo’s son as running mate
Key Risks: political instability; civil unrest
In Indonesia, on 22 October Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto selected Solo Mayor Gibran Rakabuming Raka – President Joko Widodo’s 36-year-old son – as his running mate in the 14 February 2024 presidential election. On 16 October the Constitutional Court – headed by Widodo’s brother-in-law – established a loophole to allow for Gibran’s expected nomination despite upholding a 40-year-old minimum age requirement for presidential candidates. The moves have been widely condemned by rights groups, which have criticised them as undemocratic and entrenching dynastic politics. Gibran’s selection is aimed at securing Widodo’s support as he remains highly popular, with approval ratings hovering around 80 per cent. The selection will likely result in a schism between Widodo and the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), which has nominated former Central Java governor Ganjar Pranowo as its presidential candidate. Political instability risks will likely intensify in the coming weeks.
Eurasia: Ukrainian troops reportedly crossing Dnieper River in Kherson, further advances likely
Key Risks: war on land
In Ukraine, on 18 October Ukraine’s General Staff indirectly confirmed that its troops had crossed the Dnieper River in Kherson Oblast following similar claims on Russian media channels affiliated with the war effort on 17 October. Kyiv reported Russian airstrikes on Pishchanivka – which lies on the Russian-occupied left/ southern bank of the river – indicating that Ukrainian forces had successfully reached the village and were advancing towards the nearby town of Poima. Reports of clashes around both towns continued to emerge, although neither side formally commented on them. Although Kyiv has carried out several small raids across the river, the latest advance signals a potential attempt to expand the area of control ahead of a larger offensive across the river. Although Moscow stated that Kyiv’s counter-offensive in the oblast was failing, further attempts to advance across the Dnieper River cannot be ruled out.
Europe: Government formation in Slovakia likely delayed over environment minister dispute
Key risks: political instability
In Slovakia, on 20 October President Zuzana Caputova refused to appoint Rudolf Huliak as environment minister over his denial of climate change and verbal attacks on environmental campaigners. Huliak was nominated by the Slovak National Party (SNS) – although he is not a party member – as part of a new government led by Prime Minister Robert Fico. Fico refused to change the candidate as the SNS insisted on Huliak’s nomination. Instead, he stated that he expected the government to be appointed with the seat of environment minister vacant and accused Caputova of “deliberately delaying” government formation. Fico wants his government to be appointed before a 26-27 October EU summit in Brussels. To participate in the summit, he will have to present a new candidate to Caputova in the coming day as she will likely demand to be presented with a new name to appoint the government.
MENA: Risk of regional escalation grows as Israel-Gaza conflict intensifies
Key risks: internal conflict; external conflict; political violence
In Gaza, on 22 October 30 Palestinians were killed and 27 others were injured in an Israeli airstrike on the Jabalia refugee camp. The unprecedented number of casualties and amount of material damage in Gaza since the start of the conflict on 7 October has sparked outrage throughout the region. Several Iran-backed militant groups, including in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, have targeted Israeli and US military positions and assets in the region due to their unwavering support for Israel. Clashes on the emerging Israeli-Lebanese front between Israeli forces and Hizbullah militants are reportedly intensifying, with growing casualties and material losses on both sides. Since 18 October, in Iraq, Iran-backed Shi’ah militias have conducted several rocket and drone attacks on military bases hosting US military personnel. The risk of regional escalation is set to increase as similar confrontations continue throughout the region.
Sub-Saharan Africa: Mozambican courts order municipal election vote recount in several districts
Key Risks: political instability; political violence; civil unrest
In Mozambique, as of 23 October separate district courts had overturned the 11 October municipal election results in the districts of Matola and Maputo in Maputo province and in Chokwe, Gaza province, following petitions from opposition parties. The courts found irregularities at several polling stations which allegedly distorted the results. Results from the Mozambique Electoral Commission (CNE) showed that mayoral candidates of the ruling FRELIMO ruling party won in all but one of the country’s 65 municipalities. The CNE has launched an appeal against the district courts stating that courts do not have the authority to call a recount. Opposition parties have launched petitions in at least nine other major cities including in the provinces of Nampula, Inhambane and Zambezia. There is a high risk of protests in Maputo and districts where a vote recount is ordered.