Americas: Heightened risk of violent clashes and protests in Honduras
Key Risks: political instability; civil unrest; political violence; violent clashes
In Honduras, on 1 November ruling Libre party lawmakers elected Johel Zelaya as interim Attorney General, with a committee vote where their members make up a majority – even though they represent a minority in the Congress overall. Zelaya’s election sparked a backlash from opposition legislators who accused leftist President Xiomara Castro’s allies of orchestrating an unconstitutional power grab at a time when the Congress was in recess. Libre lawmakers had attempted to elect Zelaya on at least four previous occasions, failing to secure the required votes. The election came after three opposition lawmakers – including right-wing National Party lawmaker Antonio Rivera – were injured by pro-government protesters outside the Legislative Palace in the capital Tegucigalpa on 31 October. The risk of further clashes and protests with the potential to turn violent will remain heightened – particularly in the capital – in the coming days.
Asia Pacific: Singapore’s DPM to lead PAP in 2024; government shifts towards protectionism
Key Risks: political stability; government policy; economic; frustration of process
In Singapore, on 4 November the Ministry of Trade and Industry recently unveiled the Significant Investments Review Bill (SIR) – scheduled for passage in 2024 – which grants the government authority to block takeovers of certain strategic entities. Investors will need approval to acquire 25 or 50 per cent stakes in these ‘designated entities’. Entities acting against national interests can undergo review and the state can alter their ownership/ control within two years of the act taking effect. This aligns with a regional trend towards protectionist policies. On 5 November Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong as his successor to lead the People’s Action Party (PAP) in November 2024. The PAP is expected to maintain its rule after the 2025 elections, with Wong likely becoming the next premier. The leadership transition is unlikely to disrupt political stability or lead to a significant shift in policy direction.
Eurasia: Brussels to assess Ukraine’s progress towards EU accession on 8 November
Key Risks: lack of reforms; corruption; regional integration
On 8 November the European Commission will present an assessment of Ukraine’s progress in its EU accession bid as part of a report on the progress of countries on meeting the criteria for EU accession. Brussels will likely give a positive assessment of Kyiv’s progress with additional conditions on fighting corruption and improving minority rights. An indication of Kyiv’s progress was given by the Venice Commission – which advises the Council of Europe – in a 9 October report that found Kyiv’s latest changes to the law on national minorities to be an improvement but in need of further progress. Brussels will likely make a decision on whether to begin formal membership negotiations with Kyiv at the 14-15 December summit of EU leaders. Kyiv will likely continue to toughen its stance on anti-corruption as the country grows dependent on Western aid and seeks to join the EU.
Europe: Poland’s President Andrzej Duda to nominate PM on 6 November
Key Risks: political stability; civil unrest
In Poland, on 6 November President Andrzej Duda is expected to nominate a Prime Minister following three weeks of discussions with political parties that participated in the 15 October elections. While it is customary in the country to give the first mandate to form a government to the largest political party, the winning Law and Justice (PiS) party fell short of gaining a majority and is unlikely to form a government. On the other hand, three opposition blocks – including Civic Platform (KO), the Third Way and the New Left – agreed to form a government and are reportedly finalising a coalition deal. The leader of KO, Donald Tusk, has urged Duda to appoint the opposition to avoid delaying the government formation. Should Duda – who is PiS’s former member and the party’s ally – appoint PiS, it would indeed delay the government formation until December.
MENA: International outcry grows as Israeli operations in Gaza continue
Key risks: internal conflict; external conflict; political stability; civil unrest
In Israel, on 4 November hundreds of protesters gathered outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem to demand the return of Israeli hostages held in Gaza amid increasing calls for Netanyahu to resign. Moreover, the growing worldwide mobilisation denouncing Israeli airstrikes on Gaza is putting increased pressure on the international community to push for a ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza war – as the number of Palestinian deaths tops 10,000, according to Gaza’s Ministry of Health. Hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets across the world in support of the Palestinians. Although Tel Aviv has so far refused to entertain ceasefire negotiations, mounting public opposition to Israeli military operations in Gaza is likely to push Israel’s allies, including the US, to call for a ‘humanitarian pause’ in the conflict. Whether the Israeli government will heed these calls remains to be seen.
Sub-Saharan Africa: Opposition candidate Moise Katumbi cleared to contest December election
Key risks: political instability;
In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), on 30 October the Constitutional Court rejected a petition aimed at disqualifying opposition leader Moise Katumbi from participating in the upcoming 20 December presidential election. Noal Tshiani, who is one of the 20 candidates in the election, had filed a petition with the Court requesting the removal of Katumbi from the race because the latter has dual nationality, as his father is of Italian and Greek origin. Despite winning the Court case, Katumbi is yet to be officially vetted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) – a process which will take place for all candidates on 18 November, when the official election campaign starts. The opposition remains sceptical of the electoral commission’s impartiality and continues to call on the body to implement urgent measures to prevent electoral fraud, including publishing voter rolls and mapping voting stations.