Americas: President-elect Noboa expected to be sworn in on 23 November in Ecuador
Key Risks: political uncertainty; political instability; policy continuity; governability risks
In Ecuador, on 23 November President-elect Daniel Noboa is expected to be sworn in to begin his truncated 18-month term. On 11 November legislator-elect Pierina Correa stated that the tentative date of Noboa’s inauguration – previously set for 1 December – would be brought forward on her transition team’s request amid concerns over when Noboa’s administration would start work. Noboa will complete outgoing President Guillermo Lasso’s term, which runs until May 2025, after Lasso triggered snap elections by dissolving the National Assembly (NA) by decree on 17 May. On 17 November the NA-elected conservative Henry Kronfle as its president as the new legislative period began amid a deal between Noboa’s National Democratic Action party, the conservative Social Christian Party and former president Rafael Correa’s leftist Citizens’ Revolution party to form a majority. Noboa will face pressing economic and security crises amid heightened governability risks.
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Asia Pacific: Political coalitions take shape ahead of January 2024 Taiwanese presidential election
Key Risks: political instability; policy continuity; economic risks; trade friction
In Taiwan, on 20 November Vice President Lai Ching-te selected Hsiao Bi-khim – the self-ruling island’s former envoy to the US – as his running mate in the 13 January 2024 presidential election. The announcement came as the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) and Taiwan’s People’s Party (TPP) – both proponents of greater dialogue with Beijing – remain at loggerheads over their respective placements in a joint presidential ticket challenging the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), under which cross-Strait relations has markedly deteriorated. Recent polls have shown that the joint ticket could successfully surmount Lai’s frontrunner status. However, negotiations between KMT and TPP remain highly acrimonious. The selection of Hsiao – who was twice sanctioned by Beijing – highlights Washington’s increasing relevance as Taipei’s foremost international supporter, establishing a clear dividing line over the island’s geopolitical and economic orientation as a major issue in the election campaign ahead.
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Eurasia: Peace deal between Armenia and Azerbaijan by end-2023 increasingly unlikely
Key Risks: war on land
In Armenia, on 18 November Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stated that while Yerevan and Baku agreed on basic principles for a peace treaty, the two parties are “still speaking different diplomatic languages”. He added that Baku has yet to publicly commit to the principles agreed upon to achieve peace, including the mutual recognition of territorial integrity, border delimitation based on the 1991 Alma-Ata Declaration and the opening of regional trade, transport and communication while mutually respecting sovereignty. The statement came after Baku announced on 16 November that it would not participate in the 20 November talks in the US over what they claimed were “one-sided and biased remarks” made by the Assistant US Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, James O’Brien. Pashinyan’s comments underscored that prospects for a peace agreement to be reached by end-2023 are dim.
Click here to access Armenia’s Global Intake country profile.
Europe: NSC party neck and neck with ruling VVD ahead of 22 November Dutch elections
Key Risks: political instability
In the Netherlands, on 22 November citizens will vote in early general elections to elect members of the House of Representatives. The election – originally planned for 2025 – was called after Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s fourth cabinet collapsed over migration policy disagreements on 7 July. Rutte is retiring from politics. Polling indicates the newly-formed centrist New Social Contract (NSC) party is leading neck and neck with Rutte’s ruling People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD). NSC’s leader, Pieter Omtzigt, stated his preference for staying in parliament instead of leading the country as PM. VVD’s new leader Dilan Yesilgöz thus retains a chance of becoming the country’s first female PM. The far-right Party for Freedom (PVV) led by Geert Wilders has also seen an increase in support. The election’s outcome remains uncertain amid a high number of ‘floating’ voters who are disenchanted with politics and seeking a radical change.
Click here to access the Netherlands’ Global Intake country profile.
MENA: Yemen’s Huthi rebels intensify anti-Israel operation over Gaza war
Key risks: regional conflict; terrorism
In the Red Sea, off the coast of Yemen, on 19 October Iran-backed Huthi rebels hijacked a British-owned and Japanese-operated cargo ship and took 25 crew members hostage while navigating near al-Hudaida in Huthi-controlled western Yemen. A Huthi spokesperson described the hijacking as a response to Israel’s military operations in Gaza and to show solidarity with the Palestinians. While no Israeli national was onboard, the ship is allegedly linked to a prominent Israeli billionaire. The Huthi leadership previously stated that it considered assets belonging to Israel or its Western allies to be legitimate targets for attacks. In addition, for weeks, Huthis have carried out missile and drone attacks targeting southern Israel. Huthi attacks against Israeli and Western-linked ships in the Red Sea and Bab al-Mandab Strait are likely to continue, causing a deterioration of international maritime security in these key commercial waterways.
Click here to access Yemen’s Global Intake country profile.
SSA: Senegal’s opposition leader blocked from running in February 2024 presidential election
Key risks: political instability; violent clashes; civil unrest
In Senegal, on 17 November the Supreme Court effectively barred detained opposition leader Ousmane Sonke from running in the 25 February 2024 presidential election, overturning an October ruling by the Ziguinchor District Court that had reinstated him in the electoral roll. Sonke was removed from the roll on 2 June after he was sentenced in a controversial criminal case that triggered widespread protests in which 16 demonstrators were killed. His political party, the Patriots of Senegal for Work, Ethics and Fraternity (PASTEF) was dissolved by the government on 31 July, the same month Sonko was detained. Despite claims by Sonke’s lawyer that they would challenge the court’s decision, it is unlikely there will be sufficient time for Sonke to officially register his candidacy. This will sustain the threat of widespread unrest across the country in the coming weeks.
Click here to access Senegal’s Global Intake country profile.