Americas: Dominican Republic to hold general elections on 19 May

Sectors: all
Key Risks: political instability; policy uncertainty

In the Dominican Republic, on 19 May voters will head to the polls to elect the country’s new president and legislature – including 62 seats in the Senate and 192 in the Chamber of Representatives. According to polls, incumbent President Luis Abinader is likely to secure re-election for his third term with around 60 per cent of the vote – enough to avoid a runoff which would otherwise take place on 30 June. Abinader’s main rival, former president Leonel Fernandez, is expected to take second place with approximately 20 per cent of the vote. Abinader enjoys high approval ratings over his anti-corruption policies, business-friendly attitude and strict anti-immigration and security policies towards neighbouring Haiti. Abinader’s re-election would guarantee policy continuity, with Abinader likely to continue supporting the tourism sector and taking further restrictive measures towards Haiti.

Click here to access the Dominican Republic’s Global Intake country profile.

Asia Pacific: Singaporean Prime Minister Lee to step down after two decades in power

Sectors: all
Key Risks: political uncertainty; policy continuity; government instability

In Singapore, on 15 May Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will step down after two decades in power, paving the way for Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong to assume the premiership – in only the city-state’s third leadership transition since its independence in 1965. As per tradition, Lee has accepted a senior minister position in Wong’s forthcoming cabinet, which will largely retain its membership from the previous cabinet. On 13 May Wong announced that he would retain his finance portfolio and promoted Industry and Trade Minister Gan Kim Yong as deputy prime minister – likely deferring any major personnel changes until after the next general election, which must be held by November 2025. Policy continuity is expected to be maintained and the continued dominance of the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) will likely sustain Singapore’s renowned political stability.

Click here to access Singapore’s Global Intake country profile.

Eurasia: Russian forces launch fresh cross-border assault in Ukraine’s Kharkiv Oblast

Sectors:  all
Key Risks: war on land

In Ukraine, on 10 May Russian forces launched a fresh cross-border assault on Kharkiv Oblast – the first one since Russia’s initial attack on the oblast in February 2022. On 11 May Russia’s Ministry of Defence announced that it had captured the villages of Ohirtseve, Borysivka, Pylna, Strilecha and Pletenivka in the far north of the oblast. On 12 May Kharkiv Oblast’s governor, Oleh Syniehubov, stated that the situation in the area was “difficult,” adding that fighting can spread to other villages. On 13 May several Russian media outlets claimed that Russian forces had entered the town of Vovchansk, although this has not been independently confirmed. Around 6,000 civilians have been evacuated from the area as of 13 May. The Russian offensive is ultimately aimed at preparing new positions to besiege the city of Kharkiv. Heavy fighting will continue.

Click here to access Ukraine’s Global Intake country profile.

Europe: Russia intensifies cyber attacks, disinformation campaigns against EU

Sectors: all
Key Risks: hybrid warfare; cyber-attacks; disinformation; election interference

In Germany, on 6 May Berlin recalled its ambassador to Russia for a week of consultations after accusing Moscow of conducting cyberattacks on Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democratic Party (SPD). On 3 May Berlin alleged that Russian military agents hacked Microsoft Outlook emails of SPD members and other government, industrial and Ukraine-related targets, including in defence and aerospace. The cyber campaign allegedly began in March 2022. Separately, the Czech Republic summoned Moscow’s ambassador to the country over alleged Russian cyberattacks against Czech institutions and critical infrastructure. This came after on 30 March Czech and Polish intelligence services uncovered an alleged Russian disinformation network in Europe aimed at promoting pro-Russian narratives and politicians in a bid to influence the European Parliament elections in June. Russian cyber attacks and disinformation campaigns will likely intensify ahead of the elections.

Click here to access Germany’s and here to access the Czech Republic’s Global Intake country profile.

MENA: Israeli forces intensify operations in Gaza amid worsening humanitarian crisis

Sectors: all
Key risks: war; humanitarian crisis

In Gaza, on 12 May Israel Defense Forces (IDF) conducted intense air and ground attacks on Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza, killing at least 19 Palestinians. IDF claimed that Hamas militants are seeking to re-establish a military presence in the north, following months of Israeli efforts to ‘clear’ the northern half of the Gaza Strip, causing thousands of civilian deaths and catastrophic material damage. This came a week after Israeli forces launched a limited ground invasion of eastern Rafah in southern Gaza and took control of the Rafah border crossing. Concurrently, the United Nations (UN) reported that no humanitarian aid had been delivered through the southern Kerem Shalom border crossing since 5 May and warned that Gaza’s health system is “collapsing” amid increased Israeli operations. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is expected to worsen and Palestinian casualties are expected to continue rising.

Click here to access Gaza and the West Bank‘s Global Intake country profile.

Sub-Saharan Africa: Mali to extend transitional government and delay elections until 2027

Sectors: all
Key risks: political instability; civil unrest

In Mali, on 10 May the government-formed Inter-Malian dialogue for peace and reconciliation recommended that the duration of the transitional period be extended until 2027. The dialogue also proposed that the government open talks with armed groups and integrate militias into the army. Since the August 2020 coup, the country has been governed by a transitional government led by the military junta. In 2022 the government missed a deadline to hold elections and further extended the transitional period until March 2024. On 31 March more than 80 political parties and civil society groups requested a time frame for when presidential elections will be held. In response to the demands of the opposition, on 10 April the government issued a decree banning all opposition party activities throughout the country. The risk of opposition protests will remain high in the coming days.

Click here to access Mali’s Global Intake country profile.