Day: January 27, 2021


ITALY: No quick fix

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte resigned on 26 January, just one week after he barely survived a confidence vote in the Senate that highlighted the weakness of his coalition government. Conte tendered his resignation to President Sergio Mattarella, the ultimate arbiter in any formal government crisis, who invited him to stay on in a caretaker position.… Read the rest


GERMANY: Black zero, not debt brake is the true signpost

A renewed debate has emerged about the infamous debt brake after, in a newspaper op-ed, the chief of Angela Merkel’s chancellery argued for changing the constitution to effectively abandon the rule. This, however, remains highly unlikely. Instead, the more interesting question is whether the next government might drop the “black zero” policy of balanced budgets, at least using its 0.35% of GDP deficit leeway under the existing debt brake once the pandemic emergency is over.… Read the rest

Emerging Markets

SOUTH AFRICA: Vaccine politics

  • Facing a backlash over its vaccine strategy, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration is scrambling to reassure South Africans that some 30mn vaccines are in the pipeline.
  • Yet few further details regarding vaccination plans were provided at the latest ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting.
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SPAIN: Catalan elections and coalition infighting still main risks to watch

  • Assuming the 14 February Catalan elections take place (a court must still confirm that the vote can be held), its results are likely to have an important bearing on national politics.
  • A defeat of the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) at the hands of the Socialist Party of Catalonia (PSC) would probably complicate cooperation between the two parties at the national level.
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Emerging Markets

NIGERIA: Overdue military reshuffle may smooth US security relations

On 26 January, President Muhammadu Buhari replaced the four service chiefs in the first reshuffle of the military top brass since taking office in 2015. Given the persistently deteriorating security situation, the move could have been made long ago; however, a particular string of bad news in recent weeks, coupled with the realization that certain tainted personnel may become an obstacle to improving security cooperation with the new US administration, may have provided the final trigger.… Read the rest

Emerging Markets

PHILIPPINES: Government considers some food price controls

  • Pork and vegetable prices have risen substantially over the past few weeks due to supply problems.
  • While President Rodrigo Duterte has so far avoided any major fallout from the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic, persistent food inflation may be more politically problematic for him.
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