Day: March 31, 2021


INDIA/PAKISTAN: A thaw after a long winter?

  • Recent events suggest New Delhi and Islamabad are considering the normalization of relations.
  • India and Pakistan face both geopolitical and economic compulsions.
  • Full diplomatic relations could be followed by a long-stalled South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit.

Cautious hopes are being raised that relations between India and Pakistan might be coming out of a deep freeze where they have been since 2014, with several recent signposts indicating the two adversaries could be getting ready to re-engage.… Read the rest

South Africa

SOUTH AFRICA: Headline risk in ANC politics

  • Despite months of stalling, the battle to remove ruling party Secretary-General Ace Magashule has inched a step closer towards an outcome.
  • The so-called ‘radical economic transformation (RET)’ faction will create maximum chaos in the interim.
  • The situation will test Ramaphosa’s authority, and his reform and anti-corruption agenda.
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EU/CHINA: CAI down but not out

  • Last week’s row between the EU and China has raised doubts about the future of the so-called Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI).
  • Since member states will likely green-light the agreement, the European Parliament remains the key veto player in the ratification process on the EU side.
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MALAYSIA: An uncertain election … when it happens

The United Malays National Organization (UMNO), the second-largest party in the lower house, announced 28 March that it would be running in the next election independently of its main coalition partner, the Bersatu party of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin. The decision was made unanimously, the party claims, at its annual general assembly during the weekend — although this was preceded by the sidelining of some pro-government MPs within UMNO.… Read the rest


TURKEY: Sharp rise in infections puts tourism season at risk

The government, which relaxed Covid-19 related restrictions a month ago, has been forced to reimpose weekend curfews and reverse the normalization drive as infections continue to surge. The authorities reported 37,303 new cases on 30 March, breaking the country’s record of single-day infections since the outbreak of the pandemic.… Read the rest


ECUADOR: Signs of late Lasso rally may not be enough against Arauz

  • Andres Arauz remains the marginal favorite ahead of the 11 April presidential run-off vote though the conservative Guillermo Lasso appears to have gained ground.
  • Voter fragmentation and indecision complicate the outlook, as do calls to spoil ballots.
  • The vote pits Lasso’s capacity to overcome voter reticence and build an electoral alliance greater than Correismo against the ability of former president Rafael Correa’s proxy, Andres Arauz, to break Correismo’s ceiling of support.
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BRAZIL: Feel-good yes-men reshuffle overshadowed by Big Center move

  • President Jair Bolsonaro reshuffled six ministers in his government but not much should change in terms of policy.
  • The Big Center was the main winner of the reshuffle.
  • The pandemic will pose the biggest challenge to the new construct.

The ministerial reshuffle on 29 March was in large measure a move by President Jair Bolsonaro to shield himself from trouble by shifting close conformist advisors around and conceding considerable space for the “Big Center” – the loose coalition of parties that rather than coalescing around centrist policies have traditionally followed power wherever it sits.… Read the rest