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Forecast: New wave of unrest hits Chile, UN chief visits Pakistan, and Sweden heads to the polls

A gathering of several people along a flooded river in Pakistan

Welcome to Factal Forecast, a look at the week’s biggest stories from the editors at Factal.

We publish our forward-looking note each Thursday to help you get a jump-start on the week ahead.

Protests broke out in Chile over the weekend after voters rejected a new constitution. In this week’s Factal Forecast podcast, Senior Editor Jimmy Lovaas and Editor Jaime Calle Moreno discuss how the rejection’s impact on the indigenous community’s goal of official recognition and autonomy and how the situation could lead to more unrest. 

Listen now or download on your favorite platform. 

Week of Sept. 9-16
A Look Ahead

Sept. 9 – UN secretary general visits Pakistan

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will head to Pakistan on Friday to visit areas impacted by months of historic flooding.

What’s happened so far 
An unusually heavy rain season has resulted in catastrophic flooding in Pakistan since June. More than 1,300 people have died and approximately 33 million Pakistanis have been impacted by the floods that quickly exhausted Islamabad’s emergency resources. Estimates indicate flooding caused at least $10 billion in damage and further exacerbated food shortage concerns stemming from the Ukraine invasion, with the heavily impacted Sindh province producing approximately half of Pakistan’s food supply.

The impact 
Guterres’ visit is intended to rally international support for Pakistan with the U.N. appealing for at least $160 million in emergency funding for victims. While some international aid has been dispatched, including $30 million from the United States, Islamabad will need significantly more assistance given the scale of the disaster and Pakistan’s ongoing economic crisis that has been badly exacerbated by the floods.

Sept. 10 – Conservative Party of Canada leadership election  

Members of Canada’s official opposition party will announce Saturday the results of their internal election to determine who could challenge Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the next federal election. 

What’s happened so far 
Former leader Erin O’Toole lost an uneventful 2021 election to Trudeau’s Liberals and was deposed in a February no-confidence vote. Voting for his replacement just wrapped and a record 675,000 Conservative Party members chose from five candidates. Recent polling shows Jean Charest, the former Premier of Quebec and moderate candidate is expected to lose in a landslide to Pierre Poilievre, a 43-year-old MP from Ottawa. Poilievre espouses anti-establishment conservatism that appealed to men, non-college graduates and people who can’t work remotely, according to recent polling. In particular, Poilievre supported the trucker protests and championed Canada’s oil industry.

The impact 
Despite inroads with young Canadian men, most polling indicates Poilievre is less popular individually than Trudeau. Despite his French name and command of the language, Poilievre struggles in Quebec, where the Conservative Party need gains to form a government. Poilievre’s appeal to young men could lower the vote share of the Liberal’s coalition partners, the leftist New Democratic Party. Nevertheless, Poilievre is a greater challenge to Trudeau than the previous Conservative leaders, if only for his bilingualism, and it is unlikely the Liberals call an election until their approval ratings jump. 

Sept. 11 – Swedish general election

On Sunday, Swedes will head to the polls to vote in the country’s general election as experts fear foreign interference amid rising tensions with Russia.

What’s happened so far 
Eight years since Sweden’s center-left party came to power, the Social Democrats are again leading the polls with renewed support for incumbent Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, who took over after former Prime Minister Stefan Löfven resigned in November 2021. Andersson’s popularity surged following her administration’s decision to break away from the country’s historical neutrality and join NATO alongside Finland. The country’s psychological defense agency, however, said it saw “increased activity” from outside Sweden, including disinformation campaigns, after the decision to join the alliance.

The impact 
Polls suggest this round of elections will be tight as Sweden’s right-wing populists are expected to surpass the Moderates to become the second largest party with a highly charged campaign focused on immigration. Known as the Sweden Democrats, the party gained popularity in levels not seen since Europe’s 2015 migration crisis amid a surge in crime, shootings and other gang-related activities. Although Andersson gained footing with her administration’s foreign policy, experts said national security issues are at the front of Swedish voters’ priorities. National politics could hinder Andersson’s attempts at forming a coalition government with other left and centrists parties if a right-wing coalition, led either by the Moderates or Sweden Democrats, gain significant votes.

Sept. 12 – Israel settlement hearing  

Israeli authorities will hold a hearing Monday on arguments around the proposed building of thousands of homes in the occupied West Bank area known as E1, a plan that would split the territory in two and make a contiguous Palestinian state on it nearly impossible.

What’s happened so far 
In the absence of peace talks with Palestinians, Israel’s military is moving forward with an expansion of the country’s civilian-populated territory proposed as far back as the 1990s but delayed due to international pressure. The most recent postponement came prior to U.S. President Joe Biden’s visit in July due to U.S. opposition to Israeli settlement building, though officials have since approved settlements in other parts surrounding East Jerusalem.

The impact 
The proposed settlement land lies between Palestinian-majority East Jerusalem and and Israeli settlement to its east, which would have the effect of almost separating East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank. The plan would place more than 3,400 Israeli homes in the heart of land recognized by the international community as illegally occupied. In light of the escalation of violence over the past year, the decision to move forward on the project further sets back efforts for a long-term resolution to the seven-decade-old conflict.

Sept. 13 – UK’s National Grid emergency exercise  

Starting Tuesday, the United Kingdom’s National Grid will hold two days of annual emergency planning exercises amid concerns over winter energy shortages.

What’s happened so far 
The soaring cost of energy due to inflation and Russia’s decision to stop supplying gas to Europe are raising concerns about the possibility of gas shortages this winter in the U.K. The objective of the drills is to demonstrate that the gas industry is prepared in the event of a Network Gas Supply Emergency. National Grid, the British gas and electricity operator, carries out drills annually to ensure the network is ready to act in different emergency case scenarios. 

The impact 
This year, the National Grid announced that it will double the length of the drill, from two to four days, over September and October. Exercises include rationing electricity, so some gas distributors and customers could see an energy reduction during these days. Industry insiders link the length to the severity of the situation, but the government said the drills are “normal preparations” that occur every year. 

Sept. 13 – Twitter whistleblower to meet with Senate panel  

On Tuesday, Former Twitter security head Peiter Zatko will testify before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to discuss the company’s security malpractices. 

What’s happened so far 
Zatko, a renowned hacker and cyber security expert, who for two years was Twitter’s security chief, presented an 84-page whistleblower complaint to the Senate in late August. The complaint lists a plethora of malpractices in the cyber security sphere, alludes to instances of misleading, false and negligent behavior that prioritized user growth over security and fighting spam — whether by domestic or foreign agents — and describes various moments where Twitter executives knowingly broken regulations. Zatko is expected to describe to federal regulators the contents of his complaint. 

The impact 
Zatko’s complaint, being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission as well as the FTC, is damning about Twitter’s priorities and the security of millions of users including heads of state and government agencies. The “extreme, egregious deficiencies” in the complaint point to specific information on the quality of security and the transparency of the company over breaches on user data. With U.S. lawmakers already reticent and suspicious of Big Tech, the blowback could be a turning point leading to more regulation and fines for the social media giant, and could also hamper the ongoing lawsuit with Elon Musk.

Sept. 13 – Kenyan president sworn in 

Kenya’s President-elect William Ruto will be sworn into office on Tuesday following a ruling by the country’s Supreme Court that upheld August’s election result.

What’s happened so far 
Following a closely-run election, Deputy President William Ruto narrowly bested challenger Raila Odinga who then disputed the result and challenged it in the country’s Supreme Court. The court said it found little to no evidence of fraud in its ruling and called for reform of the electoral commission, which oversaw the otherwise peaceful vote.

The impact 
Raila Odinga tweeted that while he disagreed with the ruling, he would respect it, ending a process to overturn the result and easing fears of election-related violence. Ruto said his government would reach out to Odinga and outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta, who also backed his rival, and would take care of their retirements.

Sept. 14 – China’s Xi to visit Kazakhstan

Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to visit Kazakhstan on Wednesday in his first foreign trip since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. 

What’s happened so far 
Xi will meet his counterpart Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, with whom he is expected to sign bilateral treaties, according to the Kazakh foreign office. The nature of the agreements has not been disclosed so far, but both countries keep close relations over trade of materials, energy and international export and import routes. The Chinese government has yet to confirm the announcement. 

The impact 
Xi’s visit to Kazakhstan could open an Asia tour by the president before China’s Communist Party Congress on Oct. 16, during which he’s expected to secure a third term in office. The Chinese president is expected to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization leaders’ summit in Uzbekistan between Sept. 15 and 16, on the sidelines of which he will likely hold meetings with close ally Russian President Vladimir Putin. Xi is also expected to attend the G20 summit in Bali in November. 

What Else Matters

A photograph of a crowded street at night. There are hundreds of demonstrators on a wide street or plaza. A few dozen are flying the flag of Chile.
Demonstrators celebrate the rejection of a new constitution in Chile on Sept. 4 in Santiago. (Photo: Janitoalevic / Wikimedia Commons)

Angola presidential elections 

Angola’s People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) party was declared the winner of the country’s presidential election last week, securing President Joao Lourenco a second term as head of Africa’s second biggest oil producer. The elections were marred by accusations of irregularities from the main opposition party National Union for the Total Liberation of Angola (UNITA), a coalition of several opposition figures who tried to end MPLA’s five-decade reign. UNITA has also since declared itself the winners of the elections.

Watch for: The UNITA party contested the election results by filing an injunction before the Constitutional Court, which accepted it in a first instance before rejecting it one day later. The party has since said it could resort to international bodies to contest the results, as they cite discrepancies between the electoral commission’s count and its own tally. With analysts predicting a new wave of protests and possible violence among the youth who voted for UNITA’s Adalberto Costa Junior, the army has been placed in “a state of high combat readiness” to avoid incidents and “provide for the maintenance of defense and security” after the elections, mainly in the Luanda province.

Mapuche conflict and Chile’s rejection of proposed constitution 

Watch for: A long and intense constituent process will now restart to propose a new constitution, but the constitution’s rejection will lead to more protests across Santiago and more violent, larger-scale incendiary attacks in the coming weeks and months. The Southern Macrozone area, including Araucanía, Biobío, Los Ríos and Los Lagos, remain under a militarized state of emergency and will most likely continue that way with Chile’s Interior Minister Izkia Siches’s hard-line approach to any indigenous militancy. These attacks should be carefully watched as they will undoubtedly lead to material damage, economic losses, injuries and possibly the loss of life. 

Extended Outlook

What’s on our radar in the coming weeks…

Sept. 8-16 

Sept. 8

  • NFL season starts
  • Toronto International Film Festival begins

Sept. 9

  • EU holds emergency energy talks in Brussels

Sept. 10

  • Conservative Party of Canada leadership election

Sept. 11

  • Sweden general election
  • Israel’s Lapid visits Germany

Sept. 12

  • Israel to advance E1 settlement in Area C of the West Bank
  • President Biden to visit Boston to tout infrastructure law
  • U.S. secretary of state visits Mexico
  • Human Rights Council holds meeting
  • Primetime Emmy Awards

Sept. 13

  • UN General Assembly
  • Primaries in Delaware, New Hampshire and Rhode Island
  • UK’s National Grid emergency exercise
  • Pope Francis visits Kazakhstan

Sept. 14

  • Pope Francis attends Congress of Religions in Kazakhstan

Sept. 15

  • Party lists due in Israel’s Knesset
  • Biden gun violence summit
  • Russian President Putin and Turkish President Erdogan hold talks

Sept. 16

  • NATO meeting in Estonia

Sept. 17-23

Sept. 17

  • Munich Oktoberfest begins
  • Detroit auto show begins
  • EuroPride in Belgrade
  • Indian PM Modi to launch cheetah reintroduction project at Kuno National Park

Sept. 18

  • President Biden attends UNGA
  • Overnight fast train service between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv to start

Sept. 19

  • British port workers plan two-week strike
  • NASA plans launch period for Artemis launch

Sept. 20

  • Chad peace talks
  • Massachusetts primaries
  • U.S. Fed policy meeting

Sept. 21

  • Intergovernmental commission between Russia and the Republic of the Congo meets 
  • Ottawa People’s Commission on the Convoy Occupation launches public hearings

Sept. 23

  • Ontario school workers strike

Sept. 24-30

Sept. 24

  • UK Labour party conference
  • Arizona abortion law enters effect

Sept. 25

  • BMW Berlin Marathon
  • Sao Tomean National Assembly Election
  • Cuba family code referendum
  • Italy elections

Sept. 26

  • IAEA 66th General Conference

Sept. 27

  • Japan’s former Prime Minister Abe’s state funeral

Sept. 29

  • Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health at the White House

Oct. 1-7 

Oct. 1

  • Latvia elections
  • Kurdistan parliamentary elections

Oct. 2

  • Brazil presidential election
  • Bulgaria elections
  • London Marathon

Oct. 4

  • UK’s National Grid emergency exercise

Oct. 6

  • EU-Israel Association Council will resume negotiations after a decade
  • Nobel Prize for Literature announced
  • EU heads of state summit in Prague

Oct. 7

  • Lesotho general elections

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