Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Sitrep - 10 Nov, 2015

Catalan secessionist parties took a step closer towards their goal of independence this week as its regional parliament approved a “solemn proclamation” of the beginning of the independence process. While it isn’t a formal declaration of independence, it puts Catalonia on a path to potential secession from the larger Spanish state.

Madrid and the Catalonian regional officials are so far progressing within the Spanish state’s existing legal parameters. However, the independence movement has a significant level of regional support. Madrid and Brussels will need to tread carefully to avoid an escalation of political conflict and spark civil unrest.

Another kind of civil unrest could be growing in Greece as the embattled country’s creditors threaten to renege on the delivery of its next bailout tranche. The ruling Syriza party was enjoying a cooling of tensions since the painful third quarter of this year, but hasn’t enacted sufficient reforms, according to the Eurogroup creditors.

One of those reforms is lagging mortgage repayments which could bring even more turmoil to Greece’s population as wider house evictions accumulate. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has purposefully avoided dealing with the required reforms for fear of stoking greater unrest. However, the deadline for Greece’s bank recapitalisation looms in 2016 and reforms will need to be made.

In Myanmar, the country appears to have elected democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi’s party the National League for Democracy (NLD) into power. While official results are yet to be released, the party could come close to gaining the required two-thirds majority to govern without a coalition.

The military junta will remain in control of 25% of the parliamentary seats, a key constitutional factor in its decision to allow the democratic election process. Taking its cue from Thailand, the military will remain the final the arbiter of Myanmar’s politics regardless of the election outcome. It is clear the Southeast Asian country is entering a period of splintered politics and ethnic tension as it opens to the world.

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