Macro Monday, surprise results for Pakistan elections, Kingswood and Wellingborough by-elections on Thursday, win for Stubb in the Finnish elections, and Trumps advice to NATO members.
There was surprise amongst Pakistan’s military leadership over the weekend, as election results showed Imran Khan has won the most seats. The surprise is really because Mr Khan was ousted in 20022, imprisoned in 2023, sentenced to another 14 years at the end of last month and, leading up to the election, candidates aligned with him were arrested and intimidated.
The win falls short of a majority, which means it will be a tall order to form a coalition from within prison. With this probably comes stalemate and the main opposition party of Nawaz Sharif has enough seats to attempt to cobble together a coalition of their own – something the powerful military would far rather see. In the meantime, though, there’s a high risk of political paralysis in a country of 240 million people.
Thursday will see voters head to the polls in two by-elections at Kingswood and Wellingborough in the latest litmus test for the Government, as the country continues to speculate on when the next General Election will take place. The Wellingborough by-election follows more than 10% of Conservative MP Peter Bone’s constituents signing a petition to recall him. The long-standing MP who has been an ardent campaigner for Brexit, was suspended for a month and a half for breaching the MP’s code of conduct following an investigation into accusations of sexual misconduct and bullying. Though the seat has served as a stronghold for the Conservatives since 2005, some commentators are suggesting that the party is struggling, not least because of Reform UK who have canvassed heavily in the constituency. Gen Kitchen – who is looking to take the seat for Labour for the first time since the party won by a narrow 187 votes in 1997 – will need a around an 18-point swing to win and overturn the 18,500 conservative majority.
Meanwhile in Kingswood, the electorate is heading to the ballot box following the constituency’s MP Chris Skidmore resigning from the Conservative party over the government issuing more oil and gas extraction licences. Skidmore – who served as the Minister for Energy – secured a majority of 22.8% during the 2019 election, but just over an 11 point swing could see Labour’s Damien Egan win the seat.
Sticking with elections, last night saw Alexander Stubb win the Finnish Presidential Election having secured 51.6% of the vote with 99.7% of the votes counted. Stubb takes over from his fellow party member Sauli Niinisto who has served twelve years in office for the National Coalition Party. The centre-right Stubb – who served as Prime Minister of Finland from 2014 to 2015 – is broadly considered pro-European and has taken a strong stance against Russia following their full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
The new Head of State will assume the office of the presidency at a time when Finland has just joined NATO. Here, Finland became the 31st member of the alliance as it looks to send a strong signal to its neighbouring Russia along its 1,300km border. Stubb has generally advocated greater integration with NATO and welcomed housing some of the alliance’s troops in the country.
More on NATO
Continuing with NATO, Donald Trump has put the cat amongst the pigeons by saying that he would “encourage them to do whatever they want” to Nato members who hadn’t met their budgetary commitments. 19 out of 30 Nato members didn’t meet their 2023 spending goals, including Germany, Norway, and France. Jens Stolenberg has said that Nato stands “ready and able” to defend its members but that suggestion that “allies will not defend each other undermines all of our security”.
As well as stoking outrage in Europe, the comments have been jumped on by Biden who has said “Donald Trump’s admission that he intends to give Putin a green light for more war and violence, to continue his brutal assault against a free Ukraine, and to expand his aggression to the people of Poland and the Baltic states is appalling and dangerous”.
If you would like a PDF of this commentary, please contact us and we'll be in touch.Contact us
Find out how we have helped our clients meet their hedging requirements.
Thought for Thursday, House of Commons ceasefire vote decision, minutes released from Federal Reserve monetary policy meeting, geo-political update in Russia and Gaza, and looking at today's data.
Word of the week Wednesday, data indicates public sector net borrowing in surplus, this afternoons House of Commons vote for a ceasefire in Gaza, and release of FOMC policy me.eting minutes
Travel Tuesday, changes for China's property market, attacks on Red Sea Vessels cause further shipping disruption, EU defensive naval operation launched, and US propose a UN Security Council Resolution in the Middle East.
Macro Monday, update on Israel-Gaza conflict, town in Ukraine in full control of Russian forces, and pressure for creation of more public-private partnerships in the UK from insurers.
Friday Feeling, Labour take comfort in by-election results, potential for income tax cut plans to be dropped, president of European Commission speaks on European Union defence production.
Thought for Thursday, data released this morning shows UK in technical recession, Sunak's pledge for economic growth takes a blow, increasing number of MPs not looking for re-election for the Conservative party, and Labour party lead drops seven percentage points.
Word of the week Wednesday, hotter than expected US inflation, inflation data in the UK comes in double than BoE's target, US Senate agrees foreign aid package, and today's data.
Travel Tuesday, plight of US commercial real estate owners according to Bloomberg, data shows increase in UK wage growth, easing UK unemployment, and talks to revive negotiations in the Middle East.