A look ahead at the key events leading the news agenda next week, from the team at Foresight News. Delivered to your inbox on Fridays.
Leading the week
With just over two weeks to go until midterms, debates continue this week as candidates vie to get the final word in on the public stage. In Florida, incumbent Governor Ron DeSantis and challenger Charlie Crist go head-to-head on Monday (October 24) for their only debate. DeSantis is increasingly favored to win a second term, and is likely to go heavy on the culture war politics around education, while Crist might choose to focus on DeSantis’ political stunts after footage emerged of confusing voter fraud arrests back in August. In Pennsylvania, Senate hopefuls John Fetterman and Dr Mehmet Oz face off on Tuesday (October 25) as Oz tries to shake off allegations he promoted a pyramid scheme and Fetterman looks to prove he’s up to the job after recovering from a stroke.
Meanwhile, former President Barack Obama makes a late appearance to campaign for Democrats in swing states. He heads to Georgia on Friday (October 28) to stump for Stacey Abrams and Raphael Warnock, as Abrams tries to oust incumbent Governor Brian Kemp and Warnock looks to defend his Senate seat from Herschel Walker. Obama then travels to Wisconsin and Michigan on Saturday (October 29).
Opening arguments are expected to begin on Monday (October 24) in the case of Harvey Weinstein, who was extradited from New York to Los Angeles to face 10 sexual assault charges. It recently emerged that one of the testifying witnesses will be Jennifer Siebel Newsom, California Governor Gavin Newsom’s wife, while actor Mel Gibson was also cleared to testify in support of Jane Doe 3. Weinstein is accused of sexually assaulting five women between 2004 and 2013; the trial is expected to last eight weeks. While the jury is still out in Los Angeles, the former Hollywood producer is already serving a 23-year sentence in New York on similar charges.
It’s a busy week overseas – first up, Britain will have a third Prime Minister this year following the implosion of the Liz Truss premiership yesterday. In a brief resignation statement, Truss accepted that she was no longer able to deliver the mandate upon which she was elected, bringing an end to a chaotic few weeks in which the UK’s political credibility took a significant hit around the world. Nominations close at 2pm local on Monday (October 24) and the next leader could be named after MPs are balloted the same day. Likely contenders include former Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, who Truss defeated in the final round of the last leadership contest just last month, and Truss’s predecessor Boris Johnson, who is a favorite with grassroots party members. The former prime minister, who resigned reluctantly in the summer and was reportedly on holiday in the Caribbean as the drama unfolded, still enjoys the support of a significant chunk of the Parliamentary party and would relish a second crack of the whip. If there are still two candidates standing after Monday’s votes, the choice will go to the party members, with the winner announced on Friday (October 28).
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz hosts an international conference in Berlin on Tuesday (October 25) to discuss reconstruction in Ukraine, featuring keynote speeches from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. While Scholz told the Bundestag yesterday that Ukraine’s financial needs are covered through to the end of the year, he also warned much more would be needed, and the conference may provide a vision for the more systemic support Berlin has already advocated for. Russian President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, is scheduled to address the Valdai Discussion Club’s annual meeting in Moscow on Thursday (October 27). Putin’s past Valdai speeches have usually been noteworthy, and even in peacetime he’s used them to take a tough line on Russian foreign policy. Last year he railed against ‘cancel culture’ and ‘monstrous’ transgender rights in the West, but next week’s address is more likely to mirror his infamous 2014 outing, when he spent 40 minutes lambasting the United States for imposing a ‘unilateral diktat’ on the rest of the world.
Brazilians go back to the polls on Sunday (October 30) for a run-off vote to choose between incumbent far-right President Jair Bolsonaro and leftist former leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Lula had more support than Bolsonaro in the first round, but the margin was closer than most pundits had predicted, and Bolsonaro has narrowed the lead even further in the interim weeks to just a four-percentage point gap. A final televised debate takes place on Friday (October 28), where we can expect yet more focus on Bolsonaro’s dire pandemic record and corruption scandals under Lula’s previous government.