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
Following Kevin McCarthy’s dramatic ousting on Tuesday, the race to succeed him is set to dominate politics next week with legislative business – including on funding the federal government beyond November 17 – now suspended until a new Speaker is elected. While potential, albeit longshot, successors include Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, or even former President Donald Trump, House Republicans are more likely to try to seek consensus around one of their own, with Reps. Steve Scalise, Tom Emmer, Kevin Hern, Elise Stefanik and Jim Jordan among names floated as potential candidates (Scalise and Jordan have already confirmed their respective bids, and Jordan appears to have the backing of Trump). Interim Speaker Patrick McHenry has announced a candidates’ forum on Tuesday (October 10) before members of the conference vote on Wednesday (October 11). Democrats, meanwhile, are preparing for a vote on the floor of the House as soon as Wednesday.
After NASA successfully recovered a capsule containing samples from the Bennu asteroid last month, the space agency is holding a highly-anticipated press conference on Wednesday (October 11) to announce the results of an initial analysis of the sample dropped off by the OSIRIS-REx mission. The rocks from Bennu are thought to date back some 4.5 billion years, and may contain clues regarding the origins of life on Earth. They may also help preparations for a potential mission to avert the possibility of Bennu colliding with Earth in 2128. Then, on Thursday (October 12), NASA is set to launch a mission to yet another asteroid, Psyche, from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. If all goes to plan, the craft is due to arrive at the asteroid in the summer of 2029. Psyche is believed consist of significant amounts of metal from the core of a planetesimal, one of the building blocks of our solar system.
Though early voting has already begun, Saturday (October 14) is the main day of voting in Australia’s contentious referendum on whether to change the country’s constitution to create a permanent advisory body called the Voice to Parliament to advise on matters impacting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. While the proposals have the backing of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s government and appeared popular at the start of the campaign, more recent polling suggests voters could ultimately end up rejecting it, particularly since majority support is required in at least four of Australia’s six states in addition to an overall majority.
The referendum coincides with a general election in neighboring New Zealand on Saturday, where Labour Party leader Chris Hipkins faces an uphill battle against the conservative National Party, led by Christopher Luxon. Hipkins took over as party leader in January after Jacinda Ardern announced she was stepping down amid a fall in popularity linked to her handling of the pandemic and economic issues.
In Europe, all eyes will be on Poland next week, where parliamentary elections take place on Sunday (October 15). Former European Council president Donald Tusk and his Civic Coalition are hoping to break the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party’s grip on power and restore a more positive relationship with the European Union. Relations have soured with Brussels over the eight years since the PiS gained power amid a series of alleged rule of law breaches under the populist government and, more recently, a dispute over Ukrainian grain exports.
Polling suggests a relatively close outcome, meaning that any future government will involve alliances, either formal or informal, with smaller parties. One of those, the anti-establishment and far-right Confederation party, is being closely watched as a potential kingmaker, though the party insists it’s not interested in a coalition with either the Civic Coalition or the PiS.