26 June 2019

Seven Elections to Watch Over the Remainder of 2019

While the world waits for 2020’s highly-anticipated presidential election in the United States, there are a number of interesting elections taking place over the remainder of 2019 that should be watched closely.  Already this year, more than 1.6 billion people have gone to the polls to take part in elections in India, the European Union, Indonesia, Nigeria, the Philippines, Thailand, South Africa, Spain, Ukraine and a host of other countries.  So far, in all but a handful of countries, the ruling party or incumbent president has emerged from these elections with their power enhanced, reflecting the strength of the incumbency in modern democracies. Now, as we near the second half of this year, here are seven elections that should be watched closely over the remainder of 2019. 

  • Greece: Greece will hold parliamentary elections in July, the first national elections since Greece’s economy emerged from its long economic nightmare.  While the Greek economy has averaged growth of almost 2% per year over the past two years, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his left-wing Syriza party are expected to fall to a heavy defeat at the hand of the center-right New Democracy party in these elections.
  • Israel: Having failed to form a government following this past April’s national elections, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was forced to call for another round of national elections to take place in September.  According to recent polls, the results for these upcoming elections are expected to mirror April’s results, with the right-wing Likud party and the centrist Blue and White alliance winning a similar share of the vote, making the formation of a new government of tricky affair.
  • Afghanistan: At the moment, Afghanistan’s already-delayed presidential election is scheduled to take place in September.  However, there are growing concerns that this election will not take place on that date, either because of logistical issues or because the United States wants it to be delayed in order to give peace talks with the Taliban a chance to succeed. Either way, the fact that this election has yet to take place highlights the current political disfunction in Afghanistan.
  • Canada: Parliamentary elections will also take place in Canada this year, no later than October.  For most of the past few years, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s center-left Liberal Party held a lead in the polls.  However, a major scandal, combined with a disappointing economy, have cost the Liberals some of their support and now, the right-wing Conservatives hold a sizeable lead in the polls.  Meanwhile, the Green Party has surged in recent polls and could play a major role.
  • Argentina: Presidential and parliamentary elections will take place in October in Argentina amid that country’s ongoing economic crisis.  Having led the country during this latest economic crisis, President Mauricio Macri has seen his approval rating plummet, and he is now the underdog in this election. Instead, the Peronist Alberto Fernandez (and his running mate, former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner) are now the favorites to win the presidential election.
  • Poland: Parliamentary elections must also take place in Poland this year, no later than November.  With a booming Polish economy, the governing right-wing Law and Justice party holds a large lead in the polls and is expected to easily win another term in office.  Meanwhile, the political left in Poland remains severely weakened, with no left-leaning political party expected to win more than 10% of the vote in these elections.
  • Algeria: Following the ousting of long-time President Abdulaziz Bouteflika in April, an election to choose a new president was scheduled to take place in July.  However, this election was postponed by the country’s Constitutional Court and it is uncertain whether or not this election will actually take place this year.  Furthermore, it remains to be seen who the country’s power-brokers will back in this election, and whether or not this election will reduce the level of public unrest.

So far, the incumbency has proven to be a powerful force in many of the elections that have taken place so far this year.  However, the political opposition is the favorite in many of the most important elections that will take place over the remainder of this year.  This will make for a number of interesting elections in the coming months, elections that will serve as a reminder that, while democracy appears to be struggling as a form of government in today’s world, it continues to thrive in many areas of the world.  Moreover, democracy and the elections that are a key component of this form of government continue to grab the public’s attention like no other form of choosing a country’s leaders.