How the global election year might shape world politics

South Africa, a member of the BRICS, will hold elections in 2024.

4 mins read
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers his 2023 State of the Nation Address in Cape Town, South Africa, Feb. 9, 2023. (Photo by Xabiso Mkhabela/Xinhua)

The year 2024 might be the biggest election year in human history, with more than 50 countries and regions globally holding elections, including major countries like the United States and Russia.

The elections, which will involve nearly half of the world population, bear significance for the domestic politics of these countries and regions, and might also shape the global political landscape.

U.S.: TRUMP FACES CHALLENGES

The U.S. presidential election is scheduled for November. Currently, U.S. President Joe Biden is running for re-election, while former President Donald Trump is leading significantly in polls over other Republican presidential candidates.

However, due to his alleged involvement in the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021, Trump’s eligibility for election is being challenged in several states, including Colorado.

On Dec. 19, 2023, the Supreme Court of Colorado ruled that Trump be removed from the state’s 2024 Republican presidential primary ballot. A few days later, the state of Maine announced a similar decision.

Last week, Trump appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has agreed to take up whether the former president should be disqualified from appearing on Colorado’s primary ballot. The decision of the Supreme Court will have a significant impact on this year’s presidential election.

Trump has also been plagued by multiple criminal charges related to the Capitol riot and several other cases, which, TIME magazine has said in a recent article, “will shape 2024 campaigns and test the justice and political systems unlike anything the country has ever seen.”

Greg Cusack, a former member of the Iowa House of Representatives, told Xinhua that the Capitol riot will continue to fuel U.S. political turmoil three years later, and he is concerned about more violence in this country.

“It has already begun,” Cusack said, noting that some statehouses were falsely alerted to bomb or other threats recently.

RUSSIA: PUTIN WIDELY BELIEVED TO WIN

Russia will hold its presidential election on March 15-17. Nikolai Bulayev, deputy chairman of Russia’s Central Election Commission (CEC), told the media earlier that there are 11 names on the list of possible presidential candidates.

While attending a celebration of the Heroes of the Fatherland Day at the Kremlin on Dec. 8, 2023, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his plan to run for re-election in 2024.

Later, Putin submitted the registration documents to the CEC to run for president, and his campaign website was launched. In Russia, there is a widespread belief that Putin is likely to win.

The level of public trust in Putin among Russians has reached 80 percent, a public opinion poll conducted in December 2023 by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center showed.

EUROPE: RISING FAR-RIGHT FORCES

The 2024 European Parliament election is scheduled to be held on June 6-9. It will be the first European Parliament election after Brexit, and is considered a barometer of European politics.

The European Parliament election is held every five years. More than 400 million voters from the 27 member countries of the European Union (EU) will cast their votes to elect about 700 Members of the European Parliament.

The European Parliament serves as the legislative, supervisory, budgetary, and consultative body of the EU. The nomination of the new president of the European Commission, who wields significant influence over the EU’s internal and external decision-making, must be approved by the parliament.

As last year witnessed a rise of far-right forces in European politics, experts have expressed concerns that the emergence of far-right parties in multiple countries may impact this year’s European Parliament election.

The election in Britain is also noteworthy. Although the opposition Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats urge for a general election in May, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has recently said that his assumption is to hold the election in the second half of the year.

There are various issues to address, including managing the economy, reducing taxes, and tackling illegal immigration, said the prime minister.

His Conservative Party is trailing the Labour Party by an average of 18 points in the polls, said a report by the Financial Times. It is being assumed that the prime minister would wait until the autumn to allow more time for the economy to improve.

MEXICO: FIRST POSSIBLE FEMALE PRESIDENT

Mexico will hold general elections on June 2, and the new president will take office in October. Two female candidates are leading in several polls, with Claudia Sheinbaum, the candidate of the ruling Morena party, having a support rate of over 48 percent and Xochitl Galvez, the candidate of the opposition coalition, having a support rate of about 30 percent.

Sheinbaum, 61, was a climate scientist and is considered by the media as a protege of the current president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. In 2018, she became the mayor of Mexico City, committed to building environmentally friendly infrastructure and fighting crime.

Galvez, 60, comes from a humble background and became an entrepreneur. After entering politics, she served in various positions such as mayor of a borough of Mexico City and federal senator. She has opposed the current government’s policies in traditional energy and other areas.

Over the past six years, the approval rating of the current president, Lopez Obrador, has remained at 60 percent or higher. Analysts argue that with general elections approaching, Lopez Obrador’s stance and policies will influence the election’s outcome. The country is likely to have its first female president.

INDONESIA: SOCIAL MEDIA PLAY A ROLE

With Indonesia’s presidential election a month away, the competition among the three pairs of presidential candidates has intensified.

The most prominent pair of candidates are Prabowo Subianto, the current defense minister and chairman of the Gerindra Party, and Gibran Rakabuming Raka, the eldest son of Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

In the 2014 and 2019 elections, Subianto lost to Widodo. This year, the pairing of the 72-year-old defense minister and the 36-year-old Gibran aims to attract Widodo’s staunch supporters and the younger generation.

Another pair of candidates are Ganjar Pranowo, former governor of Central Java, and Muhammad Mahfud, the coordinating minister for political, legal, and security affairs of Indonesia. The third pair consists of Anies Baswedan, former governor of Jakarta, and Muhaimin Iskandar, chairman of the National Awakening Party.

Social media platforms such as TikTok have become a battlefield for the candidates to attract young voters. Pranowo’s official TikTok account has 7.3 million followers, and the short videos posted have garnered millions of views.

SOUTH AFRICA: RULING PARTY UNDER PRESSURE

South Africa, a member of the BRICS, will hold elections in 2024. The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of South Africa has announced that the presidential and local elections will take place between May and mid-August.

Specific details regarding the election procedures, timing, and the candidates for the 2024 elections in South Africa have not been disclosed.

The IEC officially launched the process of presidential and provincial elections on Oct. 24, 2023. Voter registration is still ongoing, with the final round scheduled for February.

Observers are interested in whether the African National Congress (ANC), the ruling party in South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994, can secure victory in the upcoming elections. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa acknowledged that the 2024 elections will be unprecedentedly intense, and the ANC will face significant pressure and challenges.

Xinhua News Agency

Founded in 1931, Xinhua News Agency is one of the largest news organizations in the world, with over 10,000 employees across the globe. As the main source of news and information for China, Xinhua plays a key role in shaping the country's media landscape and communicating its perspectives to the world. The agency produces a wide range of content, including text news articles, photos, videos, and social media posts, in both Chinese and English, and its reports are widely used by media organizations around the world. Xinhua also operates several international bureaus, including in key capitals like Washington, D.C., Moscow, and London, to provide in-depth coverage of global events.

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