2024 is set to witness a surge in global elections, with a significant portion of the population actively participating in the democratic selection of leaders.
Over 30 nations are gearing up for presidential elections, highlighting diverse political transitions, while 20 countries are preparing for parliamentary elections, adding to the dynamic democratic landscape worldwide.
Observers are raising cautionary signals regarding the potential risks associated with disinformation and manipulation of electoral processes through artificial intelligence.
Highlighted below are five nations where the upcoming elections are generating significant anticipation:
1. Could Trump and Biden Face Off Again?
The upcoming November 5, 2024 presidential race will witness Americans selecting their next leader. In a potentially consequential competition, former President Donald Trump is vying for a return to the White House despite confronting 91 felony counts.
Surveys indicate that many voters believe Joe Biden, the Democratic incumbent, is too old for the role of commander-in-chief. However, he faces minimal opposition within his party for the Democratic nomination, maintaining a strong position in the political landscape.
Disinformation looks set to be a feature of the campaign, a hangover from the last foul-tempered contest that ended with Trump supporters storming the US Capitol to try to halt the certification of Biden’s victory.
Trump has emerged as the runaway front-runner among Republican candidates since the beginning of its nomination contest, recently scoring a landslide win in Iowa.
2. Will Putin Secure Another Six Years in Office?
Leveraging his asserted control in the Ukraine war, two years following Moscow’s invasion, Russian President Vladimir Putin aims to extend his 24-year rule by an additional six years through the March elections.
In pursuit of a fifth term, Putin seeks to maintain his presidency until 2030. A constitutional amendment in 2020 provides the theoretical possibility of him staying in power until 2036, potentially exceeding the extended rule of Joseph Stalin.
The conflict in Ukraine serves as a tool for quashing dissent and silencing opposition, presenting minimal hindrance to Putin’s ambitions. Notably, his long-standing adversary, opposition leader Alexei Navalny, is currently serving a 19-year prison sentence.
3. Third Term For Modi?
In April-May, almost one billion Indian citizens will participate in the polls as the world’s most populous nation heads to the elections. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his nationalist BJP party aim for a third term.
Modi’s political trajectory and achievements have relied on backing from India’s vast Hindu population, exceeding one billion. Critics argue that his success involves fueling discord towards the sizable Muslim minority in the country.
Despite a tightening grip on civil liberties during his tenure, he enters the electoral contest as the undisputed front-runner. His supporters attribute his success to elevating his nation’s global standing.
4. Mexico’s First Female President?
The upcoming June election in Mexico presents a historic opportunity for the country to elect its first woman president potentially. Two notable candidates, a leftist former mayor of the capital and a businesswoman with Indigenous roots, aim to break new ground in a nation with a tradition of machismo.
The contest is viewed as a two-horse race, with former Mexico City mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, running on behalf of outgoing President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s Morena party, and Xochitl Galvez, representing the opposition coalition, the Broad Front for Mexico, emerging as the primary contenders.
5. Battle Across the European Landscape
June will witness the world’s largest transnational election, with over 400 million eligible voters participating in the European Parliament election.
This electoral event serves as a crucial test for the right-wing populists, who are gaining momentum following Geert Wilders’s anti-Islam, anti-EU PVV Freedom Party’s triumph in the Dutch elections last November and Giorgia Meloni’s far-right Brothers of Italy securing victory last year.
However, Brussels can find encouragement in Poland, where former European Council president Donald Tusk has returned to power, championing a steadfastly pro-EU agenda.
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