Election Insights

2024: A BIG year for elections

About 50% of the world is participating in democratic elections this year. The United States, India, Russia, Ukraine, Pakistan, Taiwan, and many others, make 2024: A BIG year for elections.

February 16, 2024

Matt DeCourcey is a seasoned public policy leader and trusted advisor to decision makers at the local, national, and international level. He is the former Member of Parliament for Fredericton, and now serves as Head of Corporate Affairs for InterKnowlogy.

2024: A BIG year for elections

” If {Nikki} Haley gets freight-trained like anything close to that margin {23 points}, then the Republican nominating process is not only dead, it is really most sincerely dead.” – Charles P. Pierce, Politics with Charles P. Pierce, Esquire (Feb. 20, 2024)

CC BY-SA 2.0 Deed - Attribution: Gage Skidmore

As South Carolinians prepare for Saturday’s Republican Primary, which WYFF News 4 (Hearst Television) reporter Carlos Flores described as an event in which “election officials are predicting a high voter turnout”, the rest of us, too, could be excused for paying close attention to November’s US presidential election to the exclusion of all others.

No doubt, given the state of the Republican primary, as eloquently described by Esquire’s Charles P. Pierce on February 20th, the presumed Trump vs. Biden rematch is occupying much of the world’s focus. And rightly so.

South Carolina will likely prove the death knell for the last remaining true challenger, Haley.

At a time of heightened geo-political instability, rising populist anger, and growing regional conflicts that have consequential spillover effects on the rest of the world, US leadership matters. And these two presidents (Trump and Biden) have vastly different approaches to leadership.  

Many experts argue that the outcome of the US election holds massive sway for the future of global security, the international rules-based order, and, quite frankly, democracy.

The US results will form the basis for action around the world. That’s why we are all paying attention.

Public domain - Author: The White House

But it’s not the only contest of consequence this year.  

2024 is a big year for elections.

At least 64 countries, and the European Union, are set to hold national elections this year. That’s 49% of the global population.  

The other 51% will surely feel the reverberations.

Already, we’ve seen an election of existential importance in Taiwan. Amid growing tensions in the Taiwan Strait, current Vice President William Lai took 40% of the January 13th vote on his way to the presidency. Set to be sworn in on May 20th, Lei now has the job of maintaining Taiwan’s socio-economic autonomy and territorial integrity, as China increases its use of gray zone—nonmilitary—tactics against Taiwan, and as the possibility of actual hostilities rise.

Earlier this month, Pakistan’s elections delivered a surprise upset. Voters there handed victory to politicians allied with jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan. It was a stunning result that denied Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Nawaz Sharif a return to the prime ministerial post. With some uncertainty in how the next government will form, most experts argue that Pakistan’s economic and security problems are likely to persist.  

While most of us will stay focused on the contest in the US, the results in other countries are significant, even in as much as they shape the way the rest of the world responds to the US.

You don’t need to leave the continent for this to be true.  

Mexicans go to the polls in June for their presidential election. The next Mexican president will have a prominent role in shaping the future of the continent; whether people-to-people relationships and migration, trade, or security related. Remember, the current North American trade pact comes up for review soon.

CC BY 4.0 Deed. Attribution: Kremlin.ru

Elsewhere, the democratic exercise—some more democratic than others—holds equal import for global stability and security.

With the Russian invasion of Ukraine reaching the two-year mark, both countries are scheduled to hold presidential votes this year.  

All eyes will be on Vladimir Putin as he embarks on a sure-win reelection. Most experts are keen to see if the true vote breakdown is disclosed and what it says about the support he wields.

As Volodymyr Zelensky—who maintains high levels of popular support—and the Ukrainian people continue to fight for their existence, their ability to hold an election remains an open question.  

With war on its doorstep, the European Union holds elections in June. The results should serve as a barometer of the levels of continental unity and resolve in the face of Russian aggression. It may also prove critical should the US result lead to a chill in relations.

In India—the world’s largest democracy—the Lok Sabha (the House of the People) will hold elections. This, amidst claims by western governments of Indian-government-sponsored extrajudicial killings taking place on foreign soil.

And it is likely that Great Britain, too, will go to the polls to elect a new parliament this year.  

And that’s just a taste of what’s ahead in 2024.

Like many of you, I will be most intently watching as the process unfolds for my neighbors immediately south. But I’ll also have an eye on the opinions forming, and actions being taken elsewhere that are sure to have significant impacts on us all.

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