Americas

Americas Elections Weekly News Review: January 6, 2024 - 21votes

January 6, 2024

A weekly review of news and analysis of elections in the Americas, usually posted on Saturdays and occasionally updated throughout the week.

Nayib Bukele, president of El Salvador, speaks at his inauguration in 2019. Although El Salvador’s constitution prohibits a president from running for immediate re-election, a court ruled that Bukele could run for another term this year. Some have criticized the decision and called Bukele an authoritarian. Photo credit: Wiklmedia/Office of U.S. Commerce Secretary (public domain)

Upcoming Americas Elections

El Salvador Presidential and Legislative Elections: February 4, 2024 and Local Elections: March 3, 2024

J.D. Capelouto, Semafor (January 4, 2024): Drastic drop in murders caused the popularity of El Salvador’s president to soar

Marcos Aleman, AP (January 4, 2024): El Salvador’s Nayib Bukele takes his presidential reelection campaign beyond the country’s borders

Allison Meakem, Foreign Policy (January 2, 2024): Can Anything Stop El Salvador’s Bitcoin-Loving, Backsliding Leader?

Panama Presidential and Legislative Elections: May 5, 2024

Rich Brown, Americas Quarterly (January 4, 2024): Meet the Candidates: Panama: Panama’s 2024 elections, shaped by last year’s protests, will take place on May 5.

Dominican Republic Presidential and Legislative Elections: May 19, 2024

Emilie Sweigart, Americas Quarterly (January 4, 2024): Meet the Candidates: Dominican Republic

Mexico Presidential, Legislative, Gubernatorial, and Local Elections: June 2, 2024

Rich Brown and Emilie Sweigart, Americas Quarterly (January 4, 2024): Meet the Candidates: Mexico

Edgar Guillaumin, Wilson Center (January 3, 2024): 2024 Elections: The United States, Mexico, and USMCA

Uruguay Presidential and Legislative Elections: October 27, 2024

Tara Hein, Americas Quarterly (January 4, 2024): Meet the Candidates: Uruguay

Venezuela Presidential Election: Due in 2024 (no date set)

Javier Tovar, AFP (January 5, 2024): Venezuela Enters Uncertain Election Year

José Enrique Arrioja, Americas Quarterly (January 4, 2024): Meet the Candidates: Venezuela – Venezuela’s elections are in doubt as the country prepares to vote in 2024

Kristina Foltz, Newsweek (January 3, 2024): Why Normalizing Venezuela’s Maduro Is Dangerous

Florantonia Singer, El País (January 3, 2024): Maduro plays the game of confusion with his 2024 presidential run: Chavismo could be considering other candidates for the election due to the Venezuelan president’s low popularity

Allison Meakem, Foreign Policy (January 2, 2024): Venezuela’s Strongman Wonders Whether to Risk Free Elections for Sanctions Relief

AP (December 31, 2023): Venezuela says troops will stay deployed until British military vessel leaves waters off Guyana

Canada General Elections: October 2025 (due – earlier elections possible)

Rachel Aiello, CTV News (January 3, 2024): What Canadians surveyed think about the timing of the next federal election

Bolivia Presidential and Legislative Elections: October 2025 (due)

AFP (December 30, 2023): Bolivian court rules that former president Morales cannot seek re-election

Regional Analysis

Chase Harrison, AS/COA (January 4, 2024): 2024 Elections in Latin America: A Preview

James Bosworth, World Politics Review (January 2, 2024): Latin America’s Incumbents Will Have a Good 2024. Democracy Won’t

Natalie Alcoba, Al Jazeera (December 30, 2023): Year of the underdog: How ‘outsiders’ upended Latin America’s elections: From Argentina to Guatemala to Ecuador, voters rejected establishment candidates in this year’s presidential races.

Asia This Week: January 5, 2024

Asia/Pacific Elections Weekly News Review: January 5, 2024 - 21votes

January 5, 2024

A weekly review of key news and analysis of elections in Asia and the Indo-Pacific, usually posted on Fridays and occasionally updated throughout the week.

Bangladesh’s parliament building. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Micah Parker (CC BY 2.0)

Table Setter

In his New Year address, Chinese president Xi Jinping on the one hand admitted that China’s economy is in trouble, but on the other hand, said that reunification with Taiwan is “inevitable.”

In the shadow of the dragon, a number countries in the Asia/Pacific region are due to hold elections this year.

This month, we’re watching parliamentary elections in Bangladesh and general elections in Taiwan. Bangladesh has been criticized for sliding into authoritarianism, and with the main opposition Bangladesh National Party boycotting the January 7 vote, incumbent PM Sheikh Hasina and her Awami League are almost certain to stay in power. But Bangladesh has grown in geopolitical importance and therefore, the vote will be watched closely.

Taiwan’s January 13 vote is one of the most important of the year as China ramps up its military aggression. The presidential race is a three-way contest featuring current Vice President William Lai of the incumbent Democratic Progressive Party, challenged by New Taipei City Mayor Hou Yu-ih of the Kuomintang and former Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je of the Taiwan People’s Party. The DPP has taken a stronger stance for Taiwan’s independence (short of actually declaring formal independence).

Additionally, Bhutan, the site of heated geopololitical competition between India and China, will choose a new parliament on January 9.

Other crucial votes to watch this year include India and Indonesia (which set a record for the world’s biggest election day in 2019, with more than 200 million voters). In addition, South Korea has legislative elections, which will be an important barometer as tensions in the region heat up.

Upcoming Asia/Pacific Elections

Bangladesh Parliamentary Elections: January 7, 2024

Kelly Ng and Akbar Hossain, BBC (January 5, 2024): Bangladesh election: Lopsided polls leave disillusioned voters asking ‘what’s the point’

PTI (January 5, 2024): Opposition BNP calls for 48-hour general strike in Bangladesh demanding resignation of government

Faisal Mahmud, Nikkei Asia (January 4, 2024): Bangladesh ruling party accused of intimidation to spur election turnout: Observers call this Sunday’s polls ‘bizarre’ and ‘farcical’ as opposition boycotts

Reuters (January 3, 2024): Bangladesh deploys army to keep peace ahead of Sunday’s election

Lionel Lim, Fortune (January 3, 2024): The Nobel-winning banker behind the microfinance movement faces six months in jail, and supporters think it’s politically motivated

Geoffrey Macdonald, Ph.D., USIP (January 2, 2024): What Does Bangladesh’s Upcoming Election Mean for its Foreign Policy?

Anbarasan Ethirajan, BBC (January 2, 2024): Bangladesh elections: Why India matters across the border

Faisal Mahmud, Al Jazeera (January 2, 2024): Bangladesh cricket star Shakib Al Hasan’s election run divides hometown

Times of India (December 31, 2023): Bangladesh & Pakistan: Tale of two elections, and implications for India

Ashikur Rahman, Indian Express (December 30, 2023): Decoding Bangladesh election: Sheikh Hasina’s manifesto, economic challenges, and the crucial West factor

Bhutan Parliamentary Elections: January 9, 2024

AFP (January 5, 2024): India, China eye strategic areas bordering ‘last barrier’ Bhutan

Salman Akhtar, BNN (January 5, 2024): Bhutan’s Parliamentary Elections: A Geopolitical Chessboard for India and China

Taiwan Presidential and Legislative Elections: January 13, 2024

Reuters (January 4, 2024): Taiwan says will publish analysis of China’s alleged election interference post vote

Yew Lun Tian and James Pomfret, Reuters (January 3, 2024): ‘Hawkish’ China military squeeze on Taiwan likely after election

Lev Nachman and Wen-Ti Sung, Atlantic Council (January 3, 2024): Why Beijing’s latest pre-election attempt to coerce Taiwanese voters could backfire

Joyu Wang, Wall Street Journal (January 3, 2024): China’s Balloons Are Back. This Time They Are Over Taiwan.

William Yang, Voice of America (January 3, 2024): China Ramps Up Intimidation Campaign Ahead of Taiwan Election

James Baron, UnHerd (January 3, 2024): Is Ko Wen-je China’s man in Taiwan?

Victor Jack, Politico (December 31, 2023): China’s Xi says reunification with Taiwan ‘inevitable,’ ahead of crucial vote on island

Indonesia, Presidential, Legislative, and Local Elections: February 14, 2024

Randy Mulyanto, CNBC (January 3, 2024): Indonesians head to the polls in February. Here are key issues dominating the elections

Prashanth Parameswaran, GIS (January 3, 2024): Indonesia’s foreign policy after the 2024 presidential elections

South Korea Legislative Elections: April 10, 2024

Jack Kim, Reuters (January 3, 2024): South Korea opposition leader in ICU after knife attack amid calls for stronger security

Steven Borowiec, Nikkei Asia (January 2, 2024): South Korea politician stabbing adds to tension ahead of elections

India Parliamentary Elections: May 2024

Allison Meakem, Foreign Policy (January 2, 2024): Under Modi, India’s Democracy Is on Its Last Legs

Times of India (December 30, 2023): From elections in 9 states to opposition uniting as INDIA: Defining political moments of 2023

Maldives Parliamentary Elections: Spring 2024 (due)

Raajje (January 5, 2024): Date for parliamentary polls to be announced next week

Australia Federal Parliamentary Elections: Due By May 2025 (earlier elections possible)

Justine Landis-Hanley, Canberra Times (January 4, 2024): Don’t expect to head to the polls yet: PM looks towards 2025 election

Bryant Hevesi, Sky News (January 3, 2024): Anthony Albanese reiterates call for four-year federal election terms amid questions about potential 2024 poll

Past Asia/Pacific Elections

Hong Kong District Council Elections: December 10, 2023

Hong Kong Free Press (January 1, 2024): Explainer: Hong Kong’s national security crackdown – month 42

Lllewellyn Cheung, South China Morning Post (December 29, 2023 – video): The last days of Hong Kong’s opposition district councillors after election overhaul

Marshall Islands General Elections: November 20, 2023

Giff Johnson, Marianas Variety (January 2, 2024): It’s final: 40% of parliament seats change hands in Marshall Islands

Giff Johnson, Radio New Zealand (December 30, 2023): Marshall Islands election results declared as high-profile incumbents lose re-election

Regional News and Analysis

Rhea Mogul, CNN (December 30, 2023): More than a billion people will head to the polls across South Asia in 2024

David Hutt, DW (December 30, 2023): What’s in store for EU-Southeast Asia ties in 2024? Two significant elections scheduled for 2024 could swing relations between the European Union and Southeast Asia.

Joseph Rachman, Foreign Policy (December 29, 2023): Gaza Is a Burning Topic for Southeast Asia’s Domestic Politics

Eurasia

Eurasia Elections Weekly News Review: January 4, 2024 - 21votes

January 4, 2024

A weekly review of news and analysis of elections in Eurasia, usually posted on Thursdays and occasionally updated throughout the week.

The Kremlin in winter. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Vyacheslav Argenberg (CC BY 4.0)

Overview

Politics in the Eurasia region are taking place in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This week, we’re watching the fallout from Russia’s December 29 attack on civilians in Kyiv, which killed more than 40 people and injured 150. 

There are several major elections on deck in Eurasia this year:

Azerbaijan will hold a snap presidential election on February 7. President Ilham Aliyev hopes to surf a wave of popularity following Azerbaijan’s victory over arch-nemesis Armenia in the breakaway territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan is not a free country and Aliyev, who came to power in 2003, has crushed most dissent, so he is likely to prevail on February 7. Azerbaijan’s geopolitical importance mostly is related to its oil production.

Belarus holds parliamentary elections on February 25. Again, not a free country. Belarus has never held free or fair elections. Alexander Lukashenko has been president since 1994, although during the last presidential election, in 2020, the opposition gave him a run for his money, with a charismatic candidate (Svetlana Tikhanovskaya) and hundreds of thousands of protesters in the streets. But the regime has responded with a brutal crackdown, jailing or exiling even more political opponents, journalists, and civil society activists. As such, the parliamentary elections will be a sham.

Russia, yet another authoritarian regime, goes to the polls on March 17 in what President Vladimir Putin is setting up to be a coronation. Since the invasion of Ukraine, Putin ramped up his crackdown on dissent.

Ukraine is due to hold a presidential election this spring as President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s term ends in March 2024, but the country is under martial law due to Russia’s invasion. As a result, the election has been delayed indefinitely. Similarly, parliamentary elections that were due in October are currently on ice. Some have alleged that Zelenskyy has developed authoritarian tendencies and as such have criticized the decision to delay elections.

Georgia is due to hold parliamentary elections in October. Since the country transitioned to a parliamentary system, these elections will determine who runs the government. Recently, shadowy, Kremliny billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili has announced that he will return to official politics (he stepped down from prime minister in 2013 but is widely believed to have been calling the shots from behind the scenes since then). The pro-west opposition remains fragmented, and former president Mikheil Saakashvili is in prison. Georgia hopes to join the European Union, but whether or not that happens will depend on whether democracy improves.

Moldova is due for a presidential election in November. Incumbent Maia Sandu is eligible to run for another term. In 2020, she defeated pro-Moscow socialist incumbent Igor Dodon, but since then, Russia has ramped up its harassment of the country. Sandu îs center-right and pro-west.

And with that, here are the key news headlines:

Upcoming Eurasia Elections

Azerbaijan Snap Presidential Election: February 7, 2024

Azernews (December 31, 2023): CEC: Number of candidates for presidential elections in Azerbaijan reaches 17

News.az (December 29, 2023): OSCE/ODIHR opens election observation mission for presidential election in Azerbaijan

RFE/RL (December 29, 2023): Preliminary Hearings Launched In Case Against Azerbaijani Activist Haciyev

Belarus Parliamentary: February 25, 2024

Maxim Adams, Voice of America (December 29, 2023 – video): Belarusian Authorities Targeting 2020 Election Observers

RFE/RL (December 27, 2023): Imprisoned Belarusian Opposition Politician Reportedly Placed In Harsher Conditions

Russia Presidential Election: March 17, 2024

Piotr Sauer, The Guardian (January 3, 2024): Vladimir Putin will use election to show war-weary Russia he’s still calling the shots

Allison Meakem, Foreign Policy (January 2, 2024): Putin’s Russia Is Barely Pretending Its Elections Are Real

NPR (January 1, 2024): As Russia-Ukraine war nears 2-year mark, Putin says no peace until goals are achieved

Reuters (December 31, 2023): Putin, in New Year Address, Makes Only Passing Reference to Ukraine

Semafor (December 29, 2023): Half of Russians hope the war will end in 2024, poll shows

Reuters (December 29, 2023): Russian court sentences Navalny ally in Siberia to 9.5 years in prison

Isabel van Brugen, Newsweek (December 28, 2023): Putin’s Approval Ratings as 2024 Election Year Begins

RFE/RL (December 27, 2023): Russian Supreme Court Confirms Anti-War Journalist Cannot Run For President

Georgia Parliamentary Elections: October 2024 (due)

John Horan, Eurasianet (December 31, 2023): Georgia’s billionaire boss re-enters politics … again

Felix Light, Reuters (December 30, 2023): Georgian billionaire ex-PM Ivanishvili returns to politics before election

Eurasia Elections Coming Up in 2024

Azerbaijan Snap Presidential Election: February 7, 2024

Belarus Parliamentary: February 25, 2024

Russia Presidential Election: March 17, 2024

Ukraine Presidential Election: Due in Spring 2024 (postponed indefinitely)

Georgia Parliamentary Elections: October 2024 (due)

Moldova Presidential Election: November 2024 (due)

Europe This Week: January 3, 2024

Europe Weekly Elections Review: January 3, 2024 - 21votes

January 3, 2024

Protesters in Belgrade, Serbia on December 23, 2023. Photo credit: Wikimedia/СРБИН.инфо (CC BY 3.0)

Upcoming Europe Elections

Belgium Parliamentary and Regional Elections: June 9, 2024

RFI (January 1, 2024): Belgium faces election juggling act as it takes over rotating EU presidency

Germany State Elections in Saxony and Thuringia: September 1, 2024 and Brandenburg: September 22, 2024 (federal elections due by October 2025)

Alexander Ratz and Thomas Escritt, Reuters (January 1, 2024): German liberals narrowly vote to stay in Scholz’s fractious coalition

Matthew Karnitschnig, Politico (December 28, 2023): Why Germany’s lifeless coalition won’t die: Fearing the wrath of voters, Chancellor Olaf Scholz will try to keep his government on life support in 2024.

North Macedonia Parliamentary Elections: April 24, 2024

Sinisa Jakov Marusic, Balkan Insight (December 29, 2023): North Macedonia: Calm Prevails Despite Ethnically-Charged Incidents

Iceland Presidential Election: June 1, 2024

Steindor Gretar Jonsson, Iceland Review (January 2, 2024): President Will Not Seek Re-election

United Kingdom General Elections: Due by January 2024 (earlier elections likely)

Brendan Hughes, BBC (January 2, 2024): NI politics 2024: Strikes, elections and a Stormont deal?

Benedict Smith, The Telegraph (December 31, 2023): Tory strategists target November for general election

Tim Wallace, The Telegraph (December 29, 2023): Sunak faces bleakest economic backdrop to election since 1992

Reuters (December 27, 2023): UK’s Hunt to deliver budget on March 6 as election looms

Past Europe Elections

Serbia Parliamentary Elections: December 17, 2023

RFE/RL (January 2, 2024): Vucic Rejects Calls To Annul Disputed Serbian Elections Amid Demonstrations

AFP (December 30, 2023): Thousands protest in Belgrade in biggest rally yet against alleged electoral fraud

Iva Martinovic, RFE/RL (December 29, 2023): As Postelection Protests Rock Serbia, Hunger Striker Becomes The Face Of The Opposition

Katarina Baletic, Balkan Insight (December 28, 2023): Serbian Lawyer: Court Unlikely to Annul Disputed Elections

Poland Parliamentary Elections: October 15, 2023

AP (December 27, 2023): Poland’s president defies new government in battle over control of state media

Semafor (December 27, 2023): Poland to liquidate state media agencies accused of propaganda

Regional Analysis

Allison Meakem, Foreign Policy (January 2, 2024): Europe’s Most Boring Parliament Gets Ready for a Continentwide Vote

James Crisp, The Telegraph (December 31, 2023): ‘Beginning of the end’ for EU as we know it after surge in hard-Right support

Middle East This Week: January 2, 2024

January 2, 2024

The Badshahi Mosque, one of the most iconic buildings in Lahore, Pakistan. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Bilalhassan88 (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Upcoming Middle East Elections

Pakistan Parliamentary Elections, plus some provincial elections: February 8, 2024

Munir Ahmed, AP (January 1, 2024): Pakistan human rights body says an upcoming election is unlikely to be free and fair

AFP (December 31, 2023): Pakistan’s jailed former PM Imran Khan barred from running in legislative elections

Reuters (December 28, 2023): Pakistan commission accepts ex-PM Sharif’s nomination for February poll

Umair Jamal, The Diplomat (December 27, 2023): Enthusiasm Marks Filing of Nominations for Elections in Pakistan: The number of people who have applied to contest the upcoming elections has increased by 33 percent over that in the 2018 election.

PTI (December 27, 2023): Pakistan prepares for crucial elections in 2024 as ties with India remain frozen

Iraq, Kurdistan Regional Parliamentary Elections: February 25, 2024 (further delay likely)

Rudaw (December 27, 2023): Kurdistan Region elections to be postponed: Electoral body official

Israel Local Elections: February 27, 2024 (delayed from October 2023 due to war)

Sam Sokol, Times of Israel (December 31, 2023): Municipal elections delayed again due to war, to be held February 27

Past Middle East Elections

Tunisia Local Elections: December 24, 2023

Basma El Atti, The New Arab (December 26, 2023): Tunisian opposition says Saied ‘lost legitimacy’ after meagre local election turnout

Iraq Regional Elections: December 18, 2023

AFP (December 28, 2023): Pro-Iran Parties Win Big in Iraq Provincial Vote