In a context of democratic deterioration, half the world will vote in 2024

Some 70 countries that together make up more than half of the world’s population, including the United States, Russia, India, Mexico, Venezuela, Taiwan and those of the European Union, have an appointment with the polls in 2024, paradoxically in a context of threats to democracy.

The Stockholm-based organization Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) concluded in its latest report that democracy is in decline around the world due to threats to the integrity of electoral processes, the independence of the judiciary, to security or freedom of expression and assembly, even in countries with consolidated democratic systems.

Among the electoral events of 2024 are the elections to the European Parliament that will be held on June 6, 7, 8 and 9 in the 27 countries of the EU and that will determine the course of community policy.

Americans and Russians elect their respective presidents 

However, those that attract the most attention are the presidential elections in the United States, set for November 5 and whose results always have effects on the global geopolitical scenario. 

Predictably, since the primaries have yet to be held, the candidates will be the same as in 2020: Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Donald Trump, who represent antagonistic models of the country. 

Months before the Americans are called to vote, the Russians.

On March 17, the first federal elections will be held in Russia since the start of the war in Ukraine in February 2022, with the current head of the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin, 71, as a candidate for re-election for the fifth time since the year 2000 and with an almost certain victory.

The elections, in which no openly opposition candidate will participate, will be a kind of referendum on the progress of the Russian military campaign in Ukraine in which the Kremlin has not yet achieved the objectives it set for itself when it invaded the neighboring country. 

Ukraine is precisely one of the countries where, according to the electoral calendar, a new ruler would be elected in 2024, but it is not yet certain that elections will be called.

The mandate of the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, expires on March 31, but as long as martial law is in force due to the war with Russia, elections cannot be called, although the president has hinted at the possibility of legislating to allow it.

Elections in question 

In Venezuela there are also presidential elections in 2024, but there is still no date for a vote in which the united opposition, which in 2018 abstained from participating, decided to attend as a result of a long political negotiation with the Chavista Government aimed at obtaining guarantees of cleanliness and electoral justice.

The big question is whether former representative María Corina Machado, elected in the primaries but disqualified from holding elected public office, can finally be the opposition candidate as claimed by countries like the US, which has actively supported the Government-opposition negotiation.

The general elections called for February 4 in El Salvador are in question because the popular president Nayib Bukel will try to obtain a second consecutive term, something not provided for in the country’s Constitution, but endorsed by the Salvadoran Supreme Electoral Tribunal.

El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti, Venezuela and Guatemala appear in the International IDEA report on the state of democracy in the world in the group of countries where democratic decline has occurred.

More than 4 billion people called to the polls 

According to The Economist magazine, more than 4.1 billion people, which means 51% of the world’s population, reside in countries where 2024 is an election year, as is the case of Mexico.

The next president of Mexico will emerge from the June 2 elections, in which for the first time in history two women are the main candidates: the ruling party Claudia Sheinbaum, former head of Government of Mexico City, and Xóchitl Gálvez, former senator and leader of the opposition platform Fuerza y ​​Corazón por México.

In Latin America, general elections (presidential and parliamentary) are also scheduled in Panama (May 5), the Dominican Republic (May 19) and Uruguay (October 27). 

Asia and Europe

Taiwan will begin the year with a presidential election (January 13) held at a time of growing tension between Taipei and Beijing, which claims sovereignty over the island, and with the candidate of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and current vice president, William Lai (Lai Ching-te), leading the polls.

In the so-called “largest democracy in the world”, India, the most populous country (1,428 million inhabitants) and the third largest economy in the world, elections will also be held in 2024 (April and May) and the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, He has great chances of achieving a third consecutive term, according to polls.

Two European countries, Portugal and Belgium, will renew their Parliaments in 2024: the first on March 10 and in advance, as a result of the resignation of the prime minister, the socialist António Costa, due to a corruption investigation, and the second on the 9th. June and coinciding with the elections to the European Parliament.

By Nadeem Faisal Baiga