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Over 50 countries go to polls in 2024 – Times of India

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Over 50 countries that are home to half the planet’s population are due to hold national elections in 2024.
From Russia and the UK to India, El Salvador and South Africa, the presidential and legislative contests have huge implications for human rights, economies, international relations and prospects for peace in a volatile world. In some countries, the balloting will be neither free nor fair. And in many, curbs on opposition candidates, weary electorates and the potential for manipulation and disinformation have made the fate of democracy a front-and-centre campaign issue.
A possible rematch in the US between President Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump looms large in the election calendar; a Trump victory in November is perhaps the greatest global wildcard.
Taiwan’s elections for president and the 113-member legislature take place Saturday under intense pressure from China, which makes the outcome important to much of the Asia-Pacific region, as well as to the US. Beijing has renewed its threat to use military force to annex the self-governing island it regards as its own territory, and described the elections as a choice between war and peace.
Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina, the world’s longest-serving female leader, won a fourth successive term in an election that opposition boycotted and preceded by violence. Hasina’s Awami League party was reelected on a low turnout of 40%, and the stifling of dissent risks triggering political turmoil.
Another leader seeking to retain power is El Salvador President Nayib Bukele, who has won widespread support since using emergency powers for an aggressive crackdown on ultra-violent street gangs. A Supreme Court filled by his party’s appointees cleared Bukele to run on February 4 despite a constitutional ban on presidents serving two consecutive terms.
Mexico is poised to elect its first female president on June 2 – either former Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, a protege of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, or a former opposition senator, Xochitl Galvez. The winner will govern a country with daunting drug-related violence and an increasingly influential military.
Voters in Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest democracy, are choosing a successor to President Joko Widodo on February 14.
Pakistan’s February 8 parliamentary election is being contested under the eye of the country’s powerful military. Former PM Imran Khan is imprisoned, and election officials blocked him from running. His rival, three-time PM Nawaz Sharif was allowed on the ballot after his corruption convictions were overturned.
June elections for the parliament of the 27-nation EU will be a sign of whether traditional parties can see off populist rivals, many of which are sceptical of military support for Ukraine. In former EU member Britain, an election this year will pit the governing Conservatives against the center-left Labour Party, which is firmly ahead in opinion polls as it seeks to regain power after 14 years.
Eight West African countries have had military coups since 2020, including Niger and Gabon in 2023. Senegal is regarded as a bastion of stability in the region. Now that President Macky Sall is stepping down, his country’s Feb. 25 election is seen as an indicator of the country’s political resilience. In South Africa, a legislative election due between May and August has a struggling economy, crippling power blackouts and an unemployment rate of nearly 32% as the political backdrop. Overcoming voter disillusionment will be a challenge for the long-dominant ANC. South Sudan, the world’s youngest country, plans to hold its long-delayed first polls in December.
There’s little doubt about who will win Russia’s presidential election in March. President Vladimir Putin faces only token opposition in his bid for a fifth term. It’s a similar story in Belarus, led by President Alexander Lukashenko. On Feb. 25, the country is expected to hold its first parliamentary polls since Lukashenko’s government crushed protests against the Putin ally’s disputed 2020 reelection. Ap





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