Almost half the world to vote in 2024: Here’s who’s headed to the polls

World News

An estimated 4 billion people in more than 70 countries will head to the polls this year, with pivotal elections taking place all around the globe.

It’s the biggest election year in history, with 76 countries heading to the polls this year – including seven of the 10 most populous nations: Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Russia, Mexico and the United States. Here are some on the agenda – and what’s at stake.


In January

Bangladesh went to the polls on January 7, with Sheikh Hasina winning her fifth term as Bangladeshi prime minister. Taiwan, a closely-watched nation, held its election on January 15, with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) winning its re-election, with William Tsai incoming president. The DPP firmly opposes the ‘One China’ policy, including Beijing’s proposed ‘one country, two systems’ model for reunification.


In February

Indonesia, Pakistan and Belarus will head to the polls, among other nations. Indonesian citizens will be choosing a successor to President Joko Widodo, and early polls show the race is on between right-wing nationalist Prabowo Subianto and the governing party’s candidate, Ganjar Pranowo. Belarus will hold its first parliamentary election since the Government crushed protests against his 2020 re-election.


In March

Russia and Ukraine also head to the polls. Russia, which is one of the least democratic countries in the world, will likely not see any regime change.

Ukraine is currently under martial law, which prohibits elections, but president Volodymyr Zelensky has reportedly considered holding an election in any case, to show the country is committed to being a democracy. Parliament would need to change the law to follow through with a vote – and Ukraine would need foreign aid to foot the bill.


In April

India – which has a population of about 1.5 billion, 600 million of which are expected to vote – will hold its general elections from April this year. The country’s current prime minister, Nadendra Modi, and his party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), are campaigning for re-election for their third five-year term. In December 2023, BJP took out three major state elections, and Modi said that the “hat-trick has guaranteed the 2024 victory”.


In June

The majority of the EU will head to election, with the likes of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, Ireland and Iceland heading to the polls. And many reports say the EU is facing a surge in right-wing candidates.

In Germany, the country’s far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party is polling above 20% – and climbing. That’s despite reports of AfD politicians meeting with rightwing extremists and neo-Nazi activists to discuss mass deportations, according to The Guardian. The party is reportedly on track to win three major state elections.

In Greece, current prime minister, New Democracy’s Kyriakos Mitsotakis, is headed for re-election, after winning last year’s parliamentary election in a landslide.

Mexico will also vote in June, with ruling party candidate Claudia Sheinbaum leaps and bounds ahead of her main rival, Xochitl Galvez, according to early poll. If elected, Sheinbaum or Galvez would be Mexico’s first female president.


In October

Brazil is headed to the polling stations in October, though not for a general election, but for municipal elections in which the whole country participates.

Readers may recall the country’s 2022 election, which saw left-wing candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva take out the win against far-right opponent, Jair Bolsonaro. After the 2022 election, Bolsonaro was in fact banned from running for office for eight years, after being found guilty of abusing his power ahead of the polls.

But according to The Economist, Brazil’s municipal elections will put Lula’s party to the test – and see whether it can make gains at the expense of the Liberal party, which is backed by Bolsonaro.


In November

The United States will head to election in November 2024, with early polls showing the same two men who went head-to-head in 2020 will be back for another round: Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

Trump is dominating the Republican field, according to the New York Times, with most of his challengers having pulled out before any votes were cast. He also own the Iowa caucuses. Biden also continues to be the leading candidate in the Democrat party. Of the pivotal election, Biden said, “democracy is on the ballot”.

ESTERO, FL – OCTOBER 31: President Donald Trump greets Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis during a campaign rally.

Other countries headed to the polls in 2024

North Korea will head to election in 2024, but it’s unlikely to see a change to its authoritarian government, led by Kim Jong-un. South Korea will also head to the polls, with former prime minister, Lee Nak-yon, revealing plans to exit the progressive party and launch a new one, challenging the two current leading parties.

African countries like Ghana, Mozambique, Senegal and Rwanda will also elect new Presidents.

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