The top 20 elections for 2019

I’m in Crikey last Friday with my list of the top ten elections to expect in 2019. You’ll have to subscribe (or take out a free trial) to see the full story, but this is the list, in expected chronological order:

  • Nigeria (16 February)
  • Israel (9 April)
  • Indonesia (17 April)
  • India (April-May)
  • Australia (May?)
  • European Union (23-26 May)
  • Canada (21 October)
  • Argentina (27 October)
  • Poland (October/November)
  • Uzbekistan (December)

Since Crikey only had room for ten, I had to cull my original watch list quite a bit. So here’s another ten, also chronologically, to round it out to a top 20.

Thailand (24 March). At least that’s the latest announcement of the date, although it’s still an election shrouded in doubt – including ample doubt about how democratic it will be. But if voters really do get a chance to pass judgement on the military government that’s held power since 2014, it could be very interesting.

Ukraine (31 March). Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko is yet to announce whether he will seek re-election, but either way the race looks like being hotly contested – despite being one of the world’s more unenviable jobs.

Finland (14 April). Another test for the European far right; last time around it won itself a share in government, only to split after two years. Opinion polls suggest a revival for the Social Democrats, which have spent the last term in opposition after recording their worst-ever result.

South Africa (May?). South Africa heads into its election with a new president – Cyril Ramaphosa having taken office last year – but the same old party, the African National Congress, in control. It is again unlikely to be seriously troubled, but further opposition gains may take the country a little closer to a normal political system.

Afghanistan (20 July). President Ashraf Ghani is seeking a second term in office, having won a disputed election in 2014. He seems to have had some success in stabilising his war-torn country, but this is another job that would attract only the very brave or foolhardy.

Portugal (6 October). Portugal in 2015 was a rare example of the centre-left getting its act together and negotiating a majority agreement with further-left parties. If the opinion polls are right, it looks set for re-election.

Greece (October?). Greece’s left-wing government narrowly survived a recent no-confidence motion over the Macedonia issue, but an early election remains possible. Polls suggest that the centre-right opposition is well placed for victory.

Switzerland (20 October). Polls are currently showing little change from the last Swiss election, which would again make the far right the largest party, but the country’s unique constitutional structure means that election results have only a marginal influence on the composition of governments.

Tunisia (October/November). Tunisia is the only successful democracy to emerge so far from the Arab Spring. President Essebsi, aged 92, is unlikely to seek re-election, but with both parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled (power is divided between the two, on the French model) voters will have a chance to pass judgement on his secular Nidaa Tounes party.

Sri Lanka (December?). The victory of Maithripala Sirisena in Sri Lanka’s 2015 presidential election was probably the biggest democratic surprise of that year. He subsequently fell out with his allies and last year attempted a constitutional coup, which was halted by the supreme court. If he runs for re-election things could get very interesting.

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