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Global Elections 2024: Transforming Political Landscapes

by Kashish Murarka   ·  July 9, 2024  

Global Elections 2024 marks a pivotal moment in world politics. Almost half of the world’s population will vote in national elections, reshaping global political landscapes. These elections span from Taiwan’s general election in January to the U.S. presidential race in November. The votes come amid growing economic and geopolitical strife, with the Ukraine war, conflicts in the Middle East, and rising trade tensions between the United States and China. Consequently, these elections will significantly impact the world’s economic and political future.

Source- Reuters

The Economic Impact of Elections

The economic impact of elections cannot be underestimated. From the price of green onions in Indonesia to higher fuel bills across Europe, rises in the cost of living have hit households hard. Incumbent governments and leaders are bearing the brunt of this discontent. For example, cost of living concerns contributed to a fall in support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party in India. Similarly, mainstream parties suffered losses in the European Parliament elections, and Britain’s ruling Conservatives faced a poll rout.

Source- Reuters

In Africa, economic discontent also played a significant role. In South Africa, the African National Congress (ANC) lost its majority, while worsening poverty is likely to shape the outcome of Ghana’s December election. Polling ahead of the U.S. election suggests similar voter dissatisfaction. Many Americans feel their living standards are falling, despite strong headline economic data. However, in Mexico, the ruling MORENA party emerged victorious after offering ample subsidies to low-income voters.

Economic policymakers warn that while there are signs inflation is returning to normal, the global economy remains fragile. Agustin Carstens, head of the central bank umbrella group the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), warned in June of potential pressure points that could derail the global economy. Therefore, the economic impact of elections in 2024 will be profound and widespread.

Geopolitical Strife and Election Dynamics

Geopolitical strife is another critical factor shaping Global Elections 2024. As tensions rise, defense and security matters have become prominent in election campaigns. In February, Finland elected a president who campaigned on NATO participation. Lithuania’s elections focused on concerns over Russia and higher defense spending. Taiwan’s elections centered on dealing with China, with the ruling DPP party securing a third term.

In the United States, views on the Israel-Gaza conflict have become a major vulnerability for President Joe Biden. American opinions are divided along party lines, with Republicans largely supporting Israel. Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump has stated that he would fundamentally rethink NATO’s purpose if re-elected. Trump also claims, without evidence, that he would end the conflict in Ukraine before taking office. Biden, on the other hand, maintains unwavering support for NATO.

Global military spending continues to rise, reflecting the growing geopolitical tensions. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, world military expenditure increased for the ninth consecutive year in 2023. As a result, geopolitical strife and election dynamics are intertwined, influencing voter preferences and election outcomes.

Source- Reuters

Democracy and Election Fairness

Democracy and election fairness are under scrutiny in Global Elections 2024. Pro-democracy watchdogs estimate that nearly three-quarters of the world’s population live in autocracies. Concerns about election fairness have been raised in countries like Bangladesh, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Cambodia, Iran, and Russia. In India, Modi’s electoral setback has been hailed by some as proof of the resilience of its democracy. Similarly, the peaceful handover of power in Senegal in March, despite attempts to delay the vote, was a positive sign.

Source- Reuters

However, democracy faces significant challenges this year. In the United States, Trump refuses to commit to accepting the election results or rule out possible violence around the November 5 contest. Harvard political scientist Steven Levitsky has expressed concern over the survival of democracy if one party does not play by democratic rules. This situation underscores the importance of fair elections and the rule of law.

Efforts to ensure democracy and election fairness will be critical. Observers and human rights groups must monitor elections closely to prevent abuses. Transparent election processes and the peaceful transfer of power are essential to maintaining democracy’s integrity. As Global Elections 2024 unfolds, the focus on democracy and election fairness will be more crucial than ever.

The Rise of Far-Right Movements

The rising cost of living has led to increased support for far-right movements in many Western countries. These movements often combine anti-immigration and nationalist policies with populist rhetoric attacking global elites. In Portugal, the Chega party quadrupled its seats in parliament. Similarly, far-right, eurosceptic parties made gains in the European Parliament elections.

France’s National Rally, led by Marine Le Pen, became the largest single party in a hung parliament. In Britain, the anti-immigrant Reform Party won over four million votes, contributing to the collapse of support for the ruling Conservatives. Austria’s upcoming election will be closely watched, with the far-right Freedom Party (FPO) leading in polls.

In the United States, Trump has made immigration a top campaign issue. He proposes mass deportations, ending birthright citizenship, and expanding travel bans. Chief economist Mohit Kumar notes that immigration as an election theme is hottest in large Western economies facing labor shortages. However, the political dynamics are shifting away from immigration, despite its economic necessity.

The rise of far-right movements highlights the growing polarization in political discourse. This trend poses challenges to democratic norms and the stability of political systems. As Global Elections 2024 progresses, the influence of these movements will be a critical factor to watch.

The Cost of Living Crisis

The cost of living crisis has dominated election campaigns worldwide. Voters are concerned about rising prices for food, energy, and other essentials. Governments are struggling to balance economic policies with voter expectations. In many countries, this crisis has led to significant political shifts.

In India, despite a cooling headline inflation rate, food inflation remains elevated. This economic pressure has affected voter support for the ruling party. In Europe, the debate over climate change action has focused on the perceived cost to livelihoods. Farming and other lobbies have called for easing net-zero policies, affecting election outcomes.

In Britain, the Labour party dropped a green investment pledge, citing economic constraints. Meanwhile, the Conservative party positioned itself as supportive of drivers, criticizing low-emission schemes. The United States faces similar challenges. Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act aims to address green issues, but Trump campaigns on continued fossil fuel use.

Economic hardships have led politicians to promise big spending and tax cuts. However, this approach risks adding to global debt, already at record levels post-pandemic. The Bank of International Settlements and credit rating firms have warned against unchecked fiscal expansion. Election-year promises could complicate efforts to control inflation and reduce debt.

Source- Reuters

Geopolitical Strife and Defense Spending

Geopolitical strife has also increased defense and security concerns in many countries. As a result, defense spending has become a key issue in election campaigns. Finland’s election focused on NATO participation and nuclear arms transit. Lithuania’s elections emphasized higher defense spending due to Russian threats. Taiwan’s elections were dominated by strategies to handle China.

In the United States, Biden and Trump have starkly different views on defense and foreign policy. Biden supports NATO and military aid to Ukraine. Trump, however, questions NATO’s purpose and claims he can end the Ukraine conflict swiftly. These differences highlight the importance of defense issues in the 2024 elections.

Global military spending reflects rising geopolitical tensions. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, military expenditure has increased for nine consecutive years. This trend underscores the growing importance of defense and security in political campaigns.

Conclusion

Global Elections 2024 is set to transform political landscapes worldwide. The economic impact of elections, geopolitical strife, democracy and election fairness, rising far-right movements, and the cost of living crisis are all significant factors. These elements will shape voter preferences and election outcomes, influencing global politics for years to come. As the world watches, the stakes are high, and the implications profound.

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