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Jan 15, 2024, 4:39am EST

Global Election Hot List: US takes top slot

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The News

2024 will be defined by elections. With so many votes around the world, it can be hard to keep track of them at all. That’s why we’re assembling the top election stories from around the globe into a weekly list. Informed by in-depth polling, international reporting, and local expertise, we’ll alert you to the big trends and the coming surprises in this unstable new global politics.

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Know More

1. US

Freezing in Iowa, game on in New Hampshire

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Iowa caucus on Jan. 15, 2024, followed by New Hampshire primary on Jan. 23.

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The exit of Chris Christie ratchets up the stakes in New Hampshire, where Nikki Haley looks to make a strong play against Trump. After Haley’s recent surge in primary polls, a Christie withdrawal seemed to be the final piece of the puzzle for an anti-Trump upset. That outlook will now be put to the test, giving the former governor her best path yet to a breakthrough — even as blizzarding Iowa seems set for a Trump win.

2. South Korea

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Primary loser attempts political shake-up

Legislative elections in 2024

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Lee Nak-yon, runner-up in the last presidential primary for the opposition Democratic Party, announced a new splinter movement prior to upcoming legislative elections. Lee served as prime minister from 2017-2020, and has made corruption the focus of his criticism towards his former party. “44% [of Democratic Party legislators] are ex-convicts,” Lee said in a recent interview. With the incumbent president and his People Power Party facing steep disapproval ratings, the Democrats are favorites to retain control of Congress this year.

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3. Italy

EU vote frames government coalition dynamics

European Parliament election in 2024

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For Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, this year’s European Parliament vote could be the key to cementing her power — while her rival, Matteo Salvini, struggles to hang on. Towards the end of December, online newspaper Today reported that Meloni sought “total hegemony over the Italian right” through the vote, targeting a “psychological threshold of 30%.” Meanwhile, Salvini, the leader of the far-right Lega party, could be dislodged from his position with a result below 10%. That could spur the party to return to its roots of northern Italian regionalism.

4. Bhutan

Wife guy returns to power

Legislative election held January 9th, 2024

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Bhutan’s new prime minister, returning to office after five years out of power, is what might be termed a “wife guy.” Tshering Tobgay, leader of the liberal People’s Democratic Party, has drawn attention on social media over the years for posting about his marriage. One viral photo from 2019 features Tobgay’s wife, Tashi, pulling his ears; another sees him carrying his wife across mucky terrain. For Tobgay, last week’s election results mark a political reversal, after his party was shut out from parliament in 2018.

5. Kenya

Raila the 6th

Presidential election in 2027

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Major political voices are calling for opposition stalwart Raila Odinga to run for president for a sixth time in 2027. The calls follow former Kenyan Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, a one-time ally of Odinga, announcing his own presidential ambitions. “Our leader Raila must vie again in 2027. He is the only one we know. He is not going anywhere,” the governor of Mombasa declared in response to suggestions that it might be time for another candidate to take over. Odinga turned 79 years old this month, and will be 82 by the time of the next presidential election.

6. Jamaica

Power shift

Legislative elections in 2025

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After nearly a decade in office, Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness could face an uphill battle to remain in power next year. His Jamaica Labour Party, which led all independent polls prior to the 2020 general election, now finds itself behind the opposition in at least one recent survey. Next month, the country will get an early indication of political headwinds when Jamaicans go to vote in local elections, which have not been held since 2016 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

7. Denmark

Far-right flameout

Legislative elections by 2026

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A Danish far-right party that polled in the double digits just three years ago is dissolving, citing a proliferation of parties in its lane. The New Right reached over 11% at the height of its support. Recent years have seen the emergence of multiple nationalist parties in many European countries, with many adopting conflicting styles and approaches. In the Netherlands, for example, the JA21 party surged to a record of 8% just a year ago, and is now projected for less than 1% in the last polls.

8. Tasmania

Political disruption

State election in 2025

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Tasmanian political firebrand Jacqui Lambie could break into the state’s legislature next year, as a new poll put her party’s support at 20%. Lambie has been described in Australian media as “famously unpredictable,” with rhetoric supposedly aimed at working-class Australians that has also been criticized for leaning into right-wing culture war issues. Her party’s current level of support is by far the highest it has seen, and raises the specter that she could be competitive in the 2025 election.

9. Turkey

Rising Islamist party

Legislative elections in 2028

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In Turkey, a new poll showed that an extremist Islamist party nearly doubled its support since last year’s parliamentary election. The New Welfare Party (YRP) entered parliament having won just 2.8% of the votes, but has gradually pushed the upper limits of its support. While the 5% projected for the party in the last Yöneylem poll may not seem like much, that’s now on par with other established parties in Turkey. Erdogan invited YRP into his “People’s Alliance” for the legislative elections last year, along with the Kurdish Islamist party Huda Par.

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Now What?

Taiwan’s ruling DPP was re-elected to a third term in office, with Vice President Lai Ching-te taking office in May. Read more about the outcome here.

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Notable

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