• D.C.
  • BXL
  • Lagos
  • Dubai
  • Beijing
  • SG
rotating globe
  • D.C.
  • BXL
  • Lagos
Semafor Logo
  • Dubai
  • Beijing
  • SG


Jan 29, 2024, 4:10am EST

Global Election Hot List: Indonesia, the US, India

Al Lucca
TweetEmailWhatsapp

Sign up for Semafor Flagship: The daily global news briefing you can trust. Read it now.

In this article:

Title icon

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. This week: Shock polls in Portugal and France, Modi consecrates a divisive temple, and Duterte’s daughter draws buzz.

In this article:

Title icon

Know More

1. Portugal

Nationalist party hits record high

AD

Legislative elections in March 2024

Al Lucca

In Portugal, the Chega party — which campaigns against migration, with a leader known for frequently stoking anti-Roma sentiment — has soared to record support, capturing nearly a fifth of all voters according to a new poll. For a party founded fewer than 5 years ago, the 19% figure should shock political observers. Pollster Intercampus projects that Chega could win 49 out of 230 seats in the March general election — compared to 64 for the main conservative alliance. That could be called striking distance, and if Chega somehow placed second, the impact would be continental in scale.

2. US

AD

Trump wins

Presidential election in November 2024

Al Lucca

Donald Trump’s New Hampshire victory has raised the already-high odds he wins the 2024 Republican primary. Despite Nikki Haley putting up a stronger-than-expected performance in New Hampshire and continuing to hammer him, the analyst outlook for remaining primary states — even Haley’s home state of South Carolina — portends Trump cruising to the nomination. Given the state of most general election polling, and the radical agenda a returning Trump administration would intend to pursue, the consequences would be both enormous and global.

AD

3. India

Modi opens temple

Legislative elections in 2024

Al Lucca

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi kicked off an election year with the consecration of a massive Hindu temple, controversially built on the site of a historic mosque. The temple is intended to honor the god Rama, but its construction has highlighted political themes currently dividing India in an era of rising religious nationalism. India will head to the polls for its general election in just a few months, with the expedited timing of the consecration being characterized as a political ploy by critics of the prime minister.

4. France

40% for far-right in EU vote

European Parliament election in May 2024

Al Lucca

Far-right parties in France have hit a staggering 40% combined in the latest Ifop poll for the upcoming European Parliament election. The National Rally of Marine Le Pen alone accounts for 31 percentage points of that total, with the rest being rounded out by the extremist Reconquest party and a smaller national-conservative effort. The National Rally will be led in this election by 28-year-old party stalwart Jordan Bardella, while the Reconquest list is fronted by Le Pen’s own niece, Marion Marechal.

5. Indonesia

Rock star endorsement

Presidential election in February 2024

Al Lucca

A famous Indonesian rock star endorsed the main challenger in the country’s presidential election. Abdee Negara, who played guitar in the 90s-era rock band Slank, resigned as commissioner of the state-owned telecommunications company, and said, “We need to keep democracy alive,” before endorsing Ganjar Pranowo, rival of President Joko Widodo’s preferred election pick Prabowo Subianto. Other members of Slank followed suit, but analysts anticipate the impact to be “minimal,” according to the South China Morning Post: Subianto has a chance to win the race in the first round.

6. Thailand

Progressive leader reinstated

Legislative elections in 2027

Al Lucca

The former leader of the party that placed first in last year’s general election was reinstated as a member of Parliament. Pita Limjaroenrat, who led the social democratic party Move Forward to a surprising national victory, was “cleared of allegations” surrounding the supposed violation of election law that saw him suspended from the legislature. Accusations that Limjaroenrat owned shares of a media company provided ammo for a hostile, non-elected Senate to shoot down his bid for prime minister after the vote, despite assembling numbers for a lower house majority. Pita could now return as Move Forward leader as soon as April.

7. Democratic Republic of Congo

‘Least bad elections’

Presidential election held December 2023

Al Lucca

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s elections were marred by violence and accusations of rigging — but were still the “least bad elections” in the country’s history, two prominent regional experts wrote in Foreign Affairs. Despite “technical, logistical and security challenges,” the election “did not feature the degree of violence that has marked past races,” Mvemba Phezo Dizolele and Pascal Kambale argued. The election was ultimately won by President Félix Tshisekedi, though opponents have refused to recognize the result. For Congolese democracy to continue improving, however, the article’s authors made clear these irregularities must be investigated and confronted directly.

8. Philippines

Duterte 2025?

Legislative elections in 2025

Al Lucca

Philippines Vice President Sara Duterte generated waves by stating that she intended to “run in the next election.” She did not specify which post she was gunning for, but given that the country’s next elections are midterms to be held in 2025, the announcement spurred speculation that Duterte could resign in order to run — which she then confusingly dismissed. Sara Duterte is the daughter of controversial former Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, and has been seen as a potential future presidential contender: She leads 2028 polling. Current President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos — who is constitutionally limited to one term — referred to her statement as “testing the waters.”

9. Dominican Republic

One of Latin America’s richest leaders heads to re-election

Presidential election in May 2024

Al Lucca

Dominican Republic President Luis Abinader, once termed “Latin America’s richest leader” by Bloomberg, appears to be cruising towards re-election based on all available polling. Abinader, who ran a large business conglomerate, has been the subject of U.S. reporting for his links to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani through the latter’s consulting firm, which assisted Abinader in his 2016 and 2020 campaigns. One Abinader advisor wondered whether the Dominican president “wanted a direct line to Trump.”

Title icon

Notable

  • Tuvalu’s election saw its prime minister swept from office, raising speculation that his pro-Taiwan government could shift its foreign policy.
  • In Finland, the center-right and Green candidates advanced to the second round of the presidential election, despite a stronger-than-expected challenge from the far-right.
Semafor Logo
AD