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Feb 19, 2024, 5:15am EST

Global Election Hot List: Indonesia, Poland, Kenya

Al Lucca
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The News

This year is being defined by elections. With so many votes around the world, it can be hard to keep track of them at all.

This week: The Hot List revisits a slate of countries, featuring a landslide win for an authoritarian candidate in Indonesia, a surging TV host in Poland, and Kenya’s rising millennial Trumpist.

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1. Indonesia

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Authoritarian landslide

Presidential election held February 14, 2024

Al Lucca

Former general Prabowo Subianto is projected to win Indonesia’s presidential election with well over 50% of the vote in the first round, in a contest one analyst said could spell the “end of democracy itself.” While official vote certification will take place in March, unofficial counts confirmed Prabowo’s landslide victory. After joining his former rival’s cabinet as defense minister, Prabowo was perceived by analysts to have moderated his tone – though his long history of human rights abuses has made many fearful of an eventual return to autocracy.

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2. South Africa

Disruptor parties

Legislative election in 2024

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Multiple new parties threaten to undermine the ruling African National Congress’ dominance in South Africa, with a general election looming. According to polling, the presence of new groups backed by major political personalities could push the ANC well beneath the majority in parliament that it has commanded since the dismantling of apartheid. In one poll, the Spear of the Nation movement backed by former President Jacob Zuma is even competitive with the ANC for first place in one state. Likewise in the mix is a party led by an ex-Johannesburg mayor which will compete in a national election for the first time this year.

3. Germany

AfD dynamics

European Parliament and state elections in 2024

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The anti-immigrant nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has taken center stage in German politics, as 2024 will see decisive votes for both European Parliament and state elections in the party’s stronghold of what was East Germany. After a conference was held featuring both neo-Nazis and AfD officials to discuss a “mass deportation plan,” intense protests have swept the country, galvanizing a movement against the party. In some polls, the AfD has lost significant support since the revelations — though in Berlin, it almost doubled its result in a recent election re-run.

4. Senegal

Delay overturned

Presidential election in 2024

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Senegal’s election delay has been overturned by the country’s Constitutional Council, after mass backlash over the move. The president’s attempt to push the vote back to December was annulled, reinstating the original election deadline. Since the delay, protests have rocked Senegal, which faced a crackdown from state forces prior to the ruling. ECOWAS, West Africa’s regional bloc, was on course to let the move slide while grappling with its own internal turmoil.

5. US

Haley’s last stand

Presidential election in November 2024

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South Carolina could see the end of the Republicans’ nominating contest with Nikki Haley remaining far behind in her home state, even as former President Donald Trump’s NATO comments ratcheted up the stakes. Polls currently put Haley far behind Trump, in the wake of a Nevada primary debacle in which Haley lost to “No one” on the ballot. The South Carolina contest will be the last held prior to Super Tuesday, where a crucial portion of delegates will be allotted.

6. Poland

Got Talent surge

Presidential election in 2025

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Poland’s parliamentary speaker — and former host of the country’s edition of Got Talent — is surging in polls for the 2025 presidential election. Szymon Holownia, who co-hosted the Polish version of the competition, has soared in support since his election as Marshal of the Sejm, where he’s been lauded for renewing public interest in parliamentary affairs. Polls now place him at around 30% of the vote, which could put him in serious competition for next year’s presidential election.

7. Mexico

Swiftie justice

General election in June 2024

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The former chief justice of Mexico’s Supreme Court has brought his Swiftie credentials to the presidential campaign. Mexico, home to one of the world’s largest Taylor Swift fandoms, has seen numerous politicians reach out to the singer’s base in recent years. Arturo Zaldivar, who served as president of the Mexican Supreme Court and resigned in order to back Claudia Sheinbaum in this year’s election, was termed the “Swiftie Minister” by news outlets after courting the community on TikTok. Not all are impressed, however — one Taylor Swift fan quoted by Rest of World called Zaldivar’s outreach a “calculated strategy.”

8. Brazil

Michelle Bolsonaro

Presidential election in 2026

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Ex-President Jair Bolsonaro may be barred from running again, but his wife, Michelle, is not — and appears in a new poll with 23% of the vote. Incumbent President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is still well ahead with over 37%. Jair Bolsonaro was handed a constitutional ban on seeking office until 2030 following fraud claims in the wake of Brazil’s last election. The length of the ban has prompted waves of speculation that members of Bolsonaro’s family could seek office in his stead.

9. Kenya

Trump-loving Millennial VP?

Presidential election in 2027

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Ndindi Nyoro, 38-year-old member of Parliament and confidante of Kenya’s president, has been touted as a potential vice presidential candidate in 2027, setting up a clash of personalities within the government. Nyoro has been noted in news sources for his admiration of Donald Trump, whose policies he believes “worked well for Americans.” Nyoro is furthermore a stated believer in the Singapore model of government, advocating a “direct and ruthless” approach. The incumbent Vice President Rigathi Gachagua dismissed replacement buzz around Nyoro as “childish.”

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