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The Hot List

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Updated Jun 20, 2024, 4:18pm EDT

Semafor’s subjective, dynamic ranking of the elections you should be paying attention to right now — based on their urgency, their importance, and their connection to the great political forces shaping our world.

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1
EU – Step right
EU Parliament elections held through June 9, 2024

European Parliament election results were a mixed bag for most political groups, alongside the bloc seeing a discernible shift to the right. While the EU’s two major nationalist groupings saw minor gains, unaffiliated parties set to usher in some of the bloc’s most extreme right-wing legislators saw a significant lift. Those include the AfD, recently kicked out of Marine Le Pen’s parliamentary group for Nazi apologia, along with a slate of ultranationalist parties across Eastern Europe.

ArrowThe EU last appeared on the Hot List at #3, with the potential formation of an "extreme-right" group featuring the AfD.
2
South Africa – MPC deal
Legislative elections held May 29, 2024

South Africa is heading towards a coalition between the ruling African National Congress and a broad center-right alliance. The ANC and the centrist Democratic Alliance, along with other parties of its Multi-Party Charter, have agreed to a new “government of national unity.” The deal also includes the right-wing Inkatha Freedom and Patriotic Alliance parties. Combined, the government would hold over 270 out of 400 seats in the new parliament, excluding left-wing parties Spear of the Nation and the Economic Freedom Fighters.

South Africa last appeared on the Hot List at #2, with the ANC's search for coalition partners.

3
India – Thin majority
Legislative elections in 2025

After Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s alliance came up with much slimmer numbers than expected, the shocking prospect of Modi losing his grip on power has emerged. The NDA won 292 seats, with 272 needed for a parliamentary majority. While the party may have secured more than 50% of seats in the election, though, the shedding of legislators could still potentially imperil Modi’s premiership. Just over 20 votes would be needed to wrest control from the alliance — not impossible, when factoring in the possibility of by-elections or NDA lawmakers crossing the aisle.

ArrowIndia last appeared on the Hot List at #1, looking at the BJP's loss in its "fortress" of Uttar Pradesh.
4
Mexico – Constitutional push
Legislative elections held June 2, 2024

Could constitutional changes be in the cards after Mexico’s election? Long-planned changes to the constitution from Mexico’s ruling party might see a new push from President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, even before he leaves office. That’s because AMLO “will overlap” with Mexico’s incoming Congress, where his alliance now holds a two-thirds majority in the lower house. However, the Senate is a different story, and AMLO’s Morena party along with allies are short of the constitutional threshold in the chamber. The sweeping changes would overhaul the election commission, pave the way for popular election of Supreme Court judges, and reduce the number of legislators in Congress, alongside other measures.

ArrowMexico last appeared on the Hot List at #5, with results of the mayoral election in Monterrey.
5
Armenia – Alliance broken
Legislative elections in 2026

Ongoing tensions with Russia have resulted in the fracture of its military alliance with Armenia, during a time of geopolitical sensitivity. Armenia announced its decision to exit the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a bloc comprised of former Soviet Union member states dating back over two decades. The tensions surround Armenia’s conflict with Azerbaijan, which has seen the transfer of control of the Nagorno-Karabakh region to Azerbaijan, and continuing Azerbaijani designs on Armenia’s territory. Armenia’s prime minister has accused Russia of betrayal in its approach to the conflict, even going as far to claim that Russia is “planning a war with Azerbaijan against us.”

ArrowThis is Armenia's first appearance on the Hot List.
6
Denmark – Green surge
EU Parliament elections held through June 9, 2024

A Green party surged to claim first place in Danish elections to the European Parliament. It was the first time the Green Left party had ever placed first in a national election, relegating the governing Social Democrats to second place. The Green Left has seen an uplift in general election polling recently, too, and may now have a chance to take a lead, using their European performance as a springboard. Left-wing parties across the Nordic countries saw encouraging results, with significant performances in Sweden and Finland as well.

ArrowDenmark last appeared on the Hot List at #7, with the dissolution of the once-relevant New Right party.
7
Canada – Mississauga mayor
Local election held June 10, 2024

The new mayor of Mississauga is Carolyn Parrish, known as an outspoken critic of the United States. Parrish, a former legislator in Canada’s national Parliament, garnered media attention during her time in office for slamming the Iraq War, referring to US President George W. Bush as a “moron” and Americans as “bastards.” After serving in Parliament, Parrish began a career as Mississauga city councilor, spending 14 years in the role before her recent election as mayor.

ArrowCanada last appeared on the Hot List at #6, looking at the rise of Conservatives in British Columbia.
8
Bulgaria – Second emergence
Legislative elections held June 9, 2024

Bulgaria likewise will now see two radical right-wing Russophile parties represented with legislators, following a general election. As recently as 2021, Bulgaria had no far-right parties represented in Parliament; now the country has two, amounting to a combined total of around 18% of the vote. But oddly, the parties have a contentious relationship. The larger party, Revival, has taken aim at the new entrant, Greatness, slamming them as “an American project” to “stop [their] growth.”

ArrowBulgaria last appeared on the Hot List at #9, examining the country's "mafia" politics.
9
Japan – Joker move
Gubernatorial election on July 7, 2024

In Japan, a famous Joker cosplayer declared his campaign for governor of Tokyo. Yusuke Kawai is an elected municipal legislator in the city of Soka, known for campaigning while dressed as the Joker. Supposedly, Kawai will “debut a new character” for this campaign in lieu of running as the Joker, though it remains to be seen what exactly he has in mind. While Kawai is unlikely to be elected in the high-profile election, he’s no stranger to defeat, having run for various offices and lost — as the Joker — multiple times.

ArrowJapan last appeared on the Hot List at #3, with comments from LDP figures that the political situation could be "worse than 2009" for the party.
THE BIG READ
Reuters/Henry Romero

Progressive victory in Mexico’s election is giving its elite class conniptions, per the Financial Times. According to a new article, “one executive stayed in bed all afternoon eating ice cream to try to cope” with a loss for the center-right opposition. Support for losing candidate Xochitl Galvez was higher among wealthier Mexicans, some of whom are “struggling” to grasp the popularity of a political party they perceive as “scaring off investors.” But as the article points out, “decades of high poverty, glaring inequality and low wages” add up to an easy explanation for Morena’s success in recent years.

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