It would be apt to call the year 2024 a year of change around the world, as almost 4 billion people from 40 countries around the world will head to the polls this year. Election results are crucial in predicting the future trajectory of any country in the future. Therefore, such a huge number of elections around the world hold significance for the future of the world. Although some of these elections have pre-decided conclusions, still people around the world have a profound interest in them. The most significant elections around the world include general elections in Russia, the United States, Pakistan, India, Taiwan, Bangladesh, and the European Parliamentary elections. People around the world have their eyes on the presidential elections in the United States. Being the superpower of the world, the US holds a decisive role in numerous global affairs. The recent event of vetoing the United Nations resolution for a humanitarian truce in Gaza demonstrates the power of the United States. Moreover, the United States has strong military and diplomatic alliances with different countries of the world.
The country rose as the sole power of the world after the end of the Cold War. The bipartisan system in the United States has made the policies of different presidents predictable for the world. In the coming elections in the United States, the most prominent Presidential candidates include former President Donald J. Trump and the incumbent President Joe Biden. A tough competition is expected between both of these candidates. However, Donald Trump is most likely to win the Presidential elections ahead. Rising inflation in the United States and the country’s involvement in foreign wars, including Israel and Ukraine, led to a decline in the popularity of President Biden. Although the incumbent US President holds that the economic indicators are much better than those in Trump’s era, the common people in the country believe otherwise due to their inability to meet their expenses.
Furthermore, the American people are perturbed about the illegal immigrants in the country. Former US President Trump had an America First policy. He abstained from letting the country involved in foreign wars. Moreover, Trump has also promised to impose tighter immigration policies and curb the birthright citizenship law. Therefore, it is highly likely that Trump’s electoral promises may resonate well with the US voters’ expectations. If Trump wins the US presidential elections, the world will experience an escalation in Sino-US tensions. The trade war between the two countries will also intensify, given the previous record of the US president, Donald J. Trump. The Arab world will also face renewed pressure for an alliance with Israel. Moreover, the US under the leadership of President Trump will also impose strict sanctions on Iran and Russia.
Presidential elections in Russia also hold great significance due to the re-emergence of the country as a new superpower of the world. Most of the world, especially the United States and the European nations, is keenly observing the Russian presidential elections. Russia under President Putin has alleviated to the level of a new superpower of the world. The expansion of BRICS has also increased the significance of Russia around the world. President Putin has succeeded in protecting Russian interests and sovereignty despite great pressure from the Western nations. Russia is also expanding its ties with various nations around the world. The country has emerged as a key player in the global politics.
President Putin successfully refrained Ukraine from entering into the NATO alliance. He also endured the Western economic pressure and effectively utilized the fuel reserves of the country to counter that pressure. Moreover, President Putin has also held principled positions on different global issues. His anti-blasphemy stance has augmented his popularity among Muslim nations around the world. In addition, his bold stance against Israel’s genocide in Gaza has also been welcomed by the Muslim world. All this adds to the popularity of President Putin. Therefore, it is most likely that President Putin will continue to rule the country. This will lead to further expansion of Russian ties with the Middle Eastern world and the developing countries around the globe.
Furthermore, Bangladesh is also going to have general elections on 7th January 2024. These elections also hold significance in the changing regional dynamics. The incumbent Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, remained under the Indian influence for a long time. However, in her current tenure, she has changed the trajectory of the country’s foreign policy and has broken the shackles of Indian influence. Bangladesh has developed cordial relations with China and has become part of the Belt and Road Initiative. Moreover, the country is also re-evaluating its ties with Pakistan. Prime Minister Hasina seeks to diversify the country’s relations with the rising powers of the world. However, she is facing a tough time from the opposition party – the Bangladesh National Party. The latter has gained popularity among the masses due to the oppressing policies of the ruling party. However, the Awami League (AL) – under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina – is imposing strict restrictions against the opposition leaders and their party. Thousands of opposition leaders are incarcerated. Moreover, the electronic and print media in the country are also facing massive censorship. This leads to the assumption that the incumbent Prime Minister will manage to win the elections. The continuation of her leadership in the country will increase the persistent policies of suppressing the opposition. Moreover, the labor inside the country will also continue to face bad working conditions. However, on the international level, the country will diversify its relations in the world of rising middle powers. Moreover, the country might also join BRICS, which will strengthen its policy of advocating a multilateral world.
Another significant election in the South Asian region will be held in Pakistan on 8th February 2024. Currently, democracy in the country is struggling due to the non-democratic attitude of the country. Former Prime Minister Imran Khan was ousted from government through a vote of no confidence in Parliament. Imran Khan blamed the military for not protecting its government against the no-confidence movement by the opposition. Allegedly, he was also brought into the government with the support of the establishment. He pursued a non-democratic attitude during his government because most of the opposition leaders were incarcerated due to the political cases against them. TLP, the most popular Islamic political party in the country, also faced persecution during his rule.
Many analysts believe that his government was a hybrid regime where his political party – PTI – and establishment collectively ruled the country. However, this coalition came to an end after almost 4 years due to the widening gulf between him and the country’s establishment. The former prime minister attempted a score of times to provoke the military to support his regime and meddle in the constitutional process of no confidence movement to prolong his government.
Even after his ouster from the government, he continued to lament the military establishment for remaining politically neutral. He publicly called on the military leadership to help him regain government in the country. However, after not gaining the desired response from the military, his party violently attacked the military installations throughout the country after his arrest. Allegedly, these attacks were pre-planned by the PTI leadership. All this resulted in the arrest of hundreds of PTI leaders and party members throughout the country.
There is a widespread impression in the country that PML (N) will win the coming elections. The Economist Intelligence report also suggests that PML (N) is most likely to win the coming elections. PTI, despite having a significant vote bank, is least likely to be in a position to gain a significant number of seats in the country. The most significant factor in the current elections will be the vote bank of TLP. This party holds massive street power in the country. However, their vote bank is segregated. Therefore, the TLP might not gain victory over a significant number of seats, but they will act as kingmakers in the coming election. Unfortunately, PML (N), once known for its anti-establishment narrative, has, allegedly, collaborated with the country’s establishment to gain power in the country. If the PML (N) comes to power with military collaboration, this will also result in the installation of a hybrid regime in the country once again. However, the fate of this hybrid regime will be no different than previous such regimes. If such a regime is established in the country, Pakistan will continue to struggle politically and economically. The country will also face difficulty internationally, as it will not have the opportunity to make independent decisions under such a government.
Abbas Hashemite – is a political observer and research analyst for regional and global geopolitical issues. He is currently working as an independent researcher and journalist, exclusively for “New Eastern Outlook”.