2016 was a year marked by electoral surprises. From UK, and all the way to Colombia, elections proved that no result is guaranteed until the last voter casts his or her ballot.
To help you prepare for what is coming, let’s take a look at the 2017 electoral calendar.
2017 will be full of governing and electoral challenges for Europe. Hot social issues such as migration and open-doors policies, anti-terrorism strategies, unexpected political parties coalitions and fresh economic plans will be at the centre of the debates. This year will witness general elections in the Netherlands (March); presidential and parliamentary voting in France (April to June); federal elections in Germany (October); presidential polls in Hungary, Serbia and Slovenia; new parliaments in Norway and the Czech Republic, and local elections in Portugal and post-Brexit UK (May). Even Italy might hold anticipated elections, as some political groups are pressing for them. The Eurosceptic parties are seeing an opportunity, while most of the incumbents and pro-cooperation supporters will strive to give the Euro block and multiculturalism another chance.
While most of the international media voices will have their eyes mainly on Europe, 2017 brings several crucial elections in Asia as well. For instance, Hong Kong will hold its Chief Executive Election (March), which for China and the island’s independents will be a key political event, especially after the Umbrella Revolution protests demanding popular vote, the upcoming 19th Chinese National Congress and the current tense relations between mainland and Taiwan. On other parts of Asia such as Thailand and South Korea (December), the 2017 presidential elections will come at a time when both countries are craving for peace after recent events (including a coup, the death of the King and a new constitution in Thailand; as well as corruption scandals and a president impeachment in South Korea). The giant that is India will also oversee presidential and legislative elections, offering another opportunity for the world’s largest democracy to improve its use of electronic voting.
In the Middle East, Iran’s presidential election (May) will also be one to watch during 2017, particularly in the context of the country’s improving relations with the west and the recent negotiated nuclear deal.
In the Americas, a new era of political surprises will come after Donald Trump’s victory last November, which will also probably shake municipal and gubernatorial results in the United States. Nonetheless, South America will also hold presidential elections in Ecuador (February) and Chile (November), both worth to keep a close eye on. Not only because of the weight their leaders have in the region, but also because of the civic engagement and political participation that Latin Americans are showing in the latter electoral events across the region.
However, Africa will not come last in elections news this year. Among the most significant results to follow are: Rwanda’s presidential vote and general elections in Kenya (both in August), Angola’s presidential election (the fourth in the country since it gained independence from Portugal), electing a new Liberian president (October) preceded by Africa’s first female presidency and, possibly The Democratic Republic of Congo could see a new government (TBD) after the latest months of turmoil. Amidst the fears of violence, ethnic polarization, and escalating political tensions, most of the continent is nonetheless embarked on marking new democratic milestones. There is international hope to see results refreshing the African leadership and the people’s political engagement as well as making election technology a big ally to promote transparency and efficiency.