Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
May 23, 2024

Elections around the globe in 2024

By ROMY KOO | April 12, 2024



Koo discusses international elections occurring in 2024.

National and regional elections are taking place in more than 50 countries around the world in 2024, including 7 of the 10 most populous countries. The presidential and legislative elections put to test human rights, economies, international relations, and prospects for peace in at least 64 countries. Among these, the spotlight is placed on five nations standing at critical crossroads: Taiwan, facing an existential threat from Beijing; the United States, navigating a divided nation; Russia, under the unrelenting grip of Putin; and India and Pakistan, enduring democratic hurdles amid regional pressures.

The U.S. presidential election

A rematch between President Joe Biden and Former President Donald Trump is imminent. While the matchup is a repeat of the 2020 presidential election, Trump’s court cases complicate his candidacy. Although the U.S. Constitution allows Trump to run even if he is convicted, his conviction might affect his election campaigns. Biden’s stance on the Israel-Hamas war has also made members of his party question their support for him. His full support for Israel alienated many younger Democrats sympathetic to Palestine. It remains to be seen whether the increasing support for Palestine will influence his position in the upcoming election.

Both Democrats and Republicans feel that each party’s front-runner poses a threat to American democracy. Democrats are concerned about electing a president who will reduce checks and balances within the government to concentrate power in the executive branch; Republicans are worried electing a president pushing for a big government will undermine their freedom. The key issues in the 2024 U.S. election range from reproductive rights and climate change to foreign affairs, such as the Israel-Hamas war and the Ukraine war. 

Taiwanese presidential election

Taiwan elected the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) William Lai as its next president on Jan. 13. Taiwan’s presidential and legislative election took place under massive pressure from China, as its results have great implications for Taiwan’s relationship with China and the U.S. The DPP and Lai promised to strengthen the island’s defense against China, while the opposing Taiwan Nationalist Party was more amicable towards Beijing, who then accused Lai of being a “separatist” and a “troublemaker.” Lai’s presidency will likely raise tensions between Taiwan and China, but he has expressed a willingness to communicate and cooperate with Beijing.

The independence of Taiwan is a major focal point of U.S.-China relations as well. Due to the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, the U.S. must ensure that Taiwan has enough resources to defend itself against China. Beijing has indicated that it wants to improve its relationship with the U.S., despite continued threats made by Xi Jinping to use military force against Taiwan. So far, the Chinese government’s reaction to Taiwan’s election has been calm, but the question remains of whether war over Taiwan is imminent.

The European Union’s Parliamentary Election

The European Union (EU) parliamentary election is set to take place in June amid concerns about the return of right-wing parties in the continent. A major issue in the EU’s election is Europe’s continued support of Ukraine in its war against Russia. Western Europe’s right-wing parties have opposed extended aid to Ukraine. Specifically, Marine Le Pen, the leader of the National Rally, expressed that continued aid to Ukraine might escalate the war in Ukraine to a global conflict.

The forecasted conservative shift in the EU parliament has implications for environmental policies as well. The outcome of the parliamentary election will influence political groups' alignment and national debates and ultimately impact the European Commission’s and Council’s foreign policies. The new right-wing majority is expected to oppose the EU’s movements for climate change and the implementation of the next phase of the European Green Deal.

Pakistani general election

Pakistan’s general election was held on Feb 8 and won by Shehbaz Sharif. In 2022, a no-confidence vote ousted the former prime minister Imran Khan, and the year-long hiatus caused political tumult in Pakistan. Khan is likely unable to run, but a majority of the parliamentary seats were taken by independents affiliated with Khan’s party. Protests broke out among citizens over allegations of vote rigging and slow vote count, along with warnings from the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan that the lack of transparency was concerning.

Policy continuity is speculated as the most pressing foreign affairs issues, such as the relations with the Taliban in Afghanistan, the continued cease-fire along the India-Pakistan border and terrorism challenges posed by Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and other terrorist groups.

Indian general election

In India’s general elections, to be held this May, the current Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party — the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — is expected to win a majority of the parliament seats for the third time. Surveys have shown that Modi’s continued popularity stems from India’s accelerated growth and improved foreign ties. In 2014 and 2019, the BJP’s single-party majority was facilitated by a fragmented opposition. This year, several opposition parties came together to form the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) to take on the BJP, but INDIA’s absence of a leader places it at a disadvantage.

Many speculate that the continued victory of the BJP would mean economic success, but some are concerned about the possible weakening of democracy and the Muslim minority’s rights. Modi’s government is also known to have prioritized foreign policy, unlike previous governments. Specifically, Modi has assumed a tougher position towards Pakistan and fostered a strong trade relationship with China — all while maintaining a firm stance against them along with a united front with the U.S.

The 2024 elections in the United States, Taiwan, the European Union, Pakistan, and India mark critical moments that shape not only the future of these countries but also global dynamics. We live in an interconnected world, where the decisions made by each country resonate across borders. As members of the global community, it is imperative to remain engaged and informed about developments in different parts of the world.

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