Ballot Box: Key Elections Around the World in 2017

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Written by Blair James

With the U.S. election behind us, we take a look at some of the key elections happening around the world, which Diplomatic Courier will cover at length in 2017.

The Netherlands: General Election on March 15

The far-right Party for Freedom has begun to sink in recent polls. Geert Wilders is ahead of the Prime Minister Mark Rutte. The Wilders campaign is described to be similar to the Trump campaign. “If Wilders does not win, his anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, and anti-European platform will likely shift the country’s political discourse a great deal.” If Wilder does win, he has proposed a referendum on European Union Membership.

Hong Kong: Chief Executive election on March 26

The parties running in this election are Regina Ip from the pro-Beijing New People’s Party, John Tsang whom is Hong Kong’s former finance secretary, Carrie Lam, the former chief secretary, and Woo Kwok-hing, a retired judge. Leung Chun-ying said he would not be running for re-election. The chief executive authority has been prevalent within the territory, but in the fall of 2014 the “Umbrella Revolution” expressed a huge call for independence. In the later months of 2016, the Chinese government banned two independence legislators from taking office in Hong Kong. This same action has become a threat in the upcoming chief executive election.

France: Presidential Election on April 23; Run-off Between Top Two Candidates on May 7

The main two running head-to-head for the presidential spot are Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron. President François Hollande will not be running for re-election. The main issue that is being brought up throughout the election is France’s participation in the EU. Brexit has been a major disruptor in Europe for a while now. The first round of voting, being held on April 23, consists of all voters choosing from a wide range of candidates. The last round, May 7, will be voters choosing between the top two from the first round.

Iran: Presidential election on May 19

It’s not clear about who exactly is going to be running for President, but it is clear the battle will be between the reformers and the hardliners. Iran is the most important opponent when it comes to ISIS and this election will “shape events in Syria and Iraq” which are two places Iran has close ties to. President Hassan Rouhani’s re-election is at risk due to the nuclear deal with the U.S. and “corresponding lift of sanctions and the civil rights.”

Germany: Federal election on September 24

Chancellor Angela Merkel and Martin Schulz will be running in this election. Merkel has “been called the last bastion of liberal democracy.”  But since Schulz stepped in, he has become the popular candidate. “50 percent of the German voters prefer the Social Democrat. Only 39 percent opted for the incumbent.”

China: Politburo selection at 19th National Congress sometime in October or November

There is no set date for when the 19th National Congress will be held. But it is said that there will be significant changes in the principal policy-making committee, Politburo, and the Standing Committee members. The major issues that will be discussed are nationalism and economic protectionism.

Honduras: General Election on November 26

The nation’s Supreme Court has recently discontinued term limits, which gives Juan Hernandez the opportunity to run for a second term.  Every seat, 128, in the National Congress will also be on the ballot. The opposing candidates are not known at this time.

South Korea: Presidential election on December 20

After the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye, South Korea is “eager to elect a new leader.” Running for President are former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, Lee Jae-myung, and Moon Jae-in.

Join us in the coming months for long-range features on each of these global elections.