Look who’s going to the polls…a worldwide vote tally

Democracy, Churchill said, is the worst system apart from all the others

With Zimbabwe going to the polls on Wednesday, August 23, Guatemala and Ecuador having done the deed on August 20 and Argentina unveiled its shocker on August 13, a consequential election season is upon us.

Clearly, the US isn’t alone in entering a period of heightened political uncertainty even though the world’s gaze is almost sure to be fixed, in some way, on

the starting gun of the US 2024 presidential election season. That’s the first Republican primary debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 23.

But look at the number of key elections on the cards.

Big populous countries will go to the polls in 2024, not least India, Mexico, Egypt and Indonesia.

In January, small but significant Taiwan will hold presidential and parliamentary elections that will set the contours of the island’s stance on China. This will have consequences for US foreign policy and further afield.

In March, Russia is supposed to hold presidential elections but the certitude of an emphatic Putin win is somewhat shaken by the rebellion in June by Wagner mercenaries led by Yevgeny Prigozhin.

Over in the European Union, the bloc’s 27 nations will vote in parliamentary elections in June. It’s thought likely there will be a swing to the nationalist right.

South Africa will vote next year in possibly the most important election since the end of apartheid three decades ago. It may mean curtains, at least for now, of its governing African National Congress, an epochal change for the country.

Finally, there is the UK, where polls suggest voters may abandon the governing  Conservative Party, ending 14 turbulent years that delivered Brexit.

Democracy, Winston Churchill said, is the worst system apart from all the others.

The results of the big slate of elections may test our willingness to believe in that.