Elections tracker 2024: every vote and why it matters

<span>Composite image featuring (L-R) Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Donald Trump, Shehbaz Sharif, Joe Biden, Maria Corina Machado, Vladimir Putin, Rishi Sunak, Macky Sall, Narendra Modi and Hun Sen.</span><span>Composite: Guardian Design</span>
Composite image featuring (L-R) Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Donald Trump, Shehbaz Sharif, Joe Biden, Maria Corina Machado, Vladimir Putin, Rishi Sunak, Macky Sall, Narendra Modi and Hun Sen.Composite: Guardian Design

More than 80 countries are due to head to the polls this year, including some of the wealthiest and most powerful, the most populous, the most authoritarian and the most fragile. Many votes will test the limits of democracy, while others will be exercises in rubber-stamping. Some will be boycotted by the opposition or undermined by government crackdowns on press and dissenters. Keep track of all the results and upcoming polls with our election tracker:

January

BHUTAN

30 November 2023 – 9 January 2024: The tiny Himalayan kingdom elected the liberal former prime minister Tshering Tobgay and his People’s Democratic Party (PDP) with a large majority. Tobgay has vowed to promote the investment needed to boost the country’s $3bn economy and address the unemployment that is driving an increasing number of young Bhutanese abroad, mainly to Australia, in search of better opportunities.

BANGLADESH

7 January: Prime minister Sheikh Hasina won a fifth term in office in an election that was overshadowed by a ruthless crackdown on the opposition and voter turnout of just 40%. In the months leading up to the election, tens of thousands of opposition leaders and rank and file party members were arrested en masse with at least nine dying in jail in the three months preceding the election.

TAIWAN

13 January: Taiwan elected Lai Ching-te as its next president, ushering in a historic third term in power for the pro-sovereignty Democratic Progressive party (DPP) and angering Beijing. Two days after the elections, China managed to reduce the number of Taiwan’s formal diplomatic allies to just 12, and has also begun increasing its military threats, with warplanes frequently entering Taiwanese airspace.

COMOROS

14 January: President Azali Assoumani won a fourth five-year term more than two decades after he first came to power in a coup. Though the country experienced three democratic transitions of power after he first stepped down in 2006, his return in elections in 2016 have since seen him erode democratic mechanisms. After January’s vote opposition candidates alleged fraud and ballot-stuffing.

TUVALU

26 January: Former attorney general and fisheries official Feleti Teo was elected as prime minister by MPs a month after general elections closely watched by Taiwan, China, the US and Australia amid a geopolitical tussle for influence in the Pacific. Tuvalu, with a population of about 11,200 spread across nine islands, is one of three remaining Pacific allies of Taiwan. Prior to the elections there had been calls for the new parliament to debate recognition of China and review a cooperation deal with Australia. But after his election Teo reaffirmed the country’s “long-term and lasting special relationship” with Taiwan.

FINLAND

28 January-11 February: Centre-right former prime minister Alexander Stubb won an election runoff against rival Pekka Haavisto in what was seen as the country’s most high-stakes presidential election in a generation. It was the country’s first poll since it joined Nato and took place amid escalating geopolitical drama on the border with Russia.

February

EL SALVADOR

4 February: President Nayib Bukele won a thumping victory after voters rewarded him for a fierce gang crackdown that has transformed security in what was once one of the world’s most dangerous countries. But his second term was unconstitutional and his New Ideas party’s sweep of parliamentary seats means Bukele will wield unprecedented power. Analysts also suggest that the suspension of civil liberties and imprisonment of more than 2% of the country’s adult population – many without charge – is unsustainable.

MALI

Were scheduled for 4 February: The junta said in September it would postpone presidential elections set for February – which was already a two-year delay on what was agreed by interim authorities after the 2020 coup led by Colonel Assimi Goïta. It appears the military plans to hang on to power indefinitely in the west African country, which has suffered an upsurge in terrorist violence since the military takeover.

AZERBAIJAN

7 February: President Ilham Aliyev won his fifth term with over 90% of votes in elections observers said were neither free nor fair. He had called the poll early after recapturing the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh from Armenia last year and launching a crackdown on independent journalists.

Interactive

HAITI

Were due by 7 February 2024: Elections were supposed to happen in 2023 with an earlier agreement in place for power to have been transferred by 7 February 2024. But since the assassination of president Jovenel Moïse in 2021, Haiti has descended into crisis and there are no longer any elected officials. In the latest bout of violence, gang leaders launched attacks on key institutions and infrastructure in Port-au-Prince while prime minister Ariel Henry was in Kenya in February, seeking support for a UN-backed force to stabilise the country. Gang leader Jimmy Chérizier, a former elite police officer known as “Barbecue” called for Henry’s ousting and said he would try to capture the country’s police chief and government ministers. While abroad, Henry pledged to hold parliamentary elections by mid 2025 but it was unclear if and when he would be able to return.

PAKISTAN

8 February: Despite opposition from the powerful military and a state-led crackdown, the PTI party of jailed former prime minister Imran Khan won the most votes in legislative elections. However after days of wrangling and political horse-trading a coalition including the rival Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PLM-N) and the Pakistan People’s party (PPP) agreed to form the next government with Shehbaz Sharif as prime minister and ensure that that the PTI party could not take power.

INDONESIA

14 February: Prabowo Subianto, a 72-year-old former general who was dismissed from the military amid allegations he was involved in kidnapping and torture in the 1990s, is on course to win the presidency in the world’s third largest democracy with more than half of votes counted – as of early March there was still no final result. Prabowo has always denied wrongdoing but the results have provoked fear among rights activists that accountability for past atrocities will fade even further under his leadership, and that his future government will have little regard for human rights.

BELARUS

25 February: There were no surprises in parliamentary elections denounced by the US as a sham, the first since presidential polls won by longtime dictator Alexander Lukashenko sparked widespread protests in 2020. He has since cracked down even harder on opposition figures, including his main challenger, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who is now in exile. But the elections saw the All-Belarusian People’s Assembly become an official organ with immense powers, after a constitutional change made last year. According to one analyst, “It’s a step on the path to a Belarus without its contested leader Alexander Lukashenko, even if it’s impossible to say how long that path will be.” After the election, Lukashenko said that parliament’s role would continue to be expanded, but also announced that he would run for a seventh term in 2025.

CAMBODIA

25 February: The ruling Cambodian People’s party (CPP) claimed a landslide victory in Senate elections and set the stage for former prime minister Hun Sen to officially return to politics. Last year Hun Sen, who had ruled the country for almost four decades, handed power to his son, military general Hun Manet, just a month after parliamentary elections widely criticised as a sham. Party spokesperson Sok Eysan said Hun Sen had won a seat and confirmed the CPP would nominate the former leader as the president of the Senate – allowing him to act as head of state when the king is overseas – when it convenes in April. Human rights activists had warned ahead of the polls that the country, where opposition leaders have been jailed, was “continuing on its descent into authoritarianism”.

March

IRAN

1 March: Elections for parliament (Majlis) and the Assembly of Experts, the body which chooses the Supreme Leader, saw turnout of just 41%, the lowest since the 1979 Islamic revolution that swept the clerical rulers into power. The vote – the first since the massive protests sparked by the death of Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in police custody in 2022 – was seen as a test of the clerical establishment’s legitimacy amid mounting economic struggles and a lack of electoral options for a mostly young population chafing at political and social restrictions. With heavyweight moderates and conservatives staying out and reformists calling the election not free and unfair, the contest was essentially among hardliners and low-key conservatives, all proclaiming loyalty to revolutionary ideals. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei disqualified reformist former president Hassan Rouhani from running for the assembly.

PORTUGAL

10 March: Portugal’s centre-right Democratic Alliance ousted the Socialist government with the narrowest of victories in a snap election that saw a surge in support for the far-right Chega party. Under its leader, Luís Montenegro, the alliance made up of the Social Democratic party (PSD) and two smaller conservative parties formed a minority government and was sworn in early April, but its stability is still a concern as it needs the support of either the Chega party or the centre-left PS to pass legislation.

RUSSIA

15-17 March: Vladimir Putin claimed a landslide victory and a fifth term in presidential elections that were widely condemned as neither free nor fair by the west. The government said Putin won 87.28% of the vote and that turnout was the highest in history at 74% of the electorate – results that used to appear only in Russia’s most despotic regions, such as Chechnya. There was no meaningful opposition; just a month before the election the country’s most prominent opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, died in mysterious circumstances in prison in Siberia. The elections were also seen as an attempt to gain a mandate for Putin’s war in Ukraine and voting took place in the four partially occupied regions of Ukraine – a message to locals that there is no alternative to Russian control.

SLOVAKIA

23 March: Nationalist-left government candidate Peter Pellegrini won Slovakia’s presidential election ahead of liberal, pro-western opposition candidate Ivan Korčok in a run-off poll. Pellegrini is a close ally of the pro-Moscow, populist prime minister Robert Fico. The vote was seen as a demonstration of how the country feels about Fico’s comeback last year after being forced to resign amid mass protests in 2018. Pellegrini’s victory cements Fico’s grip on power by giving him and his allies control of major strategic posts.

SENEGAL

24 March: Bassirou Diomaye Faye, a leftwing pan-Africanist, was sworn in as Senegal’s youngest president after a stunning election victory. He swept to a first-round win just 10 days after being released from prison. Faye’s election is being seen as a damning rejection of Macky Sall, the former president who was in power for 12 years. Faye is pledging radical reform with systemic change, greater sovereignty and calm after years of deadly turmoil, but faces major challenges in passing new laws as he lacks a majority in the national assembly.

UKRAINE

Was due by 31 March: Ukraine was due a presidential election by the spring – Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s five-year term is up. Under martial law, elections are suspended, but observers say a vote that acts as a safety valve to release internal tensions and popular discontents would be a worthwhile exercise – even if Putin tried to bomb it.

NORTH KOREA

Were expected by March: Elections to the hermit state’s rubber-stamp National Assembly were expected to be held in March. However the month passed with no indication a poll was about to take place. Observers have suggested the delay may be down to a constitutional amendment the Kim Jong-un regime wants to make regarding relations with Seoul. Elections usually feature a 99.99% turnout, with 100% backing the ruling Workers’ party.

April

INDIA

19 April- 1 June: Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) lost its parliamentary majority, dealing an unexpected blow to the prime minister. Instead of the predicted landslide, voters pushed back against the strongman leader and his Hindu nationalist politics in swathes of the country. Nonetheless, together with the BJP’s political allies, known as the national democratic alliance (NDA), its win amounts to about 292 seats, which is enough to form a majority government to rule for the next five years and return Modi to office for a third term. The results were a surprisingly sweet outcome for India’s battered and bruised political opposition, particularly the BJP’s main rival, Indian National Congress, which had been written off by many pundits and analysts prior to the polls as too weak and disorganised.

KUWAIT

4 April: The official Kuna news agency said opposition candidates won 29 seats in the 50-member assembly, matching the outcome of last year’s parliamentary elections. Kuwait bans political parties and candidates run as independents. Two hundred candidates competed, the lowest number in over five decades. The elections took place after new emir, Sheikh Mishal al-Ahmad al-Sabah, who took over from his late brother in December, dissolved parliament in February after a lawmaker reportedly insulted the ruler, the latest in a series of dissolutions.

SOUTH KOREA

10 April: Liberal opposition parties scored a landslide victory in parliamentary elections, dealing a resounding blow to sitting President Yoon Suk-yeol and his conservative party but falling just short of a super majority. Support for the already unpopular Yoon had sunk further after a scandal over a Dior bag allegedly given to his wife. In the wake of the poll, senior ruling party politicians offered to resign to take responsibility for its heavy defeat, including the prime minister, Han Duk-soo. The Democratic party (DP) won 161 out of 254 directly contested seats, while the PPP won 90 seats. The Democratic party leader, Lee Jae-myung, said: “When voters chose me, it was your judgment against the Yoon Suk-yeol administration.”

SOLOMON ISLANDS

17 April: Two weeks after a parliamentary election failed to deliver a majority to any party, lawmakers chose ex-diplomat Jeremiah Manele as their new prime minister. Manele, who was foreign minister when Solomon Islands turned its back on Taiwan and established diplomatic relations with Beijing in 2019, has pledged to continue his country’s embrace of China. While this stance may ring alarm bells in the US and Australia, which had voiced concern over a 2022 security pact that Solomon Islands signed with China, analysts say Manele is a less polarising figure than his predecessor, Manasseh Sogavare.

MALDIVES

21 April: Voters backed President Mohamed Muizzu’s tilt towards China and away from traditional benefactor India, with his party winning control of parliament in an election landslide. Muizzu’s People’s National Congress (PNC) won 66 of the first 86 seats declared, according to the Elections Commission of Maldives, already more than enough for a super-majority in the 93-member parliament. The vote was seen as a crucial test for Muizzu’s plan to press ahead with closer economic cooperation with China, including building thousands of apartments on controversially reclaimed land.

TOGO

29 April: Incumbent president Faure Gnassingbe’s ruling Union for the Republic party (UNIR) won 108 of 113 seats in parliamentary elections, allowing him to extend his rule under a constitutional reform that has been denounced by the opposition. Under new rules approved by lawmakers in April, Gnassingbe will instead be able to take a new post as “president of the council of ministers”, a role similar to prime minister that is automatically assumed by the leader of the majority party under the new parliamentary system. The overall president – the head of state – will have a mostly ceremonial role and be elected by parliament. As president of the council of ministers, Gnassingbe, in power since 2005 after the death of his father, will be able to stay in power without term limits.

May

PANAMA

5 May: Former security minister José Raúl Mulino won presidential elections after standing in at short notice for former president Ricardo Martinelli, who was barred after being handed an 11-year sentence for money laundering in 2023. Martinelli played a key role in drumming up support for Mulino while holed up in the Nicaraguan embassy, where he has sought asylum. The pro-business, rightwing president will have to grapple with a slowed economy, historic levels of migration, a drought that is handicapping transit in the Panama Canal and the economic aftermath of mass anti-mining protests in 2023.

CHAD

6 May: Chad’s constitutional council confirmed junta chief Mahamat Idriss Déby as winner of the presidential election after dismissing challenges by two losing candidates – cementing a victory that extended his family’s decades-long rule. Déby, who seized power the day rebels killed his father, President Idriss Déby, in 2021 and declared himself interim leader, won 61% of the vote, well ahead of second-placed candidate Succes Masra with 18.54%, the council said. The election was marred by opposition calls for a boycott and the shooting dead of one expected candidate in February.

THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

19 May: The hugely popular incumbent, Luis Abinader, won almost 60% in the first round of a presidential election, voiding the need for a runoff. The 56-year-old centrist has benefited from a strong post-Covid recovery, his crusade against corruption and a hardline stance on migrants from neighbouring Haiti, with which he closed his country’s border last year. However crime, cited in travel warnings by the US state department, ranks in polls as a major issue for citizens of the Dominican Republic. While the economy has soared, Abinader’s critics say he has work to do in taming inflation and inequality that have left behind many citizens.

LITHUANIA

12-26 May: Independent incumbent Gitanas Nausėda won more than 70% of votes in a run-off presidential election against prime minister, Ingrida Šimonytė. The campaign was dominated by the war in Ukraine and fears over a potential attack on Lithuanian territory by neighbouring Russia; both candidates supported increasing defence spending to at least 3% of GDP. Lithuania will also hold parliamentary elections this year.

MADAGASCAR

29 May: Legislative elections took place months after President Andry Rajoelina was re-elected in a vote marred by low turnout, an opposition boycott and accusations of fraud. Despite its wealth of resources, 75% of the population of the island nation off the south-east of Africa lives below the poverty line. Rajoelina’s government has been accused of sliding towards dictatorship – it banned public protests last year and has cracked down on opposition. Results are expected to be announced between 8 and 18 June.

SOUTH AFRICA

29 May: The African National Congress (ANC) party lost its majority for the first time in 30 years of full democracy, as voters punished the party of Nelson Mandela after years of corruption, leadership scandals, power cuts and high rates of crime and unemployment. However, it still emerged as the largest party, with 40% of the vote, and has now launched coalition talks. It has various options, including linking up with the new MK party of former president Jacob Zuma, although the MK party’s leaders have said they will not work with the ANC while President Cyril Ramaphosa remains its leader. Other possibilities include a coalition with the pro-business Democratic Alliance (DA) or the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), a Marxist-Leninist party led by the ousted ANC youth leader Julius Malema.

June

ICELAND

1 June: Halla Tómasdóttir won the presidential election with 34% of votes, beating former prime minister Katrin Jakobsdóttir into second place. The role is largely ceremonial, acting as a guarantor of the constitution and national unity, although Icelandic presidents have in the past refused to sign unpopular legislation. Tómasdóttir, a 55-year-old entrepreneur and former head of the country’s chamber of commerce who also ran unsuccessfully for the post eight years ago, will be sworn in on 1 August, taking over from former history professor Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson.

MEXICO

2 June: Claudia Sheinbaum won a landslide victory to become Mexico’s first female president, and its first Jewish president. The leftwing climate scientist and former mayor of Mexico City was boosted by the popularity of her mentor and outgoing leader, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, whose social programmes she vowed to continue. But the poll was also the most violent in modern history, with more than 30 candidates killed and hundreds more dropping out as criminal groups vied to install friendly leaders; one of Sheinbaum’s biggest tasks will be trying the stem the surge in gang-related violence in recent years. The new president will also face tense negotiations with the White House over the huge flows of US-bound migrants crossing Mexico.

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

6-9 June: Parties on the populist right made stunning gains in European parliamentary elections across the 27-nation bloc; despite that, the pro-European centre appeared to have held. In France, Emmanuel Macron called snap legislative elections after the crushing defeat of his allies by Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally, while in Germany, Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s coalition had a bad night as the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) made significant gains. The far-right also won large shares of the vote in Italy, Austria, Hungary and the Netherlands. But the centre-right European People’s party (EPP), which topped the polls in Spain and Poland, won the largest number of seats, boosting the chances of its lead candidate, Ursula von der Leyen, of securing a second term as European Commission president. Nevertheless, the narrowing overall majorities for mainstream pro-European parties could mean the blocking or slowing of laws on Europe’s green deal and the taking of a harder line on other areas of EU sovereignty including migration, enlargement and support for Ukraine.

BELGIUM

9 June: Prime minister Alexander De Croo resigned after his Flemish Liberals and Democrats party (Open VLD) suffered heavy defeats in parliamentary elections. A new government is likely to coalesce around the rightwing New Flemish Alliance (N-VA), which beat its arch-rival, the far-right Vlaams Belang, into second place in the key Dutch-speaking Flanders region. But the French-speaking liberal party, Mouvement Reformateur, was the biggest in Brussels and French-speaking Wallonia, setting the country on course for months of challenging coalition talks. Belgium is infamous for its lengthy coalition negotiations: after the last elections in 2019 it took more than 650 days before a government was formed.

BULGARIA

9 June: The party of conservative former premier Boyko Borisov won the most votes in snap parliamentary elections – the sixth in three years – with almost 25%. But it is likely to continue to struggle to find partners to govern after massive anti-corruption protests in 2020 ended Borisov’s almost decade-long rule, indicating that political instability in the EU’s poorest country is unlikely to end. Reformist grouping PP-DB slumped to between 14 and 15% – down from the almost 25 percent they got in the last snap polls last year. The election was marked by apathy, with turnout the lowest for a national election since the end of communism, at around 30%.

MAURITANIA

22 June: The country’s last presidential election, in 2019, represented the first peaceful transfer of power in its history. President Mohamed Ould Cheikh Ghazouani, whose party won a comfortable victory in parliamentary elections last year, is seeking a second five-year term. He has overseen the West African country’s relative stability in the increasingly violent Sahel region.

IRAN

28 June: Six candidates, mostly conservatives, have been approved by the Guardian Council from more than 80 hopefuls to run in an election to replace president Ebrahim Raisi, who was killed in a helicopter crash in May. They include the conservative speaker of parliament Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf and the ultraconservative former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, known for his inflexible negotiating stance. No women or anyone calling for radical change to the country’s governance were accepted. Ultimate authority is wielded by the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and not the president. The vote comes during a turbulent time, as the Gaza war rages between Iran’s arch-foe Israel and Tehran-backed Palestinian militant group Hamas, and amid continued diplomatic tensions over Iran’s nuclear programme and its arming of Russia in that country’s war on Ukraine.

MONGOLIA

28 June: Parliamentary elections will be the first to take place since major changes were made to the system last year, increasing the number of seats in the chamber from 76 to 126 and reducing the number of electoral districts from 29 to 13. The measures, introduced by President Khurelsukh Ukhnaa and his ruling Mongolian People’s party (MPP), are designed to attract more female candidates and ensure more diverse representation in the country which held its first free multiparty elections in 1990. The MPP can count on widespread support but observers say frustration among voters over issues like corruption could boost the opposition, especially in cities.

FRANCE

30 June-7 July: President Emmanuel Macron called snap parliamentary elections after his centrist list suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Marine Le Pen’s far right National Rally (RN) in the European parliamentary elections. His coalition lost its parliamentary majority in the 2022 elections and has since resorted to pushing through legislation without a vote in the assembly, using a controversial constitutional tool known as 49/3. Some analysts said the French president’s move was a gamble aimed at rallying centrist and leftist voters at a time when there is widespread shock after a far-right surge across the continent. But critics said the unexpected decision risked handing major political power to the far right after years on the sidelines, and therefore neutering Macron’s presidency three years before it ends.

July

UNITED KINGDOM

4 July: At least 20 points behind in recent opinion polls, Conservative prime minister Rishi Sunak faces an uphill battle against Labour’s Keir Starmer. A Labour victory would put an end to 14 years of Tory rule, the last half of which has been dominated by the economic and political fallout of Brexit including a rotating carousel of Conservative prime ministers.

VENEZUELA

Expected in second half of 2024: Presidential elections are expected to go ahead in the second half of this year, but opposition leader María Corina Machado has been barred from running for office for alleged corruption and for backing international sanctions against Caracas. Machado is appealing that decision. Incumbent Nicolás Maduro took power after the 2013 death of his mentor Hugo Chávez – who spent 14 years dismantling the country’s already fragile democracy – and has held on to the presidency since then by cracking down, sometimes violently, on the opposition and allegedly rigging elections. After decades of mismanagement, the economy of the country with the world’s largest oil reserves is in tatters; over the eight years until 2022, GDP shrank by 80%.

RWANDA

15 July: No surprises are expected in presidential and legislative elections in a country where President Paul Kagame has ruled with an increasingly iron fist since coming to power in 1994, after the genocide. About two-thirds of the deputies in the lower house of parliament will be elected on the same day and the remainder on the following day. Kagame is eligible to continue in office for another decade, after a constitutional amendment in 2015 changed term limits.

BURKINA FASO

Were scheduled for July: Elections scheduled for this year have been indefinitely postponed by the junta that seized power from the democratically-elected government two years ago. Since then security in the country has rapidly worsened as the government cracks down on Islamist militants, with both sides accused of the mass killings of civilians. Observers suggest junta leader Capt. Ibrahim Traoré’s refusal to stick to a 24-month transition timetable set out by Ecowas in July 2022 suggests he intends to cling on to power.

SYRIA

Expected by July 2024: A date for legislative elections has yet to be announced and 13 years after the country descended into a bloody civil war little change is expected under President Bashar al-Assad and his ruling Ba’ath party.

August

KIRIBATI

By August: President Taneti Maamau reaches the end of his second term in May and must call the election within three months, according to the constitution. Kiribati is a collection of atolls that sit in the central Pacific Ocean and like Solomon Islands, it is an ally of China. The vote will take place against the backdrop of a long-running judicial and constitutional crisis, with limited legal services available and no court of appeal.

September

CROATIA

Before 22 September (most likely spring, parliamentary) and December (presidential): Polls currently predict the ruling centre-right Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) will again finish top, on about 32% of the national vote, ahead of the Social Democratic party (SDP) on 19% and with a trio of smaller parties including We Can!, Most and DPMS on about 10%. The presidential race later in the year is currently led by the SDP-affiliated incumbent, Zoran Milanović, and the Andrej Plenković of the HDZ, who has served as the country’s prime minister since 2016.

October

AUSTRIA

Before 23 October (most likely in September): The far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) has led in the polls since late 2022 and is on course to win 27% of the vote, ahead of the centre-left Social Democratic party (SPÖ) on 23% and the centre-right Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) on 22%. After the debacle of the 2019 Ibiza scandal, the FPÖ has regained the confidence of far-right voters with criticism of Covid lockdowns and EU sanctions on Russia and could provide Austria’s next chancellor in one of Europe’s most significant votes this year.

BOTSWANA

Expected October: One of Africa’s most stable democracies, Botswana’s elections are shaping up to be the most competitive ever, according to observers. The president is indirectly elected by the National Assembly. President Mokgweetsi Masisi will be running for re-election with the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), which has held a parliamentary majority for decades, but the opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) coalition has been boosted by success in 2022 byelections.

SRI LANKA

By October: Ranil Wickremesinghe, the six-time former PM who was brought back as caretaker president from political near obsolescence in 2022 as the country grappled with its worst economic crisis since independence, is expected to seek another term. Yet he has little public support. One recent poll gave him only 9% while AK Dissanayake, leader of the leftwing AK Dissanayake JVP party, gained 50%. As observers suggest, however, this suggests a rejection of the establishment rather than solid support for the JVP.

LITHUANIA

By 6 October, second round two weeks later: A coalition of centre-right parties led by the Homeland Union and current prime minister Ingrida Simonyte will be fighting to retain power after weathering an expenses scandal last year.

MOZAMBIQUE

9 October: Violent – and deadly – protests broke out after local elections in the east African country in October 2023 amid allegations of vote rigging; the ruling party, Frelimo, was declared the winner in 64 out of 65 municipalities. Frelimo has ruled Mozambique since independence in 1975. Observers suggest last year’s polls offer a taste of what to expect in the presidential and legislative elections scheduled for a year later.

MOLDOVA

20 October: Pro-European president Maia Sandu will be running for a second term in an election that will be closely watched for signs of Russian interference. Sandu has made EU membership the cornerstone of her programme since defeating the country’s most prominent opposition figure, Socialist pro-Russian then-president Igor Dodon, by a landslide in December 2020. In 2023 she accused Moscow of plotting a coup against her. Moldova is also set to hold a referendum on EU membership; if the vote passes and turnout exceeds 33%, an addendum to the constitution will declare EU integration “the strategic goal of the Republic of Moldova”.

GEORGIA

26 October: Georgian Dream, led by prime minister Irakli Kobakhidze, remains the country’s most popular party, but it has lost ground since winning the last legislative elections in 2020 and it is unclear if it can hang on to its slim majority this time round. On paper, the ruling party wants to move closer to the west and is pursuing EU and Nato membership, with support from its overwhelmingly pro-western population. In reality however, Georgians fear that Russia is already taking over their country by stealth aided by their own government. Press freedom has been eroded in recent years and civil society activists say Georgian Dream party is answerable just to one man, its billionaire founder, Bidzina Ivanishvili.

URUGUAY

27 October (first round); 24 November (runoff): The current president can’t run again, which makes this election an eagerly watched race. Some observers say it should reinforce the view that Uruguay is one of the strongest democracies in the world. The polls are too close to call, but analysts name among the leading contenders as Montevideo’s mayor and electrical engineer Carolina Cosse from the Frente Amplio (FA) party, as well as Álvaro Delgado, a veterinarian by trade from the ruling Partido Nacional (PN) party.

November

JORDAN

Expected by November: Parliamentary elections are scheduled for later this year though no firm date has been set and the country is largely apathetic towards them. The last polls, in 2020, were marred by low turnout amid the Covid epidemic. The country’s parliamentary system is structured so that urban areas – Islamist and Palestinian strongholds – have far fewer MPs per voter than the countryside, whereas sparsely populated tribal and provincial cities which form a bedrock of support for the kingdom’s Hashemite monarchy send the majority of deputies to parliament.

NAMIBIA

November: Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, the ruling Swapo party’s candidate, could become the southern African nation’s first female president should she win elections planned for November. Swapo has won every previous presidential election since independence from South Africa in 1990 but its share of the vote has been declining.

UNITED STATES

5 November: The US’ 60th presidential election is expected to see its oldest ever candidate, Democrat Joe Biden, face off against the first former US president to stand trial on criminal charges, Republican Donald Trump. Amid fears that America’s democracy is facing unprecedented challenges, observers have likened the race to a “powder keg” that could explode at any point over the course of the year.

SOMALILAND

13 November: Presidential elections in Somalia’s breakaway region have been postponed for two years and the opposition has accused President Muse Bihi Abdi of trying to hold on to power longer than his five-year term. But opposition parties in January approved changes made to electoral law meant to improve transparency and previous elections have seen transitions of power between parties.

TUNISIA

24 November: President Kais Saied has cracked down on the opposition and the press since suspending parliament in 2021. Subsequent elections have been boycotted by the opposition and marred by extremely low turn out – just 8.8% in the parliamentary polls held in December 2022 and 11% in the runoffs a month later. Observers say this presidential election the opposition will try to field a united candidate but they face an environment much more restricted than in the last such poll in 2019.

SOUTH SUDAN

Late 2024: President Salva Kiir – in power since before Africa’s youngest nation voted for independence in 2011 – has repeatedly postponed general elections until now. Holding free and fair polls will present a huge challenge to the fledgling nation, which has been embroiled in a conflict for the past decade that has cost an estimated 400,000 lives and in which three-quarters of the population depends on aid.

MAURITIUS

30 November: The ruling Militant Socialist Movement (MSM), which has led the government since 2009, will be seeking to retain its parliamentary majority in one of Africa’s most stable democracies. Victory would grant prime minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, who took over from his father in 2017, a new five-year term.

ROMANIA

November and December: Local, parliamentary and presidential ballots due before the end of the year make 2024 a crunch electoral year as support for the far-right Alliance for the Unity of Romanians (AUR) climbs steadily. Polls suggest the anti-establishment, pro-Russian party, which emerged from nowhere in 2020 to score 9%, could take 19% of the vote in the parliamentary election, level with the Liberal party (PNL) – potentially depriving the centre-right party and the Social Democrats (PSD, forecast to win 30%), who have governed in coalition for the past 10 years, of an absolute majority. A PSD candidate, Nato deputy secretary-general Mircea Geoană, currently leads the presidential race, but AUR leader George Simion is a contender.

PALAU

November: Palau will hold general elections in November in which President Surangel Whipps Jr. will seek another term. The archipelago in the western Pacific Ocean is an independent country with a Compact of Free Association with the US. Its relationship with Washington including delays over funding, along with continued ties with Taiwan, will be among the issues facing voters.

December

GHANA

7 December: The west African country is undergoing its worst economic crisis in a generation, a subject set to dominate the campaign ahead of the vote to succeed President Nana Akufo-Addo. Vice-president Mahamadu Bawumia, a 60-year-old economist, will run for the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), facing off against former president John Mahama. But his presidential prospects may be threatened by his role as the face of economic policy throughout the presidency of Akufo-Addo.

GUINEA-BISSAU

Expected December: No firm date has yet been set for this year’s presidential election and candidates have not yet been announced but analysts suggest it could be a rematch between 2019’s close-run match-up between President Umaro Sissoco Embalo and leader of the opposition PAIGC party Domingos Simões Pereira. The poll will take place in an atmosphere of political uncertainty – Embalo dissolved parliament in December, accusing the government of “passivity” in the face of an attempted coup.

GUINEA

Expected in December: After a junta seized power from the country’s first democratically elected president in 2021, it is hoped this year’s planned legislative and presidential elections will be a step back on the road to democracy. Junta leader Col. Mamady Doumbouya has announced a constitutional referendum to take place this year and agreed an election roadmap with regional body Ecowas, but has failed to provide much transparency or a timeline.

ALGERIA

Expected in December: No candidate has yet stepped forward to challenge President Abdelmajid Tebboune, the 78-year-old leader who after his 2019 election vowed to reach out to the pro-democracy protesters who ousted his predecessor. Algeria has continued to dole out harsh punishments to journalists and activists who criticise the government yet public discontent is rising due to economic and other factors. As one observer writes, “Algeria has almost returned to the situation it was in prior to the 2019 presidential elections, when the thought of new leadership, with all the uncertainties that it could entail, was too risky to envision.”

UZBEKISTAN

Expected in December: The Central Asian nation is to hold its first legislative polls since President Shavkat Mirziyoev – who won a third term last year in what monitors said was a poll “lacking genuine competition” – signed into law a mixed majority and proportional electoral system. However there is little opposition in a country where the media are tightly controlled and the government cracks down on any form of dissent.

Reuters, Associated Press and Agence France-Presse contributed to this report