Elections to Watch in 2017

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Elections were monumental events in 2016, with both Brexit and Trump’s election victory shaking markets around the world. There are almost 30 presidential or general elections happening around the world in 2017, and these are 5 you should keep an eye on:

EU Elections: France, Germany, and the Netherlands

Germany – 12 Feb
Netherlands – 15 Mar
France – 7 May

The elections being held this year in three of the biggest countries in the EU have been anticipated by the markets ever since the US election finished. With the region still figuring out what to do with the UK after Brexit, political stability is at a premium. However, the economy has stabilized and gone are the days of negative growth plaguing the continent.

Immigration will be a key issue in all the elections with the influx of refugees from Syria. It will be worth noting to see whether these countries also move towards more isolationist policies like the US and UK, and if they do, whether the EU can continue functioning as it has. The results have ramifications across frontier markets in Europe and in Africa.

Mongolia’s Presidential Election – June 2017

Mongolia continues to struggle with commodity prices bouncing but not regaining the lofty levels which saw its economy and stock market rocket higher in 2012. The pain felt by its populace resulted in a landslide victory for the opposition party, the Mongolian People’s Party (MPP), over the incumbent Democratic Party (DP) in Parliamentary elections last June. The MPP managed to win a super-majority of nearly 85% as the opposition party, although government finances have handcuffed the potential actions they can take.

The presidential election is now upcoming this June, and the incumbent is not allowed to run. Candidates have not been formally nominated yet, but it is likely to come down to a race between the DP and the MPP. Despite the super-majority won by the MPP last year, there are concerns that the head of the party, Miyeegombyn Enkhbold, is not a likeable candidate and that the electorate could elect a DP president to balance the power given to the MPP. For more information, this blog out of UBC is an excellent resouce on the country.

Kenya’s General Election – 8 August

Kenya’s elections will be this August where the incumbent president, Uhuru Kenyatta, is expected to retain power. Around 2000 spots including the presidency are up for election, so the potential for change is high. The expected challenger, Raila Odinga, has lost in 3 elections in the past in 1997, 2007, and 2013, but will be hoping Kenya’s recent troubles will finally shift the population in his favour.

There has been some controversy over holding the election in August as it conflicts with National Assembly sessions and budgetary committee sessions. However, the election is a go and parties are rushing out to register voters before a deadline next month.

Angola’s Legislative Election – August

Angola’s election in August is notable for who is not runninng: incumbent President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who is one of Africa’s longest tenured leaders having led the country since 1979. He declared in December that he would not be running for re-election, and in his place Joao Lourenco, the defence minister, will run instead.

Whether this makes any difference is up for debate; Angola is still mainly a one-party country where the ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) has been in power since independence in 1975. They won almost 72% of the vote in the previous election in 2012. However, Angola’s economy has suffered with oil prices falling over the past few years, so there will be added pressure to keep the electorate happy.

Chile’s General Election – 19 November

Chile is another country where the incumbent, Michelle Bachelet, will not be running in upcoming elections. It is still early so potential candidates are still mustering support, with former presidents Sebastian Pinera and Ricardo Lagoc two leading candidates. Both have less than 20% support according to the latest polls, so the race is still wide open and the electorate seems disillusioned after recent political and corruption scandals.

While Pinera is the early favourite, an independent left-wing senator has emerged as a potential change candidate. Alejandro Guillier has already performed admirably in early polls, and is seen as an outsider in a country weary of the establishment. Given the results in recent elections such as in the US, the narrative could be a winning one in the upcoming election.

 

 

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