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2024: The year of elections

By Sam Wilkin | March 15, 2024

This year we will see 83 elections in 78 countries. What consequences might the 2024 'year of elections' bring?  
Credit and Political Risk
Geopolitical Risk

The numbers are striking: according to current estimates, in 2024 there will be 83 national elections in 78 countries. As the U.K. newspaper, The Guardian, put it: 2024 will be “democracy’s Super Bowl”. There will not be an equivalent number of elections held worldwide in any single year until 2048.

Of course, such projections should be taken with a pinch of salt. It is surprisingly difficult to make an internationally-consistent count of elections. If elections for the legislative and executive branches are held on the same day, does that count as one election or two? If elections for the European Parliament are held, do you count that as a single election or one poll for every EU member state?

Writing in early 2024, we cannot be certain how many of the elections scheduled for this year will in fact be held. Some of 2024's contests will surely be postponed by budding autocrats. Other polling dates will be unexpectedly added to the annual calendar as parliamentary governments lose no-confidence votes and snap elections are called.

What is clearer, is that 2024 is very likely to play host to consequential elections. By some estimates, more than 4 billion votes will be cast in national polls in 2024 (owing in significant part to elections in India and the multinational elections for the European Parliament). That figure may not be reached again until after 2070.

Adding to the drama, it is not likely to be a good year for incumbents. During 2023, inflation rates soared globally and voters frequently punished their leaders at the ballot box. 'Economic voting', the tendency of electorates to vote out incumbents who preside over poor economic performance, seemed very much in evidence.

Unlike the Super Bowl, elections are not merely – or even primarily – entertainment. So, what consequences might the 2024 'year of the elections' bring? While political events are always unpredictable, there are a few risks to watch as the year unfolds.

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Director of Political Risk Analytics, Financial Solutions
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