A decade is about to end, but our focus on 2020 elections across the world began some time ago. Did you not see us launching our American presidential primary page in 2018?
In many different corners of the globe, hundreds of millions of people will get the chance to have their say on their leaders and their legislative representation. To set the stage for what should be an historic year, we take you on a tour across the world’s continents and which countries will vote in 2020. Please note that this list includes elections of which we are aware in December 2019. So, don’t read this in, say, August 2020 and wonder where a snap election in some country is when we had no idea there would be a snap election. Hence, “snap.”
This is also not a list of all elections happening everywhere; rather, these are key polls that will catch our attention and those of political observers. For external content that goes beyond our brief summaries, we have found several links that may be of interest (but remember, click on outside links at your own risk).
2020 Elections in Oceania
New Zealand. The island nation elects a parliament every three years, and Jacinda Ardern’s term is up in November. Expect New Zealand to head to the polls late in the year as Ardern and her Labour Party hopes to build upon their current minority government situation. The centre-right National Party, led by Simon Bridges, needs to gain just six seats for an overall majority in the House of Representatives; Ardern’s Labour needs 15, as they finished second in the 2017 election, but for now are propped up by New Zealand First and the Greens. Further NZ Reading: Interest.co.nz
Australia. They had their federal election Down Under in 2019, producing the biggest upset since 1993. In 2020, the action will be contained to the states and territories. Both territories, the ACT and Northern Territory, as well as Queensland will vote in the second half of 2020 unless a poll should be called early. Labor is in charge in all three places. On the Top End, Labor almost wiped out the Country Liberal Party last time, and the latter hopes for a better showing in 2020. Labor also rules the ACT, but just two more Liberal gains will flip power. Finally, the LNP will try again to dislodge Annastacia Palaszczuk and Labor in Queensland, but the premier has won tough elections like 2017 in the past.
2020 World Elections in Asia
Taiwan. Electoral activity begins almost right away in 2020, with the Taiwanese election on January 11th. This will involve a presidential election as well as legislative elections. This one will be watched with a keen eye by political observers around Asia and the world.
South Korea. On April 15th, the National Assembly elections take place in South Korea. 151 seats are needed for a majority, and no party has one now; in fact, last time, the liberal Democratic Party (government) and right-wing Liberty Korea (opposition) finished just one seat apart. Expectations are that the Democratic Party will do well in this vote.
Israel. Stop us if you’ve heard this before: Israel is voting, again. The small Middle Eastern nation is about to have its third election in less than a year with a March 2nd poll scheduled. We covered the most recent election in September 2019, another that resulted in an inconclusive end. Both prior elections were close, with both Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz unable to form stable coalitions. No party has ever won a majority government under the Israeli electoral system and March 2020 will be no different. Further Israel Reading: The Brookings Institution
2020 Elections in Africa
Egypt. This country of almost 100 million, which struggled in the 2010s with its course towards democratic governance, is expected to vote in the spring.
Ethiopia. There are over 100 million living in Ethiopia, and their nation will also have a parliamentary election. Their legislative elections happen every five years in May. Things are not good for the opposition here, as the government coalition has 502 seats and others just 45.
2020 Elections in Europe
United Kingdom. Fresh off of a strong election victory, Boris Johnson’s Conservatives will test their political strength in May local elections. By then, it is expected that both Labour and the Liberal Democrats will have new leaders. It is also expected that the United Kingdom’s formal exit from the European Union will have taken place. Local elections are for local matters, but national implications can be, and often are, gleaned from what happens here. In 2020, Labour will be on defence in a plurality of council seats. London will also elect its mayor on May 7th.
Greece. Early in 2020, the Hellenic Parliament will elect the country’s president for another five-year term. President Prokopis Pavlopoulos of the ruling New Democracy can stand for re-election. As New Democracy (ND) won a majority under Kyriakos Mitsotakis in July 2019, there is no reason to believe that Pavlopoulos will not be reappointed.
Poland. The incumbent president, Andrzej Duda, is expected to stand for a second five-year term. A member of the right-wing Law and Justice Party (PiS) before his election, Duda won a narrow victory in 2015. Polling indicates he may have a tough ride in a second round against former prime minister Donald Tusk.
Slovakia. On Leap Day 2020, Slovakia heads to the polls to elect a new National Council. No party holds an overall majority now, but the largest party, Direction-Social Democracy (Smer-SD), rules as part of a coalition government. Peter Pellegrini’s party may be shedding support as the election nears with the new Progressive Slovakia (PS) party cutting into its vote.
2020 World Elections in South America
Bolivia. In a normal setting, the Bolivian presidential election would not get our attention. However, following the country’s recent upheaval, we are watching. What will come of their early-year presidential vote, who will be chosen, and will it be a free and fair poll? The shadow of Evo Morales will hang over the proceedings, and what happens in the weeks and months to follow will be just as closely watched. Further Bolivia Reading: The Guardian
2020 Elections in North America
Canada. It’s not a national election per se, but Canada’s opposition Conservative Party will choose a new leader late in 2020. Andrew Scheer stepped down under heavy internal fire following the party’s disappointing performance in the 2019 federal election. The Tories expect to have an array of candidates, with hopes among them that they can find a leader that can appeal to Ontario as well as the West.
Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic elects its president on May 17th, and it will be a new leader. Danilo Medina, the incumbent, cannot stand again. Meanwhile, the legislative branch also has its elections with all seats in the Senate and Chamber of Deputies at stake. Dominican politics are ruled by the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD), a social democratic party which has outright majorities in both houses as well as the presidency.
United States. Here it is: the political main event on the world stage in 2020. Yes, the United States will elect a handful of governors, thousands of state legislators, and hundreds of federal representatives, but all eyes will be on the presidential race. The key question: will Donald Trump be re-elected? We will not know the answer for certain until November 2020. In the meantime, that battle was joined long ago with Democrats fighting among one another, soon to be fighting the president. Before that, Trump will have survived an attempt at removal from office. Just another ho-hum uneventful year in American politics.
As for Antarctica…
The next election they have down there will be the first. Maybe the penguins have a democratic form of government unseen to human eyes. That would be pretty awesome.