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2021 Election Preview

It was a wild 2020 for any number of reasons, but the coming of the new year can mean but one thing: the 2021 election preview is here.

No, it will not feature a presidential election in the United States, though it will feature the after-effects of that vote. We may also be dealt a surprise not reflected in the below, like Canada ending its minority government and heading back to the polls. Here, we deal with the elections we know are coming in 2021 to set the stage for what international political junkies may expect.

2021 Election Preview: Scheduled Major Elections

March 23: Israeli parliamentary election. Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Israel is heading to the polls. This will be the fourth election in Israel since 2019; the first two were inconclusive and the third generated a coalition government which could not last a full year. One major change from the 2020 election to this one is that the opposition Blue and White coalition has split in two.

May 6: British local elections. There were no local elections in 2020 for obvious pandemic reasons, but the show will go on in 2021. Both the planned 2020 polls and the regularly-scheduled 2021 elections will happen on May 6th. London will also elect a new mayor, and Scotland and Wales will elect new devolved assemblies.

September 26: German federal election. The German federal election is expected to take place in late September 2021. Angela Merkel has been Germany’s chancellor for 15 years, but her historic run will come to an end in 2021 with this election. Her CDU will be looking for a new leader after Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer did not work out for them. Were the election held now, the CDU would win comfortably given the opposition’s disarray. The SPD, the other main political party in Germany, has struggled significantly and is fighting the Greens for second place.

November 2: United States gubernatorial elections. Two American States will see gubernatorial elections in 2021: New Jersey and Virginia. In New Jersey, it is expected that incumbent Phil Murphy (D) will run for re-election. Meanwhile, Virginia is the only state in the union to still enforce a one-and-done term limit, so Ralph Northam (D) will be replaced. The man he succeeded, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, is one of a number of candidates in the running.

2021 Election Preview: Other Scheduled Elections

January 10: Kyrgyz presidential election. Kyrgyzstan is holding its presidential election in the second week of 2021. The 2020 parliamentary election result was tossed out due to election fraud, the president resigned, and now they find themselves here.

March 13: Western Australia state election. This could be the only state election in Australia in 2021. Don’t worry, 2022 will be very busy. Labor has a sizable majority in this large state on the Indian Ocean after winning the 2017 election in a landslide. Mark McGowan, Western Australia’s premier, is seeking a second term. As of the beginning of 2021, there has been no opinion polling in several years.

June 6: Mexican legislative election. Mexico has its own midterm elections coming up in 2021, with President Obrador’s MORENA party looking for big wins in Congress. AMLO’s presidential victory in 2018 shook up Mexican politics, with the traditional governing party PRI and opposition PAN out in the cold. MORENA is just shy of an outright Senate majority, while they control a majority in the Chamber of Deputies.

September 13: Norwegian general election. “Iron Erna” Solberg, Norway’s Conservative prime minister, is expected to seek another term in 2021. Her party actually has the second-most seats to Labour, but parties not of the left retained a majority in the Storting in 2017. Can this feat be replicated? To begin 2021, polling favors a change in government.

Unscheduled Elections

On or before March 17: Dutch general election. Politics in The Netherlands means a lot of different parties getting a slice of the parliamentary pie. Mark Rutte, the prime minister from the center-right VVD, has the most seats with 32. Geert Wilders, the well-known and controversial parliamentarian, leads the second-largest party. Rutte has been the prime minister for over a decade, and The Netherlands has had center to center-right governments in power since 2002.

On or before October 22: Japanese general election. Japan goes to the polls later on in 2021, if they follow the expected schedule. This will be the first election for Yoshihide Suga as prime minister and leader of the Liberal Democratic Party. The LDP has only been in opposition twice since 1958 and controls a majority government in the House of Representatives today. Opinion polls show the LDP, no surprise, is far ahead.

On or before November 18: Yukon general election. The only Canadian election action we are expecting in the True North in 2021 is a territorial election in Yukon. That is, unless Justin Trudeau or Andrew Furey’s minority governments should fall. If not, this may be it. There is also the possibility that Nova Scotia will have a poll in 2021.

2021 TBD: South African municipal elections. Every five years, as they do on a national level, South Africa will vote in a municipal poll. This will be the first municipal election for both President Cyril Ramaphosa of the ANC and Opposition Leader John Steenhuisen of the Democratic Alliance. The largest cities in the country, including Cape Town, Johannesburg, eThekwini (Durban), and Tshwane (Pretoria) will all be hotly contested. In 2016’s municipal elections, the ANC was held under 54 percent, a political low point for the party since free elections. However, in the 2019 general election, the ANC posted 57.5 percent, having won every election since 1994.

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