Voter Planet

More than 2.2 billion voters in 83 countries will take vote in 2024 for different levels of municipal authorities and legislative authorities, governments and presidents.

09:00 | 22 март 2024
Обновен: 09:05 | 1 април 2024
Снимка: Bloomberg LP
Снимка: Bloomberg LP


by Rumyana Decheva

What and how we choose, even on a work-a-day level, where we gather information for our decisions, is changing rapidly. In the political context, themes of shared responsibility for the activities of governments and national businesses are constantly present in the campaigns of developed democracies, discussing positive trends and possible negative outcomes.

More than 2.2 billion voters in 83 countries will vote in 2024 for different levels of municipal authorities and legislative authorities, governments and presidents.

It is estimated that this many people will not vote again until 2048, and in consideration of population growth, the electorate will then exceed 3 billion. In countries such as South Sudan, it is more traditional to cancel elections, while in dozens of countries early elections are scheduled to meet changing needs.

Elections are an expression of self-definition and admittance of communities. As travel opportunities expand, new grounds for comparison and identification open up. In addition to general geography, history, language, new limitless categories appear - favorite author or phone brand. Only the constantly enriching political and civil culture of the individual and society guarantees that the choice of lifestyle and direction of development follows an analysis of needs and opportunities, and not the choice of a sports or fashion icon of the day.

Pushing the envelope of possibility, postponed contraction of fine skills and loud calls from open screens and hidden networks increase the pressure on the individual and society. And elections themselves, in one or another form, have always been present in political development. Sitting in a circle around the fire, facing the pulpit or camera, there have always been and always will be people seeking support for their leadership vision.

Shrinking from the key part of the problem, which is participation and trust in the process, many countries are attempting to replace the real debate and redirect it to talking about voting technologies. The voting method itself or its organization are only part of a holistic democratic process, which is impossible without the active role and responsibility of all participants: legislators, parties, commissions, civil society, mass media. And voters who do not simply deposit a voting paper in the ballot-box, but are aware of the options offered and are free to make their choice.

Voting - a tradition thousands of years old

Direct democracy in Ancient Athens was based on the obligation that individual clans be represented and make decisions together. They gathered in the amphitheater to present their interests and to discuss. They voted by raising their hands for the management of the city, with various stones thrown into jugs - for the governing bodies, by raising a finger - for the choice of strategists to defend the territory. When it came to the cruelest penalty - ostracism, exile for ten years outside the territory of Athens - efforts were made to avoid imitative and forced voting. Those who are too famous or harmful to democracy are expelled by assembly members by directly writing the victim's name on a mussel shell or a piece of broken pottery.

Themistocles, who in the early democratic years became archon of Athens, without being of noble birth, was hounded out of the city with thousands of objects, previously carved with his name, distributed to the illiterate members of the assembly. And today, as 25 centuries ago, there is no way to overcome the low political and legal culture of people who have the right to vote. And the technology itself has nothing to do with it.

Until recent times, Gambia voted with glass balls and people loved it. It was very quiet at the polling stations. A bicycle bell mounted in a barrel counted the votes so that they could be heard outside the room. And inside, barrel ballot boxes with the party color, name and photograph of the candidate helped voters find their way. At the end of the day, the balls were counted in front of the entire village. Technology was not questioned in an otherwise feudal political process.

Haiti won independence from France in 1804, becoming the first free country in Latin America and the only one freed from slaves. The first emperor and all ministers are recently freed slaves. Just three years later, Alexandre Pétion, of mixed origin, liberal, with good education and experience in managing people and processes, was elected president.

Against the abolition of slavery and the emancipation of slaves in Venezuela, Pétion, a high-ranking officer in the French army, assisted a high-ranking officer in the Spanish army, Simon José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolivar de la Concepción y Ponte. Palacios y Blanco, better known as Simon Bolivar or El Libertador, about the liberation of Venezuela from the Spaniards. After 100,000 kilometers of liberation marches on horseback and 472 battles won, the elections between 1813 and 1825 of the assemblies in the liberated colonies decided Bolívar's position, not the size of his army. He was first elected President of Venezuela, then Gran Colombia (Venezuela, Colombia, Panama and Ecuador), Dictator of Peru, and President for Life of Bolivia, the country named after him during his lifetime.

In 1830, when he was 47 years old, Bogotá's parliament voted to remove Bolivar from the presidency of Gran Colombia and sent him into exile, on the way to which he died. He was ostracized for his conservative policies and betrayal of liberal ideas. During the voting, democratic procedure was observed, and this measure is acceptable to at least part of the population. He was punished for his indispensable behavior; his basic policy of developing countries was preserved - the door wide open to immigration as a source of economic and cultural development.

Monuments, plazas and entire cities remain, and new ones take on the name Bolívar as a symbol of freedom from colonialism, the abolition of slavery and the fortitude to build a new world. The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is the full name of the country where 250 political prisoners are awaiting justice, including generals who refused to order the army to shoot civilians, freethinking professors, former governors, owners of huge farms, and political leaders. Under the pressure of dictatorship, the form and content of political processes are greatly unbalanced.

The processes of the fathers of American independence developed differently. George Washington was elected in 1789 with 10 of the 13 states have electoral votes, and only 5 hold elections for delegates. He leaves his general post to become president in a civilian capacity. He did not remain President for Life by choice and returned to the Army at the end of his term with a Revolutionary War rank. Confused by the vanity of subsequent generals in US history, in 1976. the senators honored Washington's name with the highest title only for him.

In 1800, in the third presidential election, Democratic-Republican Party candidate and Vice President Thomas Jefferson was elected president. John Adams, a Federalist from Massachusetts, lost the presidency he had won four years earlier from Jefferson. The election campaigning of Democratic-Republican candidates has ended consequences for the United States of the French Revolution, and to the Federalists for their preference for closer relations with Great Britain. Democratic-Republicans support decentralization and oppose federal tax increases. They also want the Alien and Sedition Act to be repealed because it restricts immigration.

After the vote, both Democratic-Republican candidates, Jefferson and Burr, received the same number of electoral votes - 73 each. As a joker from the public, they received another 35 votes, but did not determine the winner. The final decision on who will be elected president is made by the members of the lower house, who at that time had already resigned. This fall, 224 years after the problem first surfaced, the outcome of the US presidential election will again depend on the electoral votes received by the electors. college, and not on the number of votes in direct voting. In 2000, Al Gore won half a million more votes than George W. Bush, but lost the electoral vote and the election. Voters accepted it because it conforms to rules developed over two centuries.

Social networks and artificial intelligence

In late February 2023, several European dailies, including El Pais, Le Monde, The Guardian and Spiegel, alerted the general public for the first time with synchronized investigative journalism about the influence of social media on the outcome of elections. Journalists posing as potential clients tracked the activities of one particular company, which used artificial intelligence to create troll farms with tens of thousands of fake profiles on various platforms to create and spread misleading and false information.

They look at how artificial intelligence, big data and social media have been used in a coordinated manner since at least 2008 to interfere with the outcome of elections, from the US presidential election to the Catalan referendum in Spain to elections in French-speaking countries. African countries, in elections in third countries, as part of the performance of a service contract. Avatar profiles interact with people seeking information, support some political forces and coordinate attacks on others.

Virtual users are changing public opinion on key issues, particularly as part of the BREXIT campaign, but the technology continues to evolve and become more widely used. Some countries have established direct relationships with platform companies and created units to monitor political campaigns on social media. The EU has pioneered legislation and enforcement aimed at reducing the impact of fake news.

For a year now, political scientists have been studying the possible impact of AI on political decisions in 2024, especially in areas without established public oversight. With an unprecedented number of countries holding elections (83 according to the established election calendar), more than two billion voters are expected to express their will by voting. But do we know who will shape the preferences of billions?

However different the relative share of national decisions may be, their totality is significant and the world will be heading in a different direction at the end of the year.

Europe takes choice!

By chance, there is almost no European country where elections are not scheduled for 2024. Europeans from Iceland to Sakhalin will choose among the policies offered automatically, by voting paper, by telephone, by mail in a supermarket lobby or even through a representative. Fear of war in Europe and the expansion of conflicts in Gaza and around the world, a sense of breakdowns in communication of the possible outcomes of many crises, political, economic, social and increasingly cultural, will speed up efforts to close the decision-making process within national borders and will increase the share of Eurosceptics in European countries and in the European Parliament.

National, regional and local elections will be held in 12 EU countries, which will show confidence in the current administration, and local elections in Germany, Spain and Poland will be of particular importance. Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Lithuania, Portugal and Romania will elect parliaments, but since most of them will take place after the European elections, their influence on them will be limited.

Finland's presidential election on 28 January was the first since the end of non-alignment and the country's entry into NATO and was compelling evidence of public satisfaction with the change in direction. Lithuania and Slovakia will also vote for a president before June, and Croatia and Romania before the end of the year. Our neighbor to the north has elections scheduled every quarter, and “election fatigue” could affect presidential turnout later in the year.

The main ones for the EU are the elections to the European Parliament, which will be held from June 6 to 9. This is the tenth election since 1979 and the first since Brexit. Despite numerous efforts by Euro-MP and civic society throughout the country to change electoral laws to correct observed problems over the years, very few of the proposed proposals are adopted by the European Parliament and then ratified by each country.

Since the European Council, according to the 2009 Lisbon Treaty, takes many decisions on an operational basis, without substantive national debate on issues, the role of parliament remains less clear. These reasons and the problem of the adequacy of many decisions taken over the past two years in conditions of war on the borders of the union, it is unlikely that we will see an increase in voter turnout in most member countries.

For the first time, 720 members of the European Parliament will be elected in 27 countries. With just a few months left until the elections, national campaigns on the importance of this only directly elected body of European institutions are still ongoing. Despite greater Euroscepticism, the European Parliament will remain a meeting point for enthusiasm and conservatism on all topics of European development and cooperation with the world.

The other 10 European countries will also vote, and in addition to the traditional interest in the UK and its elections, elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Macedonia are important for expansion into the Western Balkans.

Russia is likely to hold presidential and regional elections, but the opposition to Vladimir Putin is without a voice, with the main candidates either jailed or exiled. Meantime, Ukraine decided to postpone the vote until after the war. In Belarus they will vote for parliament, although the result is already known. Not so in Georgia, where the parliament and president will be elected. Parliamentary elections will also be held in this region of the former Soviet Union in South Ossetia, on Georgian territory on the border with Russia. Recognized by only a few countries, the small republic, covering an area of several thousand square kilometers, became the center of particularly brutal repression after the rights of minorities were violated during Georgia's separation from the USSR. Georgia hopes for a fast path to the EU, but this also includes protecting the rights of all the territory's citizens, including religious and ethnic minorities.

America votes in the public limelight

They will also vote in all countries of North America, in Canada for the provincial parliaments of several provinces, in Mexico for the president, 500 congressmen and 128 senators. Lopez Labrador is not eligible for re-election and is supporting a woman from her team as a candidate. The main opponent is also a woman. As members of parliament can be re-elected for the first time, we expect policy developments and names to emerge in international politics. The widespread practice of depriving the right to a second term leaves Latin America without solid political entities.

Presidential election in USA, gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional elections are already dominating global news. It remains to be seen whether artificial intelligence will once again generate rivers of misleading and outright manipulative information, or whether debates on the real issues of our time will prevail. Against the backdrop of the famous names of Presidents Joe Biden and Donald Trump, the name of Robert Kennedy Jr. is of interest. The nephew of President John F. Kennedy and Senator Ted Kennedy, this member of the dynasty is known for his environmentalism, indigenous rights and longtime anti-vaccine activism. His campaign slogan is to end all wars, and this could boost his popularity even though he is running as an independent candidate without party support.

Presidents will be elected in El Salvador, Panama, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and Uruguay. Only Uruguay stands apart from the general problems of the rest, having stable economic and political development.

The Dominican Republic has seen an increase in crime due to its highly porous border with Haiti, the only LDC (Least developed country) on the continent whose president was assassinated in 2021 by organized crime. Venezuela continues to be a source of poverty and migrants, with more than 6 million people living in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, heading north through the Colombian-Panamanian jungle. Panama is going through a difficult economic period due to falling water levels of the Panama Canal and decreasing permeability, as well as the associated decline in duty-free zone activity. Ecuador continues to struggle to balance citizen safety and human rights, at least until proven guilty, with prisons overcrowded and the justice system clogged.

Africa is starving and voting

19 of 54 African countries will hold elections, but the problem is not how they will be organized, but what will determine the will of the voters.

Elections in Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe and Congo, although recognized, were not better received by civilians than military coups over the years. In Gabon, the son of Omar Bongo, president from 1967 until his death in 2009, Ali Bongo, continued the family's rule with repression and restrictions on opposition rights, and after another election victory was overthrown in September. In Burkina Faso, the government's failure to contain jihadists occupying ever larger areas since 2019 was followed by a military coup in 2022 and a subsequent coup in 2023, at the same time as in Niger, President Bazoum was overthrown by the military.

In anticipation of a return to civilian rule, the international community is both demanding elections and very cautious - if new elections are held in the near future, they will repeat the results of the previous ones. If elections are delayed, the military is unlikely to relinquish control of institutions.

Although Algeria and Tunisia are very different from sub- Saharan Africa, they are two developed economies with access to the Mediterranean Sea that have suffered protracted political crises. Algeria has had an acting president since 2019 following the resignation of Abdelaziz. Bouteflika, who has ruled since 1999, has no fresh memories of democratic elections in the country. In Arab Spring country Tunisia, elections will be held after President Sais Sayyed, elected in 2019, staged a coup himself, dissolved parliament, changed the constitution and called presidential elections in 2024.

Botswana is an interesting example of how no one mentions one-party rule and poor human resource development when the country guarantees economic development, albeit only through diamonds and tourism. Parliament and local government will remain under the control of the Botswana Democratic Party, which has ruled the country since 1965.

In South Africa since 1994. The African National Congress has a majority in parliament and wins all presidential elections. Corruption, poor governance, and lack of electricity in homes across the country undermine this influence and open the way for new political projects. Their success will depend on how well they identify national priorities and how they interact with each other. And South Africa's choice of strategic partners from different geopolitical camps is unlikely to change.

Rwanda is a country that is trying to establish itself as an international power capable of participating independently and in regional formats in peacekeeping and peacekeeping operations. The Rwandan military has made relatively good progress in northern Mozambique, and Total Energy is already restoring natural gas production in Cabo Delgado. A result of the strategic skills of President Paul Kagame, a former senior officer in the armies of two countries, Uganda and Rwanda. Kagame changed the constitution to run for a third time and is now telling the media he will run again. Political activists and candidates from the United Democratic Forces have as their main goal the overthrow of the Rwandan Patriotic Front, led by Paul Kakame. The election results will reverberate in all neighboring countries due to the proven connection between Kagame's army and the M23 sabotage group.

Elections are also planned in Somaliland, an unrecognized breakaway state in northern Somalia that self-organized as Somalia was falling apart. Although this is the fourth direct election since 2003, Ethiopia's recently agreed use of the Gulf of Aden port has led to a regional crisis. Mogadishu, unable to contain terrorist attacks and govern the entire country, continued to lay claim to the territory. About 90% of food is imported from Russia and Ukraine, and in 2022 alone, livestock farmers will lose about 3 million animals due to severe drought.

Hunger, outside interference in political processes, and poor and corrupt governance that happily resorts to external forces no matter the cost remains major electoral issues in Africa. Like hunger, and he is a very bad adviser.

Asia, where billions vote

Iran's parliamentary elections on March 1 set new records due to a pre-registration law passed in 2023. As a result, many parties withdrew from participation. Pre-registration was open for 7 days and 48,847 people registered – an absolute record. But in order to participate, they must receive approval from the Board of Trustees. Interestingly, 75% of applicants are under 50 years of age. An interesting interview with the Deputy Minister of State Security suggests that the authorities know that voter turnout will be very low due to apathy.

In India, a country with a billion voters, several polls will be held between April and May, including general elections and elections to the Rajya Sabha (Council of State - upper house of Parliament), Lok Sabha (House of the People - lower house). House of Parliament), panchayats and urban local bodies. The upper house consists of 250 deputies, and the lower house - 543.

India, a country with 28 states and 8 union territories, an area of more than 3 million square kilometers and a population approaching one and a half billion, has been preparing for elections since the end of the previous ones. The main opponents are Baratia. Janata (Bharatiya Janata Party), ruling coalition National Democratic Union - on the one hand, and on the other - Indian National Development Inclusive Alliance led by the Indian National Congress with the participation of the Communist Party of India.

Political candidates and coalition partners are determined at least one year before the elections. Their election commission consists of three members, each of whom is personally and professionally responsible for upholding the constitution and laws applicable to elections in the area in which he is an expert. Millions of cars are tested and adjusted according to the lists for the corresponding district. Television networks of individual parties, most of which are grouped around two main coalitions, are preparing to present their candidates. It is based on national interests, problems of the state, and the city.

India is choosing between a tame face of a populist outfit with a large paramilitary base and another built around the familiar Gandhi-era Indian National Congress. It is expected that more than a million votes will be cast for each mandate, which is unprecedented. Election choice.


2024 and beyond


Regardless of the outcome of various elections and whether people vote for new political representatives or support current ones, nearly half the world's population will give their rulers a new mandate in 2024, which will often mean new directions for global politics. development and cooperation.

Following the European Parliament elections, a united Europe will certainly try to consolidate some of its weakened international positions and create new strategic partnerships to meet our current needs as a community. As the home country for the largest number of organizations and institutions dedicated to the protection of cultural diversity, our ability to adapt to the cultures of other countries and continents can become a new open door to the world's economic and social diversity, in addition to becoming a major global donor to development programs.