New year, new election cycles with 2023 seeing five key races: Nigeria, Turkey, Pakistan, Thailand, and Argentina.
H ere, by the calendar:
▪ February — Nigeria:
The election to determine President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor will concretise around familiar issues — unemployment, corruption, insecurity, especially Boko Haram. The opposition may have an advantage because Mr Buhari is thought not to have done very much about these and other matters. At least that is according to a Gallup poll in June.
Mr Buhari will be challenged by the main opposition nominee Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president and third party candidate Peter Obi, a rich businessman with good preliminary numbers.
▪ June — Turkey:
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will try to persuade Turks that he deserves to continue 20 years at the top of the pecking order. But Turkey is beset by soaring inflation and Mr Erdogan by poor job approval figures.
His likely challenger, Istanbul’s Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, was recently sentenced to nearly three years in prison in a libel case and if his appeal isn’t successful or he is barred from contesting the election, Mr Erdogan might have an easier time of it.
Even so, the opposition could unite to put up a strong candidate.
▪ May — Thailand:
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha may run again in the forthcoming general election. He’s unpopular and opinion polls so far put the opposition well ahead.
Even so, the prime minister’s constitutional reforms give army-backed parties the advantage and in 2024 it will be a decade since the coup that knocked democracy on its head and put it into the deep freeze.
▪ October — Argentina:
President Alberto Fernandez is hoping his countrymen don’t have too bad an opinion of him but high inflation and a runaway lead for the opposition suggest otherwise.
▪ October — Pakistan:
That’s not the month of the election but the time by when they are meant to be done and dusted. However, ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan wants them sooner. No one is sure why, considering Mr Khan is at such loggerheads with the various centres of power in the country — the army, the judiciary, the electoral authorities — he could simply be deemed ineligible to run for office again.
— AUTHOR —
▫ Rashmee Roshan Lall, Journalist by trade & inclination. World affairs columnist.
▪ Text: This piece was originally published in Medium and re-published in PMP Magazine on 8 January 2023, with the author’s consent. | The author writes in a personal capacity.
▪ Cover: Unsplash/Bina Subedi. (Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)