Citizens of different regions of the world are bracing themselves for democratic elections that will be taking place in the year 2017. The United States underwent its democratic duty in November 2016 by electing President Donald Trump of the Republican Party into office after what was a hotly contested campaign and election between him and Democratic Party former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The whole world watched to see the ultimate outcome of that election, the famed 2016 US elections.
Whereas on the other side of the Atlantic, some European countries have had their hotly contested general elections in 2017, recall the contested Dutch elections, which saw Prime Minister Rutte win the elections in the Netherlands against the hopeful Geert Wilders, leader of the opposition party, Party for Freedom. In the United Kingdom, citizens will be heading to cast their vote during the 2017 general elections which were moved forward and are now scheduled for June 8th 2017 – as was announced by Prime Minister Theresa May, and later confirmed by members of Parliament, meaning campaigning is officially underway for the Conservative Party and the Labour Party.
France’s election is another fiercely contested election with a number of issues on the table for consideration by the electorate. France is on the verge of electing its next president; after yesterday’s vote, Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Front and Emmanuel Macron of the Centrist, En Marche will be facing each other in the run-off vote.
On the African continent a number of countries will be holding elections in 2017. 2016 saw the election of Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo against his political rival and now former president John Mahama, and the Gambian President Adama Barrow replaced former Gambian ruler of 22 years, Yahya Jammeh. Kenyans will be casting their vote in the next general elections scheduled for August 2017 in what is also expected to be a highly contested election between the incumbent Jubilee Alliance of President Kenyatta versus the main opposition alliance the National Super Alliance of Kenya – a coalition of opposition parties, which is yet to name a presidential candidate. Rwanda and Angola are also set to hold elections in August 2017. Liberia is also heading to the polls in October 2017; the first African female president will hand over the reins to the next leader to head the nation of Liberia. The Democratic Republic of Congo was scheduled to hold elections in 2017, but have pushed them back to be held in 2018.
The world’s largest country, by area, Russia will also be holding its general elections in March 2018. The Progress Party, under the leadership of Alexei Navalny, will be contesting against President Vladimir Putin, who has a national approval rating of 83%, and his United Russia party. On March 26th, 2017 Navalny and others held protests across cities in Russia, for which he was later detained for organizing without approval. On March 16th, 2017, The Global Communiqué interviewed Vladimir Ashurkov, a member of the Central Council of the Progress Party, to hear his views, and that of the Progress Party, regarding the political scene in Russia as well as other global issues that relate to Russia. The full interview can be watched here.
Ultimately, the interplay of politics, elections and the competition between incumbent governments versus the opposition ought to be the product of putting the electorate at the forefront, so as to ensure healthy and functioning democratic processes in nation-states.
Mary-Jean Nleya is the Founder of The Global Communique, a media startup, and a One Young World Ambassador from Botswana. Recently, she was the Senior Editor for Op-Eds at the Harvard Africa Policy Journal. Previously, Mary-Jean was an intern (and then later a contractor) at the International Criminal Court, The Hague. Mary-Jean holds an LL.M. from Harvard Law School and a LL.B. (cum laude) from the University of Pretoria, South Africa.