What will big election year 2024 bring?

Almost half the world's population will decide its political future at poll stations this year. Commentators take an uneasy look at what the elections could bring for Europe and the world, from the UK to the US, Russia, India and Taiwan.

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The Irish Times (IE) /

AI means unwavering vigilance is required

New technologies are increasingly capable of manipulating electoral decisions, warns The Irish Times:

“Despite some welcome advances in regulation in the EU in particular, governments are still failing to hold technology companies properly to account. The fear for elections in 2024 is that a new wave of technological tools driven by artificial intelligence models like ChatGPT will be deployed to flood the information space with deepfake videos, images, audio and text that will mislead voters and poison discourse. While it remains to be seen whether these fears are borne out, unwavering vigilance will clearly be required.”

Pavlo Klimkin (UA) /

Freedom at stake

A global battle is emerging which is also being waged in Ukraine, former Ukrainian foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin writes on Facebook:

“'Who will win': the democracies, even the imperfect ones, or the authoritarian regimes? There is no guarantee that the democracies will win this contest, and the West is well aware of this. It also knows that, following the decision to open negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the EU, it is now a question of who gets to define the borders of Europe and the West - the West or the Russian Federation. The reaction to the Russian missile in Polish airspace is further proof that the West will not raise the stakes, which I think is a mistake, by the way, because it is perceived in Moscow as weakness.”

Kathimerini (GR) /

Months of uncertainty

Kathimerini looks anxiously in all directions:

“No one today dares rule out the possibility of Trump returning to the White House (and with a Republican majority in Congress, too), with whatever this would entail for the stability of the system of global governance. If Taiwan elects the candidate who considers the island to be de facto independent, China might increase the military pressure that it is exerting in the region, prompting greater intervention by the United States and causing trouble in the global economy. In Turkey, the consequences of the elections will depend on whether Erdogan seeks rapprochement with Kurdish voters, giving his candidates a chance of winning, or whether he continues to depend on far-right parties.”

Český rozhlas (CZ) /

Trump could leave Europe in the lurch

Český rozhlas sees the US presidential election as the biggest risk for 2024:

“If Donald Trump wins, there is not only a real danger that transatlantic cooperation will be weakened, but also American democracy. Trump has long made no secret of the fact that he is not a supporter of Ukraine in the war with Russia. He is known for admiring strong authoritarian leaders like Russia's Vladimir Putin. In the worst case Trump's election could lead to the EU being left alone not only in its efforts to support Ukraine, but also int its efforts to effectively counter Russian expansion.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Don't ignore the potential

Despite all the populist threats, the Süddeutsche Zeitung hopes this year's elections will have a positive impact:

Poland is showing right now what a liberating and euphoric impact elections can have. Such liberating moments are rare in the democratic business, but enormously powerful. Who knows whether a sham election in Belarus, Iran or even Russia might be the spark that ignites hope? It's very telling that even dictators like Vladimir Putin want to warm themselves by donning the cloak of a democratic election. Elections have never been more popular than in 2024 - but nor has the populist temptation ever been this great.”

Irish Examiner (IE) /

It all depends on the young

The decisive factor for the 2024 super election year will be who can mobilise young voters, the Irish Examiner predicts:

“That great political pot of gold, could be a massive factor in many elections this year, from the UK to the US, to Taiwan and on to India, Russia, and here at home. ... Younger voters are less likely to support personalities, but will turn out to back candidates that speak to their lives and their core values or, ideally, both. In America, the issue of abortion rights is now the hot ticket item; in Britain, it will be the cost-of-living crisis; while in Ireland, it will primarily focus on housing.”

Adevărul (RO) /

Arm the EU against populists with reforms

Adevărul looks forward to the elections to the European Parliament on 9 June:

“These elections will be free, but will certainly be heavily influenced by the rise of populist parties. Of course it's very likely that the grand coalition between Christian Democrats, Socialists and progressive Liberals will continue in various forms after 2024. But in many member states, the populist parties that have come to power will impede further European integration. ... The European Union will have to make crucial choices about maintaining democratic and human rights standards. Because the current system allows illiberal democracies like Hungary to block reforms.”