Election Universe

Elections to watch in 2019 – Part I

Elections to watch in 2019 – Part I
February 08 2019, 22:44

As the world’s innovations and communications channels keep on evolving and reshaping human existence and interactions, political participation and election integrity rise above the leading issues to monitor in 2019 elections.

Critical matters include immigration, the war on disinformation, fighting against corruption, re-connecting with disengaged and disillusioned voters, defending human rights, improving cyber-security, limiting the rise of populism, and boosting stagnant economies. Governments, institutions, and organizations will have to go beyond the traditional political discourse and focus on proposing solutions to empower citizens and protect voting rights.

Here are some of the most consequential elections ahead


Nigeria is preparing for its fast-approaching presidential election on February 16, 2019.  President Muhammadu Buhari, of the All Progressives Congress Party (APC), will compete against several minor party candidates. His biggest competitor, however, is former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).  While the main parties, the APC and the PDP, are slightly to the left and to the right respectively, they are dominated by personalities versus political platforms. Election local stakeholders and foreign experts often agree that one of the main problems of politics in Nigeria is its rampant corruption. Also, disinformation and fake news have been such a concern during the election that the BBC has launched an international initiative to combat fake news.  Whoever wins the election in Africa’s most populous country will have to contend with significant challenges including corruption, political violence, terrorism, and a struggling economy.


The Ukrainian presidential election is scheduled for March 31, 2019.  The top contenders are incumbent President Petro Poroshenko and former political prisoner Yulia Tymoshenko.  One of the major dividing issues will not be present this time as no pro-Russian candidate is likely to reach the second round of the presidential race.  Most of the pro-Russian electorate left when Russia annexed Crimea and occupied part of Donbas. Poroshenko has done nothing, however, to put Ukraine on a path to democratic transparency and accountability; the main objectives of the Revolution in 2014, which overthrew then pro-Russian President, Viktor Yanukovych.  While the EU and the US are heavily invested in Ukraine’s economic and political success, according to a BBC report, Russia remains intent on meddling in their affairs as evidenced by Russia’s capture of Ukrainian naval vessels in November.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling coalition has called for general elections in April 2019. It appears likely that Netanyahu’s Likud party will be the winner again even though he is currently under investigation for corruption.  According to the Israeli media, neither the leader of the opposition Zionist Union, Avi Gabbay, the formal opposition head, Tzipi Livni, nor the many other contenders appear to present a viable challenge.  Though politically weaker since the Yisrael Beiteinu party left his coalition recently, the odds are overwhelming that Likud and the right-wing will dominate the Knesset. The one thing that could derail a Netanyahu victory will be if the Attorney General decides to indict him before the election. Still, credited with bringing security and prosperity, public support for Bibi remains high, and he stands unchallenged within his own party.


India will hold general elections in April or May of 2019, electing members of the lower house of parliament, the Lok Sabha.  The Hindu nationalist, Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP)’s Narendra Modi faces a challenge from the former hegemonic Indian National Congress Party’s Rahul Gandhi.  Modis’ popularity has declined recently because of his inability to create jobs, failure to improve the economic distress facing India’s farmers and disastrous economic policies, which harmed small and medium businesses.  It is still up for debate whether his promotion of sectarian politics or “Hindutva” has been positive or negative for the BJP.  However, a win for the BJP would likely lead to an increase in an already troubling level of religious-based hate crime cases since Modi came to power in 2014.