In the second column of the year, we continue with the usual survey of the main elections that await us in 2022. In the first text we saw five European elections scheduled for the year, as in France and Hungary. In this column we will see another five elections divided by three continents, in Africa, Asia and Oceania, starting with Mali, in chronological order.
In theory the Malians go to the polls on the day 24 of February. Skepticism about the claim has the same origin as its importance. It is supposed to be a return to democratic normalcy in the country, after the military coup in August 2020, which deposed civilian president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. In May 2021 the country underwent a “coup within the coup” and Colonel Assimi Goita took power for good.
The elections for president and for Mali’s National Assembly were announced as part of negotiations to reverse the country’s suspension of regional organizations such as the African Union. France also briefly suspended its military cooperation with the country. With just over a month to go before the election, however, nothing is clear about its holding.
Will ousted politicians be able to run? Will the African Union, or any other organization, be able to send observers? Will members of the coup military junta be candidates? These are just a few of the outstanding questions, all amidst the country’s internal conflict, and part of the broader Sahel conflict. Unfortunately, today, pessimism is still justified, after just ten years of democratic continuity in Mali.
On March 9th the South Koreans go to the polls to choose the president who will succeed Moon Jae-in. Elected in 316, the president of the center-left Democratic Party cannot run for re-election, as the country’s constitution imposes a presidential term limit. The government candidate will be Lee Jae-myung, former governor of the country’s most populous province, Gyeonggi.
The current president and his candidate share a similar professional background, both were human rights activist lawyers. The similarities end there. Economically, Lee is much more of a developmentalist, and as a result, he has already made friendly comments about the military dictatorship that ruled South Korea during the Cold War. He is also perhaps the candidate with the most favorable view of China.
Historically, even center-left presidents like Moon value the alliance and relations with the US. Lee has already criticized the presence of strategic US weapons on South Korean soil and also advocates more economic ties with China. If elected, Lee must also put some brakes on the approach to North Korea, perhaps the main flag of the Moon government, the son of northern refugees.
Inter-Korean relations are one of the main political banners in the country and a mark of the cleavage between left and right. The country’s biggest conservative party, the Popular Power Party, advocates a tougher policy towards the north. Officially founded only in 2020, he is heir to the conservative movements that ruled the country on several occasions, and the refoundation was for legal reasons.
The conservative candidate will play Yoon Seok-youl, former career attorney and former attorney general. Making an analogy, with all the problems of analogies, he is a kind of South Korean “Sérgio Moro”. A public official who has gained prominence for cases involving corruption and whose image is divided between admirers of his performance in these cases and critics of what would be a politicization of the judiciary.
Interestingly, his electoral campaign seeks to broaden its base and, for that, he nods to the more traditional movements of the South Korean political right. He has even declared that he will pardon former president Lee Myung-bak, who was sentenced to years in prison. For corruption. He has also already stated that he will request the expansion of the US military presence in the country, which has generated criticism from China.
Polls today point to a virtual technical tie between the two candidacies, making it very difficult to predict any result. The South Korean election will certainly return in our space. Mainly, the country’s young electorate is in a process of change and is “open” in the dispute, being able to boost either of the two candidacies. It will be two interesting months on the peninsula.
On May 9th it is the turn of the Republic of the Philippines to hold its elections. In addition to the president and vice president, who are elected separately, the 151 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and half of the 24 Senate seats will be at stake. We’ve already talked a little bit here about how elections work in the Philippines, including the problems in its electoral format.
Current President Rodrigo Duterte cannot run for re-election, limited by the constitution. Furthermore, there is no second round in the country. Considering that the polls give a wide margin for candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr., it is very likely that he will be the Philippine president. There is no chance, for example, that a broad front in the second round will be formed against him.
Known as Bongbong Marcos, his name leaves no doubt: he is the only son of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos Mr. and his wife Imelda Marcos. Dominating the country for 20 years, the Marcos couple was perhaps one of the most corrupt of the 20th century, with a fortune that arrived in the home to a tens of billions of dollars at the time, over US$ 24 billions in today’s values, in a life of luxury and ostentation .
His party, the Federal Party ng Pilipinas, advocates greater decentralization of power in the country. Something that may seem interesting and legitimate, but, in the end, it is because it is a party of local elites, all interested in having each one the key to their regional vault. Closer to the oligarchies of the so-called Brazilian Old Republic than to a federalist debate.
Bongbong started his political career early, “elected” governor at the 23 years old. Of course, during the “Daddy” dictatorship. At various times, he publicly defended the acts of violence of his father’s dictatorship and that the immense family fortune was “legally” obtained. Even with the Philippine judiciary repeatedly stating the opposite and ordering the return of about 68% of the family’s assets.
Today, Bongbong has about de 50% of voting intentions in polls and, again, except for a broad front articulated before the election, or any new fact that directly affects their performance in polls , he will be elected president. The son of the fox, who defends the actions of the fox, is the favorite to be elected as the hen house porter. And the likely vice? Sara Duterte, daughter of the current president.
On the 9th of August there will be elections in Kenya and, unfortunately, most likely a political crisis will hatch in the country. This is for two reasons. First, a referendum on a series of constitutional amendments was supposed to have been held last June. It was suspended following a request made to the Supreme Court, which is evaluating whether the proposed amendments are legal in the first place. electoral rules of the election go through a moment of uncertainty. The second reason is that current President Uhuru Kenyatta cannot run for a third term, which is not accepted by many of his supporters and his party. The Kenyan elections in 316 have already been marked by several episodes of violence.
After a government marked by cases of corruption and the use of the public machine for purposes supporters, nothing indicates that the current ruler or his supporters will willingly accept a free election, let alone an eventual defeat. Add to the uncertainties of electoral rules and problems at Kenya’s borders, such as the violence in Somalia, and we have the recipe for a crisis.
Some Saturday in May, Australia will hold its federal elections, to elect 50 from the 76 senators and 151 deputies of parliament. Australian politics, in many ways, emulates the British system, including the fact that parliament is divided into two poles, one conservative, the Liberal-National coalition, and the other Labour. There are also smaller parties and independent candidates.
Current Prime Minister Scott Morrison will run for election. Your coalition has the minimum necessary for a majority, 68 seats. The Labor party currently has 68 seats. Only the seats of the lower house are necessary for the formation of a government, eliminating the need for a majority in the Senate as well, although the Australian upper house has much more powers than the British House of Lords.
According to polls, Labor would be the winners today. Something that possibly impacted the image of the conservative government was the allegations of sexual harassment involving politicians from the government office. Rigid policy in the face of the pandemic is unlikely to influence the opinion of most of the electorate, as the Labor opposition, led by Anthony Albanese, has published an even stricter plan.
Unlike other leaders of Left around the world, like the quoted South Korean Lee, Albanese does not spare criticism of the Chinese government, especially Xi Jinping. He also defended the deal for Australia to acquire nuclear submarines. This ended up weakening Morrison’s rhetoric that Labor would be “weak” on issues like security and Chinese influence.
Still, these are Morrison’s strengths. If he manages to detach his image from recent episodes of sexual harassment, he has a chance. It is also interesting to note that Albanese is one of the most vocal republicans in Australian politics, advocating the proclamation of a parliamentary republic, as Barbados did recently. Of course, this will not be a quick process.
In the next column we will see the highlighted claims for 2022 on the American continent.