Elections to Watch in 2020

A voter casts his ballot during the second round of Ukraine's 2019 presidential election.
Publication Date: 
12 Dec 2019

News Type:

Over the past year, protests and demonstrations have magnified the frustrations and hopes of people around the world seeking more responsive democratic institutions. Popular demand for greater representation, economic prosperity and justice are growing louder and more determined from Santiago to Khartoum and from Quito to Beirut.

Moving from the streets to the ballot box, voters will have the opportunity in the year ahead to channel their popular demands into policies and action on issues ranging from the economy, national security, immigration and corruption. Even in the midst of democratic backsliding in many parts of the world, the ballot box and elections remain a mechanism to transform societies through representative, democratic governance.

As an organization that works to build democracies that deliver for all, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems is proud to partner with institutions and organizations to deliver electoral processes with integrity around the world. We believe in democracy for a better future and are committed to working in partnership to defend democracy from emerging threats.

Below are the elections to watch in 2020 – processes that will shape local, regional and geopolitical developments in the year to come.

Haiti

Legislative elections did not take place by October 2019 as planned amid ongoing protests and civil unrest focused on forcing the resignation of President Jovenel Moise. No election date is yet set, but after January 2020 Haiti will lack a Chamber of Deputies and two-thirds of the Senate. Until elections are held, Haiti’s political stalemate is likely to continue with President Moise ruling by decree.

Bolivia

A fresh presidential election is expected in this Andean nation of over 11 million following the turbulent resignation of President Evo Morales after allegations of fraud in the October 2019 elections. Under the current electoral law, the president is elected by a modified two-round system that may result in a protracted electoral period, as voters choose a new president capable of unifying a highly polarized nation plagued by instability and division.

Republic of Korea

Elections to South Korea's National Assembly will be held on April 15. The legislature consists of 253 seats elected from first-past-the-post constituencies and 47 from proportional party lists, with members serving four-year terms. These elections will test the strength of President Moon Jae-in’s Democratic Party, which currently holds the most seats in the Assembly, and its strong support for denuclearizing the Korean peninsula.

North Macedonia

Early parliamentary elections are planned for April with 123 seats in the national assembly on the ballot, including three seats for North Macedonians living abroad. These polls were called by Prime Minister Zoran Zaev following failed talks on joining the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organization. North Macedonia’s name change and future Euro-integration will be issues in rival parties’ campaigns.

Ethiopia

Parliamentary elections are currently planned for May when this nation of 105 million will take part in the first polls since reformist Prime Minister and Nobel prize winner Abiy Ahmed took office in 2018. At stake are 547 seats in the House of People’s Representatives for five-year terms. The elections will take place under a new election law, adopted in August 2019 and, given the historic opening ushered in by political liberalization, promise to be the first competitive poll since 1995.

Georgia

Parliamentary elections are scheduled to be held by October 2020. Voters will elect 150 members to Georgia’s unicameral legislature under the existing mixed electoral system following a failed attempt to adopt a fully proportional electoral system in 2019. The ruling Georgian Dream coalition won 115 seats in the last legislative elections and has sought electoral reforms following weeks of street protests demanding broader political representation.

Myanmar

General elections are planned for late 2020 with some 1,000 seats in its national, regional and state legislative bodies, including 664 seats in the country’s bicameral national parliament, being contested. Twenty-five percent of both houses of parliament will remain reserved for the military. These elections will further test Myanmar’s democratic transition following the 2015 transfer of power, when the election of the ruling National League for Democracy won its current supermajority.

United States

Presidential, legislative and state elections are scheduled for November. The office of the president, one-third of the Senate and all 435 seats in the House of Representatives will be on the ballot. Eleven state governorships and numerous state and local offices will also be contested. The results of state legislature elections will be closely watched given their role in congressional redistricting following the 2020 national census.

Egypt

Parliamentary elections are expected at the end of 2020 in accordance with the constitutional changes approved in the 2019 constitutional referendum. The Parliament is now a bicameral body with the Senate (Shura Council) consisting of 180 elected members and the House of Representatives made up of 596 seats. These elections will be the first since the approval of a constitutional amendment that allows President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to remain in power until 2030 and will indicate Egypt’s political trajectory.

New Zealand

General elections are expected in the second half of 2020. Voters will elect 120 members to the House of Representatives under a mixed-member proportional electoral system. The Labour Party-led minority coalition government will be put to the test in what promises to be a highly competitive race. Referendums on marijuana legalization and euthanasia are also planned.

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