The “Biggest Election Year in History” Has Arrived – Are We Ready to Stand for Democracy?

The Economist has called 2024 “the biggest election year in history.” TIME Magazine deems 2024 “the ultimate election year.” The World Economic Forumhails 2024 as a “record year” for elections. No matter how you slice it, 2024 is shaping up to be a historic year for democracy.

In this edition, we walk you through what will be going on this year, what these contests may mean for the survival of democracy, and some concluding thoughts on how democracy can come out of this year stronger than ever.

What is happening?

As you could probably guess from the quotes above, this is a year in which over 60 countries, containing half of the world’s population, have held or are expected to hold major elections. These include presidential elections, legislative elections, regional elections, and combinations of these three simultaneously.

There is also the potential for some major electoral milestones, as Mexico’s leading presidential candidates are both women and India partakes once more in what one source calls “the world’s largest electoral exercise.”

What is at stake?

While we believe every democratic election, no matter the size, is important, 2024 is a year containing many high-profile elections. Taiwan, one such example, kicked off the year with dual presidential and legislative elections while the US, South Africa, Indonesia, and UK are also all set to hold national elections this year. On top of that, 27 members of the European Union will hold elections for the European Parliament. Each of these contests, given their sizes, can have effects extending beyond any national borders.

As a result of so many elections being held this year, one Nobel Peace Prize Laureate argues that “we will know whether democracy lives or dies by the end of 2024.” Factors identified by the Democracy Perceptions Index as threats to democracy, including inequality, corruption, fraud, and interference are on the minds of citizens and policymakers alike as they head to the polls. Even in established democracies, these threats to democracy remain very real and become much more dangerous when citizens take democratic institutions for granted.

Looking forward

So where does this leave us? Should we just cross our fingers and hope for the best in this “super year?”  Naturally, we can wish all the best to citizens of democratic countries besides our own in their elections, but we should not just sit back and/or remain silent when democracy is under siege elsewhere. Stated simply, a threat to democracy anywhere is a threat to democracy everywhere.

Given its “once-in-a-lifetime status,” it is easy to compare this year to something such as a comet passing by or a solar eclipse in our hometowns. However, unlike natural phenomena, it is critical for us to remember that democracy is something built by us and for us. If we want more “super years” of elections like 2024 in the future, it is up to us to make sure democracy continues to thrive.

In the picture below, see the countries marked in red that have already had, plan to, or are expected to have some sort of national election in 2024.

1706438665650 – Assembly Voting

Related ,

The Democratic Citizen

The Democratic Citizen

Citizens of “democratic” countries tend to think that living in such a place automatically makes them “democratic citizens” – after all, they are free to

Read More

Did you find this interesting?

Share it with your network

Scroll to Top