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These are the major elections NPR correspondents are watching

Updated July 08, 2024 at 13:44 PM ET

Elections have consequences.

2024 is an extraordinary year of global elections. Half of the global population are voting in their elections. They include people in the world's three largest democratic countries: India, the United States and Indonesia.

This great democratic exercise takes place at a time when concerns of democratic backsliding are on the rise, with technology turbocharging the process.

Throughout 2024, NPR's international correspondents are offering sound-rich storytelling and views from voters, thinkers and players. We also provide a global perspective to November's U.S. presidential election.


Here are some of the elections we have covered since January, and upcoming elections that our correspondents are closely following.


Parliamentary, Jan. 7

Election campaigning in Bangladesh was marred by violence, a government crackdown on critics and opponents, and the proliferation of AI-generated disinformation. The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party boycotted the vote. Sheikh Hasina and her Awami League continued their rule.

Related coverage
Bangladesh's prime minister wins overwhelming majority as opposition boycotts vote
Bangladesh's Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus faces trouble in his homeland


Presidential, Jan. 13

Taiwan's presidential election in January was seen as a crucial race that would shape the future of Asian security. The pro-independence candidate from the Democratic Progress Party (DPP), William Lai, won the election and was sworn in on May 20. On May 23, Beijing launched "punishment" drills around Taiwan, in what it said was a response to "separatist acts."

Related coverage
Taiwan's new president urges China to stop its military intimidation
China launches military drills surrounding Taiwan
Analysis: Taiwan's election was a vote for continuity, but adds uncertainty in ties with China

El Salvador

Presidential and legislative, Feb. 4

El Salvador's election was dominated by debate over the trade-off between security and democracy. Popular but authoritarian President Nayib Bukele surprised no one by claiming a landslide victory.

Related coverage
El Salvador's popular but authoritarian president declares election victory
The Sunday Story: The price of peace in El Salvador
El Salvador's president, Nayib Bukele, receives a warm welcome at CPAC


Parliamentary, Feb. 8

Pakistan has been convulsed by a political crisis since its Parliament ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan in 2022. Khan was jailed on corruption charges but continued to campaign for his party, including using an AI-generated voice to address supporters. Shehbaz Sharif became the prime minister after securing the military's backing.

Related coverage
Pakistan's new prime minister is also the country's old prime minister
Many Pakistanis appear to defy crackdown on popular leader as they vote in elections
The ultra-high-tech development in Pakistan's parliamentary election


Presidential and legislative, Feb. 14

Indonesia is home to the world's largest Muslim population and ranks as one of the biggest democracies, but its politics are dominated by a small group of powerful elites. Prabowo Subianto, a former general who was once banned from entering the U.S., was elected as president.

Related coverage
Election in Indonesia Presents a Challenge for the U.S.
Ex-general Prabowo Subianto claims victory in Indonesia's presidential election
3 things you should know about Indonesia's presidential elections


Presidential, March 15-17

President Vladimir Putin won another six-year term in a stage-managed vote, during which other candidates did not even criticize him. True critics were barred from running. Despite a costly war in Ukraine, Putin retains widespread support in Russia, thanks in part to increased political repression that criminalizes criticism and opposition.

Related coverage
After a quarter century in power, Russian President Putin isn't going anywhere
Why Russia holds presidential elections even though Putin is all but assured a win
Russian President Putin makes first trip since inauguration to critical ally China


Presidential, March 24

One of Africa's most stable democracies gave the world a fright in February when the incumbent President Macky Sall made a last-minute decision to postpone the elections, triggering a constitutional crisis. But after mass protests and an international outcry, the elections eventually went ahead in March, and Bassirou Diomaye Faye was voted in to become the youngest democratically elected president in Africa at the age of 44.

Related coverage
Little-known opposition leader in Senegal is named the next president
Voters in Senegal finally go to the polls this weekend after several delays
Senegal heads to the polls after delayed elections. Here's what you need to know

South Korea

Parliamentary, April 10

South Korea's parliamentary election was seen as a referendum on the conservative president, Yoon Suk Yeol. Yoon's personal scandals, antagonism toward political rivals and pursuit of closer relations with Japan have cost him popularity. The liberal opposition Democratic Party won a landslide victory in the National Assembly.

Related coverage
South Korea's opposition wins in landslide parliamentary elections
Elections reveal a growing gender divide across South Korea
A luxury Dior handbag rattles South Korea's politics


Parliamentary, April 19 - June 1

Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party won a third term leading the world's most populous country. The election results, however, were disappointing to Modi, who after a decade in power is facing critics inside and outside India over democratic backsliding, including his treatment of India's Muslim minority.

Related coverage
Indian leader Narendra Modi was sworn in for 3rd term as prime minister
What does the death of a jailed Jesuit priest say about India's democracy under Modi?
India's elections have included a wave of anti-Muslim rhetoric by Hindu nationalists

South Africa

Parliamentary, May 29

Amid economic woes and corruption scandals, South Africa's governing African, National Congress party, lost its majority for the first time since apartheid ended in 1994. Africa's oldest liberation movement must now share power in a coalition government in what was the biggest shake-up of the post-Nelson Mandela era.

Related coverage
South Africa's African National Congress loses absolute majority for the first time
Nelson Mandela's party could lose their absolute majority in South Africa
South Africa’s ruling party faces its greatest challenge yet in upcoming elections


Presidential and legislative, June 2

Claudia Sheinbaum, an environmental scientist and former mayor of Mexico City, was overwhelmingly elected Mexico’s first female president, a historic milestone in a country rife with gender-based violence and misogyny.

Related coverage
La Presidenta: Mexico Elects Its First Woman to the Presidency
A trailblazing feminist says Mexico’s ‘triumph’ of a first female president is no surprise
In Mexico's election, social programs could be a deciding factor for voters

European Parliament

Parliamentary, June 6-9

The far-right scored better than before across the European Union, but seems unable to form a parliamentary grouping that would give it real power. The three traditional centrist party alliances maintain their hold on power and are likely to accept the reappointment of Ursula von der Leyen as European Commission president. Policy is expected to shift away from the previous emphasis on hitting ambitious target goals.

Related coverage
Far-right gains in EU elections deal defeats to France's Macron and Germany's Scholz
European parliamentary election results offer a glimpse into EU priorities
Takeaways from the European parliamentary elections


Presidential, June 28 and July 5

On July 5, voters in Iran gave a decisive win to reformist candidate Masoud Pezeshkian, in the runoff election to replace late President Ebrahim Raisi, who was killed in a helicopter crash in May. During his campaign, Pezeshkian promised to engage more with the outside world if elected. But analysts say his proposals are modest, showing no inclination to push for significant changes to a government that leaves all important matters of state to Supreme Leader Ayatolla Ali Khamenei.

Related coverage
Reformist Masoud Pezeshkian wins Iran's presidential runoff
Iran will hold a runoff election between a reformist and a hard-liner
Here's what to know about Iran's presidential election
Iran's president died in a helicopter crash. Who will replace him?


Legislative, June 30 and July 7

In June, French President Emmanuel Macron shocked the country, and even some of his own centrist party, by calling early legislative elections. In the first round on June 30, the far-right National Rally party of Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella came first. Then politicians and voters mobilized to block the National Rally. After a high voter turnout in the July 7 runoff, the far-right did not win the majority that polls had forecast. Instead, a left-wing coalition won the most seats in parliament, Macron's centrists came second and the National Rally came third. But no party won an absolute majority, leaving the final makeup of government uncertain.

Related coverage
French left coalition comes out on top in elections, in shock upset over the far right
Here are key takeaways from France's election round 1, where the far right prevails
France's far right is gaining momentum for the first time since World War II

United Kingdom

Parliamentary, July 4

The center-left Labour Party won by a landslide — its first general election victory in 19 years, since under the leadership of Tony Blair. It was the worst defeat for the incumbent Conservatives in the party’s nearly 200-year history. Labour leader Keir Starmer takes over as U.K. prime minister from outgoing Conservative leader Rishi Sunak.

Related coverage
Britain swings to the center-left in historic U.K. election landslide
Who is Keir Starmer? A look at Britain's next prime minister
State of the World podcast: Are British Politics Broken?
Anger over the Gaza war fuels independent candidates in U.K. election


Presidential, July 28

Venezuela will hold its presidential election on July 28. In the run-up to the vote, the government, led by authoritarian leader Nicolás Maduro, has been accused of using a combination of dirty tricks, including banning some opposition politicians from running. Opinion polls suggest the main opposition candidate is on course to win. But the question is, will these elections be free and fair and the results honored?

Related coverage

In Venezuela, the Maduro regime is making it difficult for many people to vote
Venezuela's president faces criminal prosecution if he loses reelection in July
Venezuela’s regime aims to demoralize the opposition ahead of July's election
Venezuela's contest features songs of praise for the authoritarian leader

United States

Presidential and legislative, Nov. 5

President Biden and former President Donald Trump are likely headed for a rematch of the 2020 election. U.S. intelligence officials say multiple foreign actors are likely to target voters this time.

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