Geo-Economics and Politics

2024 is a record year for elections. Here’s what you need to know

A voter casts his ballot for midterm elections at a polling station in Marietta, Georgia, U.S.

The United States, India and Mexico are among the countries holding national elections in 2024. Image: REUTERS/Bob Strong

Victoria Masterson
Senior Writer, Forum Agenda
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Civic Participation

  • 2024 is a historic election year, with elections in 50 countries.
  • More than 2 billion voters will head to the polls in countries including the United States, India, Mexico and South Africa.
  • Geopolitical volatility is the biggest risk identified in the World Economic Forum’s Chief Risk Officers Outlook 2023.

2024 will be a record-breaking year for elections. Around the world, more than 2 billion voters in 50 countries will head to the polls, according to The Center for American Progress, a US policy institute.

The United States, India and Mexico are among the countries holding national elections in 2024.

Here’s a roundup of some key dates.

United States election

The US will head to the polls on 5 November, 2024.

More than 160 million Americans are registered to vote. They’ll be choosing the 60th US president, who will serve in the White House for four years, from January 2025.

Incumbent President Joe Biden hopes to secure a second term in office, while former President Donald Trump is hoping to secure a second, non-consecutive term.

Number of registered voters in the United States from 1996 to 2022.
In 2022, more than 160 million Americans were registered to vote in the United States. Image: Statista

India election

India’s election, between April and May 2024, will be the world’s largest, according to Chatham House, a UK policy institute .

More than 900 million people are registered to vote in India, out of a population of 1.4 billion. Current Prime Minister Narendra Modi hopes to be re-elected for a third five-year term.

India is the world's largest democracy and also an “increasingly important geopolitical actor” globally, Chatham House says.

Mexico election

On 2 June 2024, Mexicans will head to the polls. The country has almost 100 million voters and they will elect a new president to serve a six-year term.

For the first time in Mexico’s history, the two leading presidential candidates are women, explains the Wilson Center, a US think tank. The candidates are Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo, former mayor of Mexico City, and former senator Xóchitl Gálvez.

Ballot papers across Mexico will also include votes to fill more than 20,000 public positions – a record for the country.


European Union elections

In the EU, 2024 elections for the European Parliament will take place between 6 and 9 June 2024.

More than 400 million voters will elect 720 members of the European Parliament across 27 member countries.

Because the EU election crosses so many borders, it will be the world’s biggest transnational election, reports French news channel France 24.

South Africa election

South Africa’s election in 2024 is expected to be the country’s most important for 30 years.

The African National Congress (ANC) party has governed the country since 1994, when apartheid ended and Nelson Mandela became South Africa’s first Black president.

Now there’s uncertainty about whether the ANC can keep its majority, reports Bloomberg. A coalition government in South Africa looks possible, believes polling organization Ipsos – but “not guaranteed”.

More than 26 million South Africans are registered to vote, according to the Electoral Commission of South Africa.

Party choices of South Africans registered to vote.
Research by Ipsos suggests a coalition government in South Africa is possible, but not certain. Image: Ipsos

Other 2024 elections

Elections in 2024 will also take place in Taiwan, Indonesia, Russia, Iran and Pakistan.

Changes in policy, government regulation, interest rates and other areas could make 2024 a “tumultuous year,” Bloomberg suggests. The backdrop of war and economic shocks heightens potential geopolitical risks.

Number of new trade policy interventions against foreign commercial interests.
International trade is getting harder. Image: World Economic Forum

How is the World Economic Forum improving trade for more resilient societies?

Geopolitical risk

In its Chief Risk Officers Outlook 2023, the World Economic Forum finds that continuing volatility in geopolitical and geoeconomic relations between major economies is the biggest concern for chief risk officers in both the public and private sectors.

Most survey respondents for the report are expecting “upheavals at a global scale”.

This is “unsurprising given the ongoing war in Europe and continuing US-China economic tensions”, the Forum says.

But it also indicates a growing “adversarial” trend in international economic relations. Higher business costs, trade restrictions, market instability and “sharp swings in policies” are some of the factors underpinning this, the Forum finds.

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