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A World on Edge in 2024

Any way you look at it, a global geopolitical reconfiguration appears to be underway. What comes next will be shaped significantly by developments over the next year, not least the outcomes of elections in 76 countries, plus the European Union.

NEW DELHI – Israel’s devastating war in Gaza, Russia’s bloody invasion of Ukraine, America’s extraterritorial assassinations, and China’s aggressive expansionism all point to one conclusion: the global system that emerged after World War II is giving way to a world without order. But while the upheaval is undeniable – and being compounded by a reshuffling of trade and investment flows, rapid technological advances, and profound demographic shifts – what will emerge from it remains an open question.

The coming transition could be illuminated or even accelerated by the outcome of key elections this year, when 4.2 billion people will be eligible to vote in 76 countries, making 2024 the biggest election year in history. Elections will be held in eight of the world’s ten most populous countries (Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Pakistan, Russia, and the United States) – and the European Union.

This year’s raft of elections will serve as a gauge of the state of democracy globally. With autocracy on the rise, there is plenty of cause for concern. In fact, the new year kicked off with controversy-fueled elections in two democracies in the Global South: Bangladesh and Taiwan. In Bangladesh, the opposition boycotted the election altogether, calling it a sham, and as expected, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina secured a fourth consecutive term in office.