Democracy is in peril in the world’s bonanza year of elections

From the United States to the U.K. and European Union, from India to Mexico, and from Taiwan to Indonesia, some of the world’s most strategically important countries will hold elections | Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images Is 2024 the year when democracy hits a tipping point and slides toward autocracy? It may seem like an odd question to ask at a time when countries representing nearly half the world’s population, or an estimated 3.8 billion people, are sending their voters to the polls in some form of election. Indeed, from the United States to the U.K. and European Union, from India to Mexico, and from Taiwan to Indonesia, some of the world’s most strategically important countries will hold elections this year. Yet even amid this bonanza of balloting and voting, experts warn that dēmokratía — the form of government pioneered by aristocrats in 6th-century B.C. Athens — is entering a danger zone. You may like Not only are dictators such as Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei expected to try to exploit the trappings of democracy to prop up their own rule and stifle opposition, but democracy is also at risk in the West, they argue. U.S. President Donald Trump is threatening to weaponize democratic institutions against his political rivals if he wins re-elections next November. His potential re-election is already spreading panic in Europe that he will turn his back on Ukraine — and indeed on NATO — freeing Putin’s hand to rebuild Russia’s empire and influence networks in Central and Eastern Europe. In Europe, the EU election in June looks set to signal that far-right parties — perhaps most significantly in France and Germany — are building genuine momentum and turning into potential national governments that would be hostile to EU institutions […]

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By Donato