Millions of people around the world went to the polls this year. Nigerians voted out their incumbent president and elected a former military dictator in his place. British voters surprised the experts predicting another hung parliament by giving the Conservative Party a majority in the House of Commons. Turks got to vote twice , denying the Justice and Development Party a parliamentary majority in June elections but giving it one in November elections. These are just a few of the elections that made news in 2015. The world will have plenty of important elections in 2016. Here are ten to watch.
Taiwan’s Presidential Election, January 16 . Things don’t look good for Taiwan’s ruling Kuomintang Party (KMT). The KMT initially selected Hung Hsiu-chu , known as “ little hot pepper ” for her fiery style, as its presidential standard-bearer. But she was trailing so badly in the polls that she was dumped from the ticket in late October in favor of Eric Chiu , the KMT’s party chair. Despite the switch, Tsai Ing-wen , chair of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), remains favored to win. She will make history if she does; Taiwan has never had a woman president . Beijing will be following the election closely. The DPP has long championed the idea of a distinct Taiwanese identity and called for Taiwan’s independence. Tsai says she will maintain the status quo in cross-strait relations, but some of her critics say she won’t .
Uganda’s Presidential Election, February 18. Yoweri Museveni must like being president of Uganda. He has held the job since 1986 and is seeking another five-year term. Uganda’s main opposition parties have formed a coalition to oppose his reelection. His main competition will likely come from two men who were once close to him. Kizze Besigyewas Museveni’s personal doctor before they had a falling out. Besigye has tried and failedthree times to defeat Museveni at the ballot box. Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi declared in June that he would seek the presidency as an independent candidate . Museveni has used both carrots and sticks to divide and intimidate his opponents— Besigye was arrested for endangering the public order. As a result, many Ugandans doubt that the election will be free and fair, or that it can lead to power changing hands .
Bolivia’s Constitutional Referendum, February 21 . Bolivian presidents can serve only two terms . However, incumbent President Evo Morales , who has been in office since 2005, is now in his third. Bolivian courts ruled that his first term didn’t count against the limit because it was under an old constitution. But now that Morales is in his second term under the new constitution, his supporters have arranged for a national referendum that would allow him to serve one more term, meaning he could stay in office until 2025. Morales pledged not to seek another term during his reelection campaign last year, but he isn’t calling for a “no” vote. Bolivians might, however. Despite Morales’s immense personal popularity , many Bolivians are skeptical about scrapping term limits.
Iran’s Parliamentary Election, February 26. Iranians go to the polls in February to choose who will sit in two different bodies : the Islamic Consultative Assembly and the Assembly of Experts . The first is the official name of Iran’s Parliament. The second is the body in charge of electing Iran’s Supreme leader . The parliamentary elections will shape whether Iranian President Hassan Rouhani can move ahead with his reform agenda . Conservatives have succeeded in blunting Rouhani’s efforts so far. The elections for the Assembly of Experts matter because Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei , is seventy-six-years-old and rumored to be in ill-health . Of course, how much elections can change Iranian policy is questionable; Iran’s Guardian Council , the country’s most powerful body, decides who gets to run in Iran’s elections.
Peru’s Presidential Election, April 10. Keiko Fujimori is the favorite to be elected Peru’s next president. If her last name sounds familiar, it’s because her father, Alberto Fujimori , was Peru’s president from 1990 to 2000. He’s now in prison, having been convicted of a range of crimes . If the younger Fujimori wins, she will accomplish a rare political feat: becoming president after being first lady. Her father divorced her mother during his first presidential term and made Keiko first lady . Fujimori’s presidential bid has been helped by fact that Peru’s incumbent president, Ollanta Humala , whom she lost to back in 2011, is sticking to his long-standing pledge not to run for reelection. Fujimori’s main rival is former Prime Minister and Finance Minister Pedro Pablo Kuczynski . If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, the two highest vote getters will square off in a run-off election .