The French presidential election is over. But political risk hasn’t gone away. Here’s a look at the other major elections coming up over the next 18 months.
LONDON — The French presidential election is over. But political risk hasn’t gone away. Here’s a look at the other major elections coming up over the next 18 months.
Tuesday: South Korean presidential election
Former opposition leader Moon Jae-in faces software tycoon Ahn Cheol-soo in the race to succeed conservative Park Geun-hye. She was ousted amid a corruption scandal entangling some of South Korea’s most powerful conglomerates. Hong Joon-pyo, who’s backed by the latest iteration of Park’s party, is also running. The most prominent candidates are Moon and Ahn.
What’s at stake? The result could shape the international response to North Korea’s nuclear-weapons program. Moon has signaled a softer touch to relations with Kim Jong Un, while Ahn has backed the installation of a controversial U.S. missile shield.
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Both have endorsed measures to reduce the influence of South Korea’s family-owned conglomerates.
May 19: Iranian presidential election
The incumbent moderate president, Hassan Rouhani, is seeking a second term. Conservative Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf and conservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi are his leading challengers in the six-man race. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on all state matters, is thought to favor Raisi.
A survey published this week by state-affiliate Iranian Students Polling Agency showed Rouhani leading Raisi by 53 percent to 32 percent in a head-to-head race. Against Qalibaf, Rouhani was ahead by 49 percent to 38 percent.
The remainder of those questioned wouldn’t back either candidate or refused to respond.
The election is a referendum on Rouhani, who struck a deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. His main opponents say they would respect the deal, but the election of a hard-line president raises risks of a showdown with U.S. President Donald Trump, who described it as a “disaster.” A conservative could also be hostile to foreign investors.
Sept. 24: German federal election
Chancellor Angela Merkel, in office for 12 years, is seeking a fourth term. Her main challenger is Social Democrat Martin Schulz, a former European Parliament president. A record four other parties — the Left, Greens, Free Democratic Party and the Alternative for Germany — also are poised to win parliamentary seats.
Merkel’s bloc of Christian Democrats and Bavaria’s ruling CSU party leads the Social Democrats in all polls, though Schulz’s campaign hasn’t hit full gear yet. Possible coalitions could include an SPD-Green-Left alliance and a CDU/CSU-FDP-Green combination. Polls say the biggest share of voters prefers a rerun of Merkel’s “grand coalition” with SPD.
Merkel is the most powerful European leader of modern times and sets the tone on everything from fiscal policy to the EU’s stance on Russia.
Schulz is a pillar of the political establishment, so a victory for him would see more continuity than change.
But a defeat for Merkel would see Germany — and Europe — lose her clout and experience on global affairs.
By late May 2018: Italian general election
Ex-Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is likely to run for the Democratic Party of current premier Paolo Gentiloni. He would probably face Luigi Di Maio, vice-president of the lower house, from the anti-establishment Five Star Movement. Other candidates are expected to include Matteo Salvini, of the anti-immigrant Northern League.
Surveys show the Five Star Movement is neck and neck with the Democratic Party. An Ixe poll on May 5 showed them tied at 28 percent. The Northern League was at 13 percent, and the Forza Italia party of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi had 12 percent. Who will win, and the make-up of any coalition, depends in part on electoral reform in coming months.
Di Maio’s Five Star has called for a referendum on Italy’s euro membership but has no clear plan on how to replace the currency. It will also decide the political fate of Renzi, a politician who wants to clean up the banking system, boost investment and speed up the judiciary to help revive an economy that has barely grown since the launch of the euro.
July 2018: Mexico presidential election
Two-time presidential candidate and radical populist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will likely face Margarita Zavala of the National Action Party, wife of former President Felipe Calderón. Miguel Angel Osorio Chong is the candidate for the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party. The candidacies have yet to become official and the field may change.
Lopez Obrador, of the Morena party, is the leading contender in most polls, followed by Zavala. Osorio Chong is a distant third.
Lopez Obrador has said he’d seek to legally overturn the country’s landmark energy reform if he’s elected, and his combative style may make NAFTA renegotiations with the Trump administration far more divisive.