The coming year looks set to be a turning point for many countries across the world.
1. Crunch-time in Germany
Since September, Germany has been without an effective government. The election was a significant moment for the smaller parties as the governing coalition lost a significant share of the votes and seats. Angela Merkel remains chancellor, but failed talks with the FDP and the Greens puts her in a precarious position. Her party is currently discussing some sort of deal with her former SPD allies, but if no arrangement is made, the country could go back to the polls for the second time in fewer than six months. Such an outcome would be historic on so many levels.
2. The Brexit deal
With phase one more or less complete, the UK and EU are moving on to the next phase of discussions. According to the Independent, the EU’s Michel Barnier wants a Brexit deal agreed by October 2018. That will give both sides enough time to vote on the final arrangement ahead of the day the UK enters into a traditional arrangement in April 2019.
The first set of talks were an uphill battle for the British government, and 2018 looks set to be just as difficult as the prime minister attempts to balance competing forces within her cabinet, party and the wider parliament.
3. America’s elections
The US’ midterm elections have the power to shift the country’s entire political scene. The Republicans currently control the presidency, the House and the Senate, but a good showing from the Democrats would lead to a severely weakened Trump administration. Mid-term elections traditionally have significantly lower turnouts than on-year elections, but the vote is the first real national test of Trump’s leadership. A good showing from the Democrats could reopen the door to Republican infighting and raise the possibility of a challenge to Trump’s presumptive Republican presidential nomination come 2020. Watch this space.
4. Any British by-election
With the DUP by their side, the Conservatives have the slimmest of majorities. By-elections in the right areas could lead to the government's grip on parliament being greatly reduced. Any seat where Labour, the SNP or the Liberal Democrats are second would present a major headache for the Conservatives.