7 key elections to look out for in 2018

From America’s mid-terms to Vladimir Putin’s likely re-election, these are the votes to keep an eye on in the coming year.

1. Russia – March

Vladimir Putin has been president of Russia for fourteen years, a period only briefly interrupted by his four years serving as Russian PM. The former KGB member is seeking another term as president.

If he wins, which considering the fact that opinion polls put his support in the 50s, 60s and 70s looks likely, his time spent at the very top echelons of Russian politics will have spanned a quarter of a century.

2. Italy – May

In May – or by May next year – Italy will elect a new Chamber of Deputies, the country’s main electoral body. The centre-left Democratic Party currently hold executive power, but opinion polls suggest that populist Five Star Movement could emerge as the largest party. Furthermore, it looks possible that Silvio Berlusconi could make one of the biggest political comebacks of the century.

Anything’s possible in Italian politics.

3. Mexico – July

In the middle of next year, the United States’ southern neighbour is going to the polls to vote for a new president, as well as a new Chamber of Deputies and Senate. In 2012, the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party won the presidency, as well as a plurality of seats in the chamber. The party’s presumptive presidential nominee Jose Antonio Meade hopes to secure another term for his party.

With the country’s current tense relationship with America's president, this should be a closely watched contest.

4. Sweden – September

This Scandinavian country is due to return to the polls late next year.

In 2014, the far-right Sweden Democrats surged in support, but a minority government was formed on the centre-left. Opinion polls indicate that the Sweden Democrats could come in second place although their support has been waning in recent weeks. Following the far-right’s successes in Austria and Germany in recent months, this is a significant electoral contest to watch out for.

5. Brazil – October

Brazilian politics in recent years has been dramatic to say the least. In 2016, then President Dilma Rousseff of the Workers' Party was impeached, leading to her departure from office. Her Vice President subsequently Michel Temer took over as president.

The 2018 election will be a major chance to see how the impeachment process has affected the Temer's Workers' Party.

6. United States of America – November

While most countries elect their main legislative bodies every four or five years, Americans go to the polls every two years to vote for the House of Representatives. In November, every single House seat will be contested, as well as a third of the seats in the senate. Following Doug Jones’ shock win in Alabama’s senate race last week, the Democrats are hopeful that they can take back the house and possibly even the senate. A Democratic win would be a serious blow to Donald Trump’s administration, and create a major roadblock on Trump’s path to a second term.

Expect a bitter contest.

7. Germany – (Possibly)

It’s possible that Angela Merkel will cobble together a deal with the centre-left SPD to form another grand coalition, but talks could end up sending the country back to the polls.

In mid-December, Euronews reported that some sort of deal is being discussed, but a big question mark continues to hover of Germany’s political future. After years of working with the CDU/CSU, the SPD have every incentive not to work with the centre-right once again, suggesting that a new election could be around the corner. If Germany goes back to the polls will anything changes? That remains to be seen. And if nothing changes, what then?

Germany could be in for its rockiest political ride in decades.