In the grand world of politics there is a lot we can get excited about in this coming year so, without further-ado, let’s get started:
15th March: is the time for Geert Wilders to pick up in 2017 where 2016 left off in terms of right-wing populism as votes are cast in the Dutch General Election. Another Eurosceptic leader who wishes to follow Brexit with Nexit is the frontrunner in next month’s election currently polling just over 30%. His performance could be a real indication as to whether last year was just a political anomaly or whether populism will continue to flourish when the people of Holland elect a new House of Representatives.
April – June: the face of French politics is soon to change as France undergoes both presidential and legislative elections. Four candidates have a realistic chance of succeeding Francois Hollande as President of the French Republic; Benoît Hamon, dubbed the Bernie Sanders of French politics and candidate for the Socialist Party, faces up with Emmanuel Macron, who defected from Hamon’s Socialist Party and created his own, En Marche, to unite the broken left and right less than a year ago. Also contending is Francois Fillion, the initial frontrunner who has since dropped out of the top two in the polls and consequently a place in the run-off having been hampered by a scandal involving illegal payments made to his wife and sons, and Marine Le Pen, the far-right eurosceptic calling for similar policies proposed by President Trump in America, and someone who has gained international recognition for not only her controversial stance on certain issues, but also for the fact she has a promising path to victory with polls giving her a likely victory in the first round, however, her problem lies with the fact that she remains behind all her opposition for the head-to-head second round, the contest that ultimately determines who becomes the 25th President of France.
24th September: this is the day Germans will go to the polls and ask themselves whether Angela Merkel and her Union Party deserve another 4 years in office. She faces much stiffer opposition than she did in 2013 when she won in a landslide, for a renewed Social Democrat Party led by Martin Schultz experienced a surge in the polls towards the end of January and is now nearly within the traditional 5% margin of error that lie within polling. Add to that the threat of Frauke Petry’s Alternative for Germany which is riding off the wave of 2016’s populism and the domestic criticism to Merkel’s somewhat lenient policy towards immigrants, and we can conclude that Merkel’s authority at home will be severely weakened for she is undoubtedly set to lose dozens of seats in September, if not the Chancellorship.
Other Notable Elections: include the Indian Presidential election in which once again we will witness the largest democratic exercise take place in the world’s second most-populated country, and the South Korean presidential election which has seen in its build up the grossly unpopular incumbent President, Park-Geun-Hye, be impeached.
Outside of Elections: we can expect to see and hear a lot more about Donald Trump and his ongoing battles with the media, Congress, Democrats, Republicans, and, well, pretty much everyone. Will he reimpose his travel ban, will he take part in a state visit to the UK, how much influence will he really have on policy or will he just be a puppet to some Republican mastermind – it is hard to believe we are even asking questions about a President of the United States of America, but be prepared for many of these to finally be answered. Anyway, back at home, the ongoing process of Brexit will only become more of a headline-maker when, sometime later this year, the all-important Article 50 will be triggered. Moreover, how will the EU deal with possibly more populist decisions made by voters across Europe; will 2017 be the final nail in its coffin? Get ready for all these questions (and a lot more) to be answered right here on [the retrospect]
Until next time,