January 22, 2019  |  Updated January 24, 2019

Elections in 2019: Risks of More Interference

By Thomas Morley

The past year was a turbulent one for democracy in the transatlantic space. A rising tide of populism, nationalism, extremism, and illiberalism continued to upend politics. This affected elections in countries like Italy, where the ruling coalition is now made up of a far-right party and its anti-establishment ally, and Sweden, where the far-right Sweden Democrats party achieved the biggest gains in its 20-year history. Independent of elections, anti-democratic policies became more entrenched in countries like Poland and Hungary, while some in the United States viewed President Donald Trump’s attacks on the media as an attempt to undermine free speech. Finally, frustrations with the status quo led to the “Yellow Vests” movement in France and contributed to the seemingly unending political chaos in the United Kingdom surrounding Brexit.

These trends should continue in 2019 and could affect elections throughout the transatlantic community. In the European Parliament elections, far-right parties are expected to perform well. Ukraine, in many ways “ground zero” for Russian interference, will hold a presidential election, followed by parliamentary elections. Looming uncertainty in the United Kingdom about Brexit could trigger a general election and perhaps another referendum. On the other side of the Atlantic, the campaign for the 2020 presidential election in the United States will soon be in full swing, while Canada will hold federal elections.

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