Numerous emerging markets are going to the polls in 2019. We survey some of the key results so far and look ahead to the big votes in the second half of the year.

An illustrated look at the elections that matter in 2019.


Presidential election - February

Muhammadu Buhari won a second term as president with an increased majority. Turnout fell amid voter dissatisfaction with Buhari’s progress on his three priorities: corruption, security and reforming the economy, which is still heavily reliant on oil.


General election - March

Former junta chief Prayut Chan-o-cha became prime minister in June after a contested election result and a month of parliamentary horse-trading.


Local elections - March

In a blow to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the opposition party candidate was elected the mayor of Istanbul. Turkey’s electoral board bowed to political pressure to annul the results and called a new election in June, which resulted in the same outcome.


Generel election - April

In a television show, ‘Servant of the People’, Volodymyr Zelensky played a schoolteacher who accidentally becomes president. This year he became president for real, winning a huge majority in April’s election on an anti-corruption ticket. Zelensky has sought to reassure sceptical investors by affirming his commitment to reform and refusing populist calls to default on government debt.


General election - April

Joko Widodo beat retired general Prabowo Subianto to win his second term in office as Indonesia’s president, reflecting the popularity of his efforts to tackle corruption, boost growth and reduce poverty. Investors will be hoping for more progress on infrastructure investment and cutting red tape.


General election - May

Having won a decisive victory at the Indian election, Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party is expected to use its majority to press ahead with policies to drive economic growth, such as liberalising the labour market and infrastructure development. But while investors welcomed the result, Modi’s divisive brand of Hindu nationalism is a lingering concern.

South Africa

General election - May

As expected, the African National Congress (ANC) won the general election, but with a reduced parliamentary majority. President Cyril Ramaphosa will now try to tackle corruption to win back disaffected voters, without alienating powerful elements of the ANC. Reforming land laws and bailing out the troubled state energy provider Eskom are other priorities.


Mid-term election - May

Populist President Rodrigo Duterte strengthened his position as key allies won seats in the Senate.


General election - October

President Mauricio Macri’s hopes of winning re-election have been damaged by last year’s currency crisis, which stoked inflation and plunged Argentina into recession. He will hope his record in building infrastructure will help him see off populist opposition. Elsewhere in Latin America, Bolivia and Uruguay also hold general elections in October.


Parliamentary election - End 2019

The Law and Justice Party (PiS) bids to maintain its outright majority in the next Polish Parliament. The Eurosceptic PiS won the most votes at the European Elections in May, ahead of a centrist coalition.


Presidential election - End 2019

President Klaus Iohannis bids for re-election. Iohannis is running on an anti-corruption ticket; in May, voters backed him in a referendum on banning amnesties for politicians accused of graft.

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