Tue, May 09, 2017 - Page 9 News List

The elections that the world should care about after France

By John Fraher and Alan Crawford  /  Bloomberg

The French presidential election is over, but political risk has not gone away. Here is a look at the other major elections coming up over the next 18 months.

May 9

South Korean presidential election

Who is competing?

Former opposition leader Moon Jae-in faces software tycoon Ahn Cheol-soo in the race to succeed conservative former president Park Geun-hye.

She was ousted amid a corruption scandal entangling some of the country’s most powerful conglomerates.

Hong Joon-pyo, who is backed by the latest iteration of Park’s party, is also running.

What do the polls show?

Restrictions are in place on the reporting of polling specifics. The most prominent candidates are Moon and Ahn.

What is at stake?

The result could shape the international response to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

Moon has signaled a softer touch to relations with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, while Ahn has backed the installation of a controversial US missile shield.

Both have endorsed measures to reduce the influence of South Korea’s chaebol conglomerates.

May 14

German North-Rhine Westphalia elections

Who is competing?

The Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD)-led coalition is to face off against Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU).

The SPD is in coalition with the Green Party. The Free Democrats, a traditional CDU ally, are also a force to be reckoned with.

What do the polls show?

The rust belt state is traditionally an SPD stronghold, but polls suggest the CDU is closing the gap.

With the Greens polling poorly and the Free Democrats on about 12 percent, there is a chance Merkel’s party could enter the coalition government or even take the state.

What is at stake?

The outcome would give a clear sense of voters’ mood four months from September’s federal election.

With nearly 18 million people, North-Rhine Westphalia accounts for more than one-fifth of Germany’s population.

May 19

Iranian presidential election

Who is competing?

Moderate President Hassan Rouhani is seeking a second term. Conservative Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf and conservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi are his leading challengers in the six-man race.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on all state matters, is thought to favor Raisi.

What do the polls show?

There are no reliable polls in the country. A survey published this week by state-affiliate Iranian Students Polling Agency showed Rouhani leading Raisi by 53 percent to 32 percent in a head-to-head race.

Against Qalibaf, Rouhani was ahead by 49 percent to 38 percent.

The remainder of those questioned would not back either candidate or refused to respond.

What is at stake?

The election is a referendum on Rouhani, who struck a deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

His main opponents say they would respect the deal, but the election of a hard-line president still raises the risks of a showdown with US President Donald Trump, who described it as a “disaster.”

A conservative could also be more hostile to foreign investors.

June 8

UK general election

Who is competing?

Prime Minister Theresa May wants to win a larger majority for her governing Conservative Party.

She faces an array of parties who want to thwart her, the largest of which is the Labour Party, followed by the pro-independence Scottish National Party and the Liberal Democrats.

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