The Global Corner

Catie Gelting, Features Editor

Elections around the world

With the turn of a new calendar page, comes a series of elections which will shape the world. The past year brought many elections with global impacts that will continue to be seen in the coming elections. Past elections of importance (or just interesting ones) occurred in America, France, Germany, South Korea, and Liberia, just to name a few, but there are many more important elections that political junkies around the world are anxiously awaiting the results of in America’s midterm elections for example, and of course the Russian “election” in which the results are already known. Spoiler alert: Putin wins… again.

Liberia

The election in Liberia was not one that would catch the attention of most westerners, but it was an unusual one. To understand the election, one must first understand that Liberia was involved in a very long and bloody civil war. Ellen Sirleaf, the first woman to be democratically elected in an African country, brought six years of stability and prosperity to country following their civil war. When her six year term was up, the ballot was composed of her vice president, a soccer star, his ex-girlfriend, and two former Liberian warlords.

The election was originally scheduled for October of 2017 but was rescheduled suspiciously to the day after Christmas, creating low voter turnout.

Sirleaf’s priority for the country had been keeping Liberia out of war. George Weah, a famous Liberian soccer player campaigned on continuing Sirleaf’s peace, won him the presidency. The election echos the 2016 American election that has influenced the rest of the world by electing a famous person with little previous political background. Since Weah’s win, Sirleaf’s vice president, Joseph Boakai, took Sirleaf to court for “orchestrating his defeat”. Many political officials have questioned Weah’s previous political stances.

South Korea

An election that is less interesting but more important to international relations is the 2017 South Korean Presidential election. Moon Jae-in from the democratic party won the election with 41% of votes, defeating Hong Jun-pyo from the Liberty Korea Party and Ahn Cheol-soo from the People’s party. The election was to fill the position after the impeachment of former president Park Geun-hye after a corruption scandal that she is currently awaiting trial for.

Moon is strongly in favor of improving relations with North Korea which will directly affect all world leader’s international relations.

America

The 2018 midterm election campaigns for November are up and running. President Donald Trump’s approval ratings are extremely low which historically leads to a major turnover in Congress during midterm elections, and liberal democrats are certainly appearing motivated to bring a change into Congress with the midterms. However, because of distribution of the seats that will be filled, changing the majority in Congress will be difficult for democrats. To flip the majority in the House, they need to flip 24 seats and 2 seats in the Senate. For the House, all 435 seats will be up for reelection, but in the Senate, only 33 seats are up for reelection. But, even if Democrats win the majority of votes, that may not be enough to take the majority in congress. It is estimated that Democrats will need to win by a majority of between 53% to 58% of votes, which for American politics is a landslide. In addition, there is greater voter turnout for non-presidential elections among Republicans than Democrats. Democrats in this election will be split between defending their seats (since many are up for reelection) and taking the few republican seats that are up for reelection.