election day
October 28, 2018

Brazilians head to the polls Sunday for a runoff vote between the two presidential candidates who performed best in a prior round earlier this month.

Far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro, who has been compared to President Trump, is expected to win. He narrowly failed to secure an outright victory in the first vote, and polling gave him a shrinking but still sizable lead heading into this weekend.

Bolsonaro's rival is Fernando Haddad of the leftist Workers Party. Haddad has gained momentum in recent days but took less than one-third of the initial vote.

Though he has praised Brazil's former military dictatorship, defending torture and extrajudicial killing, Bolsonaro is seen as an anti-corruption populist. Haddad represents the party of former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is in jail on corruption charges.

Results are expected Sunday night. Bonnie Kristian

July 1, 2018

Mexico goes to the polls Sunday to vote for a new president — the office is limited to a single, six-year term, so President Enrique Peña Nieto cannot run again — plus some 18,000 lower offices, including all congressional seats. Advance polling suggests left-wing populist candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador (also known by his initials, AMLO) holds a strong lead for the presidency.

More broadly, the election is focused on issues of corruption, drug-related violence, and President Trump's immigration policies, with candidates from across the political spectrum slamming Trump's approach. Mexico "will never be the piñata of any foreign government," López Obrador said on the campaign trail.

"A door opens for opportunity with Andrés Manuel," Marcos Fastlicht, who has known AMLO for two decades, told Politico. "He's willing to speak with [Trump], willing to sit and negotiate, but part of this requires we wait and see." Bonnie Kristian

June 24, 2018

Turkey votes in a presidential and parliamentary election Sunday, a snap election in which President Recep Tayip Erdogan is expected to face his most serious challenge in a decade and a half.

Erdogan called the election in April, planning to consolidate his party's parliamentary majority. Instead, opposition parties have displayed unusual unity, galvanized by the campaign performance of Muharrem Ince, the presidential nominee of the Republican People's Party (CHP).

Erdogan has claimed new powers and kept Turkey in a state of emergency since an attempted coup two years ago. If he wins another term, "Turkey enters a new era in which Erdogan will become the most powerful Turkish leader ever elected," said Soner Cagaptay of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute. Cagaptay and fellow critics of Erdogan's government argue he is undermining democratic institutions to expand his own authority.

Results are anticipated Sunday evening local time. Bonnie Kristian

May 20, 2018

The United States will not recognize the results of Venezuela's presidential election, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan announced Sunday.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is expected to secure another six-year term as his country goes to the polls despite the dire conditions Venezuelans face under his leadership. Venezuela has been in a state of crisis for several years, suffering grave shortages of food, medicine, and other necessities as well as hyperinflation.

Some of Maduro's critics are boycotting the election, which they say will be rigged regardless of participation, in an attempt to delegitimize Maduro's win. The two most popular opposition candidates have been banned from running by the Maduro government.

Sullivan indicated the U.S. is also considering oil sanctions on Venezuela and will broach the topic at Monday's G20 meeting in Buenos Aires. "We need to make sure we adhere to our goal which is to target corrupt regime officials and not the people of Venezuela," he said. "We don't want to damage the country in a way that makes it difficult to repair after democracy is restored." Bonnie Kristian

May 12, 2018

Iraqi voters head to the polls Saturday for the first time since the country declared victory over the Islamic State. Reports from Baghdad suggest low turnout, and of those who did try to vote, some were turned away because they have not received their new, biometric voting ID cards in time for the election.

Iraqi leaders attempted to bolster turnout by removing a security curfew and urging participation to keep corrupt or unpopular politicians out of office. "The lack of participation will give the opportunity for others to reach parliament and they will be very far from the aspirations of the people," warned Sheikh Abdul-Mahdi al-Karbalai, a representative of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

Incumbent Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has been credited with defeating ISIS but nevertheless faces stiff competition at the ballot box. Preeminent among his rivals is former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who has closer ties to Iran. Bonnie Kristian

March 18, 2018

Russian President Vladimir Putin faces seven challengers as voters go to the polls Sunday, but he is expected to easily win a fourth term for another six years in office. Advance polling suggests Putin boasts about 70 percent support, though critics say Russian elections are a pseudo-democratic exercise with a predetermined outcome.

"I voted for Putin," said Ust-Djeguta resident Lyubov Kachan, a teacher, in an interview with Reuters. "If anything is not going our way right now, that's thanks to the world which treats us so negatively, while he is trying to stand up to that."

Apathetic voters are under increased pressure to turn out this year, with some employers asking workers to provide proof that they voted. The mayor of the city of Yekaterinburg told The Associated Press officials "received orders 'from higher up' to make sure the presidential vote turnout is over 60 percent." Bonnie Kristian

October 22, 2017

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe won a resounding victory in Sunday's snap election. His Liberal Democratic Party-led (LDP) coalition is set to retain its two-thirds supermajority in Japan's lower house of Parliament, and Abe is likely to secure a record-setting third term next fall.

With a fresh mandate from voters, Abe is expected to push for changes to Japan's "pacifist" constitution, in which Article 9, drafted by the United States government in the wake of World War II, prohibits the maintenance of armed forces. In practice, the clause has served as a mandate for a strictly defensive military; Abe wants to move toward a more interventionist pose.

"First, I want to deepen debate and have as many people as possible agree," Abe said of his plans. "We should put priority on that." Bonnie Kristian

August 15, 2017

Alabama voters will cast ballots on Tuesday in Republican and Democratic primaries to pick their nominees for a Dec. 12 special election to replace Jeff Sessions, who gave up his Senate seat to become President Trump's attorney general. The Republican fight is getting all the attention, since Alabama is reliably Republican and hasn't had a Democrat in the Senate in 20 years. Trump has endorsed the incumbent, Sen. Luther Strange (R), in a series of tweets, including one Tuesday morning, and a robocall on Monday, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has contributed millions of dollars in ads for Strange through a super PAC.

Still, Strange is in a tough fight for second place with Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Al.), who is running as the anti-McConnell, pro-Trump candidate. The consistent frontrunner is Roy Moore, the former Alabama chief justice who gained fame as the "10 Commandments judge" for refusing to remove a 10 Commandments monument from the state courthouse despite a federal order, and then for ordering probate judges to ignore the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling establishing the right to same-sex marriage — both of which got him removed from the bench. He is promising this time to "drain the swamp." The top two vote-getters will face off on Sept. 26.

There are seven candidates on the Democratic side, but the two expected to make the runoff (or win outright) are former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones, endorsed by former Vice President Joe Biden and favored by local Democratic Party leaders, and business executive and Navy veteran Robert Kennedy Jr., who, like Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), is not related to the famous Kennedy political dynasty. Peter Weber

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