Sunday, January 15, 2012

In the United States we know without question that this is the year of a Presidential election. Ads for/against specific candidates appear on television, radio and billboards.  Articles dissecting the latest trends the primary campaigns, words of the candidates fill websites, print media, blogs, and podcasts.  All of this taking place now, in January, when the election isn't due until November.

With all the media attention it’s easy to believe that the US election is the only one that will take place in 2012.  Notwithstanding that the outcome may have worldwide importance  it is only one of many presidential elections that will occur in 2012.

A look at the website Election Guide ( reveals that more than a dozen countries will elect their leaders this year.  The list includes nations often in the headlines:  Russia, France, Venezuela, Turkey and South Korea.  But that isn’t the complete list.  Voters go to the polls in Iceland, Ghana, Finland, and Slovenia, Mali, Turkmenistan, Sierra Leone and Kazakhstan.

Who will the new presidents be and when will we know? Before the November US election Presidents will be selected in other places.  For example January in Finland, Russia in March, and May is the month in France.  Check the list on Election Guide for all the dates to watch. 

As we think about these contests questions come to mind:  Will the timing of an early election shape the results in another place?  How will the Presidents chosen by the citizens in their country shape its connections to others, impact economic and trade policies?  Will cooperation be increased or reduced? For example,  will the relationship between Germany and France differ if the leadership changes and what might that mean for the world’s economic situation?

These questions remind us that we can’t watch just one election, the one in our own country any longer.  In our complex, connected world we must pay attention to the selection of leaders around the everywhere.

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