Global events to watch out for in 2019

Since Narendra Modi became Prime Minister of India in 2014, followed by Donald Trump winning the US Presidency in 2016 and the Brexit vote, the world at large has seen a collective move towards the far-right. The following events in 2019 will determine if progressive politics will be salvaged, or obliterated:

Will Trump be impeached?

Despite increasing clamour for US President Donald Trump’s impeachment amongst Democratic and progressive circles, he will likely complete his term. The Robert Mueller investigation will continue to build a case against him and his associates, but it will not lead to Trump’s impeachment. The reason is quite simple—Trump’s impeachment is not in the US’s best interest.

For all his ineptitude and bluster, Trump is president at a time when the US’s role as world leader has significantly diminished. Already the subject of ridicule and arguably bad foreign policy decisions, the US cannot afford to impeach its president and open itself to further global criticism. The trade war against China that Trump has blindly led the US into needs his lack of leadership to blow over.

Trump’s key campaign promises including the border wall will remain moving goal posts that will only add to the news cycle. The federal shutdown will continue through most of January and will end with Trump ultimately caving in, once Fox News tells him to do so.

The American presidential campaign for 2020 will gain momentum in the second half of 2019. Until and unless the Democrats field a candidate who appeals to the swing states, we may see a repeat of 2016 and the US—and the world—may be saddled with Trump for another four years.

Brexit deadline looms

The deadline to begin the 21-month transition period for the UK to exit the EU is March 29, 2019. However, given that a deal still hasn’t been reached between the EU and the British government, the latter may attempt to seek an extension beyond the March deadline.

In such a scenario, the British economy will continue to remain volatile as global financial institutions enact contingency plans to move out of London. That is, if British Prime Minister Theresa May is not voted out first.

Cold War II

As Trump withdraws American troops from Syria, Russia will look to fill in the vacuum.

Despite Trump’s proximity to Russia President Vladimir Putin, we may see a deescalated iteration of the Cold War where the world will once again be divided into super-blocs. The third bloc this time, however, will not be non-aligned, but in all probability will mean allying with China.

The world will vote

A few significant elections, including India’s Lok Sabha polls, will be held across the world in 2019. General elections in Africa’s most populous and largest economy, Nigeria, are scheduled for February 16, 2019. Ukraine’s presidential election is scheduled for March 31. Haunted by the looming sceptre of Russia, the former member of the Soviet Union doesn’t have a favourite yet. The Afghanistani presidential election is scheduled for April 20 and the incumbent, Ashraf Ghani, is seeking a second term. More than the candidates, the world will observe if, despite its worsening security situation, Afghanistan can hold free and fair elections.

The European Parliament (EP), the EU institution that ultimately selects the president of the European Commission, will hold its elections between May 23 and 26. In light of the political turmoil in Europe wherein far-right parties have been gaining power, these elections may well decide the future course, if any, of EU. And if UK manages to leave EU in March, the EP will have fewer seats, 709 instead of 751.

South African general elections which will be held between May and August have already seen a favourite, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa emerge. The incoming president will have to grapple with South Africa’s economic recession, and rising corruption.

Argentina goes to polls in October, and its biggest concern is its floundering economy. Canada’s federal elections are scheduled for October 21, and the once popular Justin Trudeau will have to battle the resurrected Canadian conservatives. Israel also has to go to vote before November 5. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proximity to Donald Trump will be a key factor in determining the results.

12th African Games to take place in Morocco

The 12th African Games will take place in Casablanca and Rabat in Morocco. The pan-African games that are held once every four years will take place form August 23 to September 3, 2019. This will be the first time that the games will be hosted by two cities.

Aditi Agrawal is a senior sub editor at Qrius

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