President Muhammadu Buhari is vulnerable to defeat in the February 2019 election given his limited progress in promoting economic growth and tackling corruption and security issues, along with high-profile defections from his ruling All Progressives Congress. In a possible second term, Buhari would likely continue his focus on agricultural self-sufficiency and transport infrastructure, with little interest in measures to boost foreign investment. The opposition People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP) chances of victory were boosted by the primary victory of former vice-president Atiku Abubakar, without damaging party unity. Abubakar would be likely to streamline procedures to start a business and offer fiscal incentives, focusing on non-oil sectors. He has also pledged to privatize the state oil company, although he would face intense resistance from vested interests.
President Buhari secured another four-year term in the election on 23 February 2019, taking 55.6% of the vote. The main focus of government policy is again likely to center on transport infrastructure, especially railway reconstruction, and support for agriculture with the aim of promoting self-sufficiency and reducing the import bill.
President Macky Sall is a strong favorite to win a second term in elections scheduled for 24 February 2019, because of the dominance of his ruling Benno Bokk Yakaar coalition, and the absence of an opposition figurehead of stature after the incarceration of Dakar mayor Khalifa Sall on politically motivated corruption charges. Frequent protests are likely leading up to the election, particularly aimed at mobilizing support for former ruling Senegalese Democratic Party candidate Karim Wade. The son of former president Abdoulaye Wade has been in Qatar since his release in 2016 from a six-year sentence for corruption and is likely to be prevented from entering the country or to be arrested if he tries to return, sparking demonstrations in the capital, Dakar.
Sall was re-elected after winning 58.27% of the vote in Senegal's presidential election on 24 February. There is likely to be little change in the opening stages of Sall's second term from the current focus on public investment-led infrastructure projects, boosting power output, and preparations to facilitate oil and gas production from major discoveries by the end of the president's mandate in 2024.
Senegalese presidential election outcome
India's general election in the second quarter of 2019 is increasingly unlikely to return the strong, pro-business mandate that Prime Minister Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has enjoyed since 2014. Growing anti-incumbency sentiment is galvanized by unstable alliance of regionally based parties, rising inflation, and growing criticism of Modi's centralization of executive power. Even if the BJP remains the largest party in the lower house, it is unlikely to hold a simple majority and will depend on fragile coalition arrangements and Modi's personal charisma. Modi's pre-election policy agenda is highly likely to focus on reforms that would help improve agricultural income and address youth unemployment.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was re-elected for a second term, with his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) securing a majority in the parliamentary lower house with 303 of 543 seats, exceeding the simple majority mark by 31. Modi will formally undertake his second term on behalf of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), but the BJP's tally ended its need to rely on allied parties.
India insolvency regime outlook
Implications of recent BJP losses in Indian state elections
India election results
A brittle government coalition combined with low public support and international pressure will likely increase uncertainty ahead of the presidential vote slated for March–April, and parliamentary elections in October 2019. This puts further reforms, including agricultural land reform and the anti-corruption drive, in question. Failure to implement the reforms by the Petro Poroshenko administration and the Volodymyr Groisman government will also increase anti-establishment sentiment and the risk of social unrest. The business environment continues to suffer from the uncertainty brought by Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
On 21 April 2019, Ukraine held the second round of its presidential election; comedian/TV actor, Volodymyr Zelenskyi, won 73.23% of the vote. Incumbent President Petro Poroshenko, who was elected in May 2014, received only 24.26%. Zelenskyi is a political newcomer, who registered his Servant of the People (SoP) political party in December 2017 and announced his nomination in December 2018; he won in all regions of Ukraine, except for Lviv region in the west of the country.
Ukrainian election outlook
President Mauricio Macri is facing a major challenge given the sharp depreciation of the peso since May 2018, the need to resort to the IMF – an unpopular measure that revives memories of the 2001-2002 crisis, and the country in economic recession. This evidenced a loss of confidence in Macri’s economic model, while efforts to address the fiscal deficit are likely to trigger protests and strikes, as they will include deepening subsidy cuts. This will weaken Macri’s popularity ahead of the 2019 elections, but the Peronist opposition remains divided.
On 18 May, former Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (CFK) announced her candidacy for vice-president in the 27 October elections, running with presidential candidate Alberto Fernández. The move is likely to be an attempt to appeal to moderate Peronists in a highly polarised electoral scenario.
Cristina Fernández de Kirchner announced her candidacy for vice-president in the Argentina election
Market Briefing: Argentina, Brazil and Mexico under political pressure
Argentinean election uncertainty
Argentine presidential election preview
Argentina election preview
There is no clearly defined succession for President Abdelaziz Bouteflika arrangement if he decides not to stand for re-election in April 2019 or if deterioration in his health forces him to leave office. The constitution allows presidential contenders to submit their candidacy up to 45 days before the elections. Bouteflika’s delay to date in clarifying his intentions is likely to represent a government effort to reduce opposition to Bouteflika seeking re-election, or to a replacement candidate chosen by ruling elites, notably the army and the presidency. Lower oil revenues and the failure to diversify economically away from energy limit the state's ability to contain protest risks by undertaking social spending. Improvements to the business environment, such as tax reductions in the hydrocarbon sector, are likely to accelerate given pressure on government revenues and the need to attract investment, although radical change is unlikely.
In a statement on 21 May, the Algerian army chief of staff, Lieutenant-General Gaïd Salah, confirmed that the presidential election would held on 4 July, despite protesters calling for the vote to be cancelled until the election of a more representative government. The protest movement, which led to the resignation of former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika on 2 April, is opposed to the holding of elections that would include members of the ruling elite and individuals closely linked with Bouteflika.
In addition to these elections, our Economics and Country Risk experts can identify and advise on the potential implications around 2019 votes globally. Topics covered in our daily analysis include:
- Sectoral winners and losers: Which industries benefit the most from particular election outcomes and which will likely be hindered?
- Which industries are most exposed to the prevailing risks?