The Top Elections to Watch in 2018—and What Will Happen

November 22, 2017, 7:56 PM UTC

The world will be watching when these countries go to the polls next year.

The article is part of the Fortune 2018 Crystal Ball, our predictions for the year ahead. Find the whole list here.

United States

Democrats will have the numbers in the 2018 midterm election, but we predict it still won’t be enough for them to take the House. Urban clustering (and gerrymandering) favors Republicans so heavily that not even a presidential approval rating below 40% will be enough to put Nancy Pelosi back in the House Speaker’s seat. The Senate, meanwhile, is an even longer bet.

United Kingdom

A snowballing sexual harassment scandal in Parliament and divisions over Brexit will coalesce into a force strong enough to bring down Theresa May’s government. The Labour Trump’s Triumph, and the EU’s Crisis In the year ahead, India’s economy will climb, Britain’s delicate Brexit negotiations are likely to derail, and the U.S. will see a pivotal election. Party’s Jeremy Corbyn will become U.K. Prime Minister and will try to complete Brexit negotiations with the EU (hoping to create a socialist paradise outside the “neoliberal” EU’s Single Market). The foreign exchange and bond markets will push back, hard.


The most likely outcome of Italy’s early 2018 election is a coalition between the centrist Democratic Party and Forza Italia. But the Eurosceptic Five Star Movement is also polling well. Its populist leader, 31-year-old Luigi Di Maio, wants to ditch many EU rules (or pull out of the Single Market entirely), worrying business.


When Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto finishes out his six-year term ends next year, his replacement may not be as willing to make nice with the U.S. Right now, the top polling candidate is populist Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador, widely expected triumph next July, and whose popularity has been partly driven by Donald Trump-fueled Mexican nationalism. Some economists fear his election could lead to the reversal of years of market- and business-friendly reforms in the country.


Sometimes referred to as the “Brazilian Donald Trump,” the controversial populist and former army captain Jair Bolsonaro will be a force to contend when Latin America’s largest economy goes to the polls next fall.


While the country’s president hasn’t even officially said he’s running for reelection, we’ll go ahead and call this one for Vladimir Putin.

A version of this article appears in the Dec. 1, 2017 issue of Fortune as part of the Fortune 2018 Crystal Ball package. Click here to see our full list of predictions.

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