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A super election year in 2024 provides the IPU with challenges and opportunities

According to the latest data compiled by the IPU on its data platform, Parline, 72 elections or renewals of parliamentary chambers will take place this year, compared to 65 last year. Among those, 55 parliamentary chambers will be directly elected while the others will be indirectly elected or appointed.

Roughly half the world’s population is expected to go to the polls in 2024, with some of the world’s most populous countries holding elections. The IPU will be closely following all the parliamentary elections, paying particular attention to gender equality and the average age of the legislators.

With 120 million eligible voters, Bangladesh was one of the first elections of the year. According to the preliminary results received by the IPU, women candidates won 20 of the 299 contested seats (down from 22 in 2018), with another 50 reserved seats for women to be confirmed once the new legislature convenes. As such, it looks like the proportion of seats held by women MPs in Bangladesh will remain around 20-21%, a similar percentage to the last chamber, elected in 2018, and below the global average, which currently stands at 26.9%.

Other populous countries that are also expected to hold elections this year include Algeria, India, Indonesia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mexico, Pakistan, the Russian Federation, South Africa, Ukraine and the United Kingdom. And some 400 million people will be eligible to vote in the European Parliament elections in June.

As well as the big countries, the list of 2024 elections includes several small island States: Tuvalu has just gone to the polls and will be joined by Kiribati, Maldives, Mauritius, Palau and Seychelles later in the year.

One of the issues with the US elections taking place in November will be not only the advanced age of the potential presidential candidates but also the high average age of the country’s lawmakers, currently 58 years old in the House of Representatives and 65 in the Senate, making Congress one of the greyest chambers in the world.

The latest IPU report on Youth Participation in Parliament revealed that parliaments in general are getting slightly younger, with small increases in the number of parliamentarians under 45 years old. However, despite this progress, parliaments are still a long way from representing young people proportionately.

IPU data also shows that parliamentary chambers with younger MPs tend to be more gender-balanced, with more women present.

No doubt that trend will be confirmed in a few weeks when the IPU publishes its annual report on Women in Parliament, based on elections that took place in 2023.

See also IPU’s landmark Declaration on the criteria for free and fair elections.

IPU Secretariat, Geneva