From Ukraine’s courageous defense of its own sovereignty and democracy to the ongoing demands for human rights and reform in Iran, there are many reasons for optimism about the future of the liberal democratic order. But this hope ought to be tempered by the fact that the two most important elections in the world this year—Turkey in May and Poland in the fall—will be administered by severely backsliding regimes that will likely subvert any chance of a fair contest and, in Turkey, may even descend into unfree authoritarianism. Turkey and Poland are also both headed by increasingly autocratic leaders who have demonstrated their willingness to undermine key democratic institutions—including an independent judiciary and a free media—to further their holds on power. Their upcoming elections will offer a glimpse into the future of democracy and have lasting impacts on the EU and NATO.


  • Dr. Cassandra Emmons Senior Democracy Data Analyst, International Foundation for Electoral Systems
  • Dr. Lisel Hintz Assistant Professor of International Relations, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies


  • Josh Rudolph Senior Fellow for Malign Finance, The Alliance for Securing Democracy