With An Unfinished Pandemic, Does Anyone Dare To Predict What 2022 Will Be Like?

Two years after the start of a pandemic that has changed everything politically, socially, and economically, and without having managed to eradicate it, the world is once again facing a new year conditioned by a virus that will continue to affect electoral processes, summits, and all kinds of events.

Despite everything, the world does not stand still and, in 2022, these will be some of the news events that will mark the global agenda, always with the permission of Sars-Cov-2.

ELECTORAL PROCESSES EVER MORE POLARIZED

Politically, without a doubt, two electoral processes will have a special role.

The so-called mid-term elections in the US, which renew part of the Legislature, will serve as a test to measure the popularity of a president, Democrat Joe Biden, who currently has control of both Houses, but whose image has begun to wear out. They are scheduled for November.

Whether Biden runs for reelection in 2024 will depend on those results, given that many of his co-religionists believe that his low popularity and advanced age do not make him a good candidate. In the event that he concurs again, he could also face a more than a well-known opponent, the Republican and controversial billionaire Donald Trump, who still leaves the daisy on his political future.

2022 will also be an electoral year in Brazil, with the far-right Jair Bolsonaro competing in October for his re-election with the leftist Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who has not yet confirmed his candidacy to return to the Presidency after his stay in prison. With a country completely divided between both candidates and especially shaken by the pandemic, the electoral appointment can mark a before and after for Brazilians.

Chile will have a new president in March 2022 and it will be the leftist Gabriel Boric, who overwhelmingly prevailed in the December 19 elections over his rival, the far-right José Antonio Kast.

Boric comes to power with a seriously conditional mandate, since he will have to lead a political process between two constitutional systems.

Colombia will also immerse itself next year in a double electoral process: in March of a legislative nature (to which the parties will arrive amid internal divisions) and in May to elect a president among more than a dozen candidates, a position that currently occupies the right-wing Iván Duque.

On the other side of the world, the focus is on the Philippines, involved in a complex electoral process with some no less picturesque candidates: Sara Duterte-Carpio (daughter of the current president, the controversial Rodrigo Duterte, whom some organizations accused of having committed a multitude of political abuses); and Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, first-born of dictator Ferdinand Marcos. A third contender for the Presidency is boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, Duterte’s former ally and current political rival. The result will be known in May.

These processes and some others show the rise that the extreme right and populism are taking in different parts of the world, in its different aspects: the United States with Trump, Brazil, and Bolsonaro, Hungary with Viktor Orban, Poland with Andrzej Duda, the Philippines with their clans family members and now Chile, among others, with movements that are also gaining ground in Spain, France or Italy, among others.

Meanwhile, the left, in some cases criticized for its lack of attachment to democratic values, adds to its traditional fiefdoms of Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Cuba, Bolivia, others such as Honduras or Peru.

THE PANDEMIC AND ECONOMIC RECOVERY

There is no doubt that these political processes and many others will be highly conditioned by the evolution of the world economy after the stoppage caused by the pandemic almost two years ago.

The institutions responsible for fiscal policy, such as the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, and those of Russia, China, India, or Japan, will have to decide whether to continue propping up the economy with stimulus measures at a time when the expected recovery It is reeling, spurred by the appearance of new outbreaks of the virus, as well as the energy and supply crisis unleashed worldwide.

Labor shortages or the unexpected rise in inflation, at historic levels in many Western countries, will also play a role in this expected recovery.

And economic instability could continue to provoke movements and social protests like those seen in recent months around the world, led by those most affected by the global shutdown.

NEW SUMMITS AND NEW DOUBTS ABOUT THEIR FORMAT

If the pandemic affected multilateral relations at all, it was undoubtedly by altering the form of communication between world leaders, which, as in many other sectors, has gone from being face-to-face to virtual.

Summits will continue to be held in 2022, such as the NATO summit scheduled in Spain for next June (with the crisis with Russia as a backdrop), the Ibero-American summit in the Dominican Republic before the end of the year, and the Americas summit somewhere. from the US and still without a date, which aims to have immigration as its axis, that of the Oceans in July in Lisbon, that of the G-20 in Bali (Indonesia) in October or, culturally, also in October, but without a defined date, the IX Congress of the Spanish Language in Arequipa (Peru).

The G7, with the most powerful countries in the world, will be led by Germany, although without the charismatic Chancellor Angela Merkel, while the EU will continue to hold at least two summits of heads of Government with an agenda that promises to be broad: fight against the coronavirus, economic stoppage, illegal immigration, Brexit fringes, legal clashes with some Eastern countries, and so on.

The world will also be watching next year for the health of great personalities who have suffered some ailment in 2021, such as Pope Francis or Queen Elizabeth II, who will celebrate her Platinum Jubilee, her 70th anniversary as British Queen.

And of the geostrategic movements of the great powers: China and the United States, with that perpetual struggle for world hegemony, together with Russia and its satellites, with fundamental conflicts such as the European Union-Belarus crisis, the tensions between Moscow and Ukraine, the conflict in Tigray (Ethiopia), the situation in Taiwan and the territorial claims on the island by Beijing, which also yearns to take positions in the Pacific.

Large migrations around the world, aggravated by the pandemic; respect for human rights -especially of the LGTBI collective or gender equality-; the fight against climate change and poverty or the regulation of modern social networks are issues that will also, almost certainly, continue to occupy attention in that unpredictable 2022.

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