As the final voting results from last week's provincial elections in Iraq are finally tallied and analyzed, critics and pundits alike have been busy evaluating the impact these regional contests have had, and will continue to have, on the region for the foreseeable future.In December, RealClearWorld presented you with our own list of the most significant elections of 2008. And with last week's polls in Iraq as the opening act of what should be an eventful year of elections and power shifts around the world, RCW now gives you our list of the Most Important Elections of 2009.
These five races - spread across Asia and Europe, and affecting the lives and freedoms of millions - could have policy implications, both domestic and abroad, for decades to come. What path will Germany and Japan - two major global economies - take in 2009? How will elections in Afghanistan affect the leadership makeup in Kabul, and will they be as friendly to NATO and the west as the current regime?Israel and Iran - two nations feared to be on an inevitable collision course - will both hold elections this year. Would a new executive in Iran alter Tehran's frigid relationship with the United States? What will new leadership in Jerusalem mean for the Mideast peace process, or the still smoldering conflict in the Gaza Strip? The polls in Israel open in less than 24 hours (RCW will be covering the election live Monday night into Tuesday afternoon), and with that, the course of an entire region may change.
These questions and conjectures will only be fully answered in time, but all five of these elections may provide the world with an idea of how global affairs will unfold in the weeks, months and even years to come.No. 5 Afghanistan