Originally published on The Rationalists (therationalists.org)
People often say that a new year is a new beginning, but the shadow of 2016 appears to have been cast directly over a blissfully unaware 2017. The affairs of the year past will have long running consequences that will surely span decades, but 2017 will bear the brunt of it; from the inauguration of a new American President to the beginning of negotiations regarding Britain leaving the European Union, 2017 will not be lacking in globally significant events. As such, it seems fitting to cover what we know will be occurring over the next 12 months; so here we have it, the internationally important dates that will be taking place this year:
20th of January- The Presidential Inauguration
Donald Trump, the New York real estate mogul behind the Trump Organisation, is destined to become the 45th president of the United States of America, arguably the most powerful position on the planet. President-Elect Trump, aged 70, famously ran against the favourite to win the presidency, Hillary Clinton, on a platform of immigration reform and trade deal renegotiation. Trump’s win was not without controversy; while Trump won the Electoral College vote, Clinton won the popular vote, leading to widespread protests and boycotts of Trump-owned businesses. While this activity has died down within recent weeks, it is expected to ramp up as we get closer to the inauguration, as well as far beyond.
22nd of January– The French Socialist Party presidential primary
After the incumbent President, François Hollande, announced on the 1st of December 2016 that he would not be seeking a second term in office, the presidential primary scheduled for January would suddenly go without the previous favourite to win. With Hollande out of the running, Manuel Valls began to lead in the polls; a position he maintains to this day. Voting will take place on the 22nd of January; with a runoff vote on the 29th if the neither of the two most popular candidates break through the barrier of 50%.
12th of February- The German presidential election
Unlike in many other countries, the President of Germany does not hold executive power, even though they are technically the head of state. The Presidency is a more ceremonial role, much in the way that the Queen of the United Kingdom is the head of state, regardless of her holding little physical power, however; unlike the Queen, the President is elected into their position, albeit by the parliament rather than the populace, and they are also allowed to voice an opinion and suggest proposals. The predicted successor to the independent president, Joachim Gauck, is Frank-Walter Steinmeier, from CDU/CSU, commonly known as the Union parties; Steinmeyer is predicted to win this election by an overwhelming margin.
March- Triggering of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty in the UK
On June the 24th of 2016, it was announced that Britain would be leaving the European Union after months of campaigning by both the Remain and Leave camps. To formally begin the negotiations of leaving, the country that intends to leave must make use of the 50th Article detailed within the 2007 Lisbon Treaty; this article states “Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements”. The process is expected to take almost 2 years, with the predicted date being December 2018, however; if a deal cannot be found then the process could take significantly longer, possibly going into the next decade.
23rd of April- The French presidential election
This controversial event will see the National Front leader, Marine La Pen, take an important role as a significant frontrunner in this race. Current polls would suggest that Republican candidate, François Fillon, is leading, closely followed by En Marche!’s Emmanuel Macron and National Front’s La Pen. The Socialist Party, previously headed by François Hollande, is currently at around 3%, significantly below the required 50% needed for a win. If no party wins by an outright majority, there will be a run-off election held on the 7th of May.
August/October- The German federal election
This event will involve the voters in Germany electing the new members of the Bundestag, the German federal parliament; through this, a new Chancellor will be announced to head the assembly. The current Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has been in power since the 22nd of November 2005, and while this election could potentially prove to be the end of her party’s current reign, recent polls suggest her party is leading by about 16/17 points on average over the Social Democratic Party of Germany. With about 8 or 9 months until the potential, currently unannounced, election dates, a lot can happen (as was proven in the American presidential elections); the AfD, a party often characterised as far-right, has grown in support exponentially, and with the Official German Crime Statistics for 2016 as yet unreleased, there could potentially be another large rise in support for AfD if the reports from XY Einzelfall are to be believed.
So there we have it, a glimpse into what 2017 could bring. As the year goes on, and as new events unfold, we will undoubtedly see new elections take place, new conflicts spark, and new powers rise, however; regardless of this, you have to make sure that no matter what country, what state, what time zone you are in, you make 2017 a good year for you, as no one else can truly do that, except you; A bit of overly optimistic inspiration for you there. Enjoy it why’ll it lasts, folks.