US Presidential debate opens the Pandora box…….. by Syed Atiq ul Hassan

 2024 is proving to be a pivotal year for elections worldwide, marking a notable shift in the political landscape of democratic nations. From Indonesia and the Philippines to South Korea, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, and recently in UK and France fresh elections have taken place, with the United States gearing up for its own electoral showdown in November. These elections have highlighted several significant trends: the clash of generational perspectives, the rise of younger leaders, concerns about electoral integrity, and the persistence of long-standing political figures and their parties.

The U.S. Presidential Debate: A Turning Point

The U.S. presidential debate has starkly illustrated the vulnerabilities of the current political leadership. Incumbent President Joe Biden, representing the Democratic Party, faced off against former President Donald Trump, the Republican candidate. This debate has underscored the limitations of both parties in presenting fresh, dynamic leadership. Mr. Biden, at 81, has been criticized for his apparent cognitive memory issues and perceived frailty. Trump, at 78, remains a divisive figure, particularly in light of the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot instigated by his supporters.

The debate has opened a Pandora’s box of concerns about Biden’s ability to lead for another term. Critics argue that his age and health issues, including signs of dementia, impair his capability to handle the rigorous demands of the presidency. Trump’s remarks during the debate, such as “I don’t know what he is talking about. I don’t understand,” have fuelled these concerns, leaving many uneasy about the future leadership of the United States.

The Global Implications of Aging Leaders

The situation in the United States has sparked a global debate about the suitability of elderly politicians in leadership roles. Should individuals over seventy, especially those with significant health concerns, continue to hold such crucial positions? This question is pertinent given that leaders are responsible for shaping national policies and making critical decisions that can have far-reaching implications.

In Australia, for instance, there is ongoing analysis about whether leaders over seventy should retire. Historically, Australia has had long-serving Prime Ministers like Robert Menzies, Gough Whitlam, Bob Hawke, and John Howard, though few remained in office past 65. Generally, Australian politicians announce their retirement voluntarily.

The Case of India, Pakistan and Russia

In India, questions about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership and his reluctance to hold press conferences have been raised. Modi, who relies heavily on his advisors, has never held a press conference during his tenure. This has led to speculation that he lacks the depth of political knowledge and historical understanding necessary for unscripted interactions with the press.

In Pakistan, senior politician Nawaz Sharif, now 74 years old, holds the distinction of being the country’s longest-serving prime minister, with over nine years in office across three separate tenures. Since his return from self-exile, he has refrained from conducting press conferences. Reports suggest that he is experiencing memory issues and struggles with recalling past events. He must have been retired from the benefits in the interest of the country and his own health. Similarly, Asif Ali Zardari struggling with his falling health, could not speak out proper words already served as a President and currently he is the President of Pakistan who hardly conduct any media conference confidently.

Russian President Vladimir Putin faces criticism for his health and his government’s strict control over the press. Reports suggest that Putin suffers from various ailments, and journalists are only allowed to ask pre-approved questions during press conferences. This tightly controlled environment raises questions about the transparency and accountability of his leadership.

The Generational Shift in Global Democracies

Across democratic nations, there is a noticeable shift as the new generation steps into the political arena. The younger generation is increasingly disillusioned with the entrenched two-party or multi-party systems and desires new leadership. In places like Australia, Canada, Great Britain, and the United States, the two-party system often limits the emergence of fresh perspectives. Despite having multiple political parties, these countries see power alternating between a few dominant parties.

Australia, for instance, has over ten parties, but only the Labor Party and the Liberal Party have historically held power. This scenario is mirrored in the UK, Canada, and the United States. In India, despite having numerous parties, the Congress Party and the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) dominate the national political landscape. The BJP, which has formed the last two governments, recently had to form a coalition due to a lack of majority.

Emerging Leaders and Political Shifts in Asia

In many Asian countries, the new generation is stepping forward, challenging the status quo. In the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Pakistan, there is a visible trend of young or new faces leaders emerging in the political forefront. These nations are on the brink of significant political shifts, with younger leaders poised to take on roles traditionally held by older politicians.

In the Philippines, for example, the rise of young leaders is expected to bring fresh ideas and perspectives to the political discourse. Similarly, in Malaysia, a new generation of politicians is challenging the long-standing political dynasties and advocating for more progressive policies. Indonesia, with its dynamic young population, is also witnessing a shift towards younger, more innovative leadership.

Pakistan, too, is experiencing a political transformation. The younger generation is increasingly disenchanted with the traditional political parties and their leadership. This sentiment is paving the way for new leaders to emerge, bringing with them the promise of change and a break from the past.

Conclusion: A New Era of Leadership

As the world watches the unfolding political drama in various democratic nations, one thing is clear: there is a growing demand for a new era of leadership. The old guard, characterized by aging politicians and entrenched party systems, is being challenged by a new generation eager for change. This shift is not just a local phenomenon but a global trend, reflecting a broader desire for fresh perspectives and dynamic leadership in the 21st century.

The coming months and years will be critical in determining how these generational changes play out. Whether it is through electoral victories, policy reforms, or grassroots movements, the new generation is making its mark on the political landscape. This transition heralds a new chapter in global democracy, one that promises to be more inclusive, dynamic, and reflective of the aspirations of younger citizens. (The writer, Syed Atiq ul Hassa, is a Sydney-based journalist, analyst, writer and author. His email address is ).



Syed Atiq ul Hassan

Sydney-based journalist, analyst, writer, author and a commentator,

Mob +61 479 143 628

Sydney Australia.


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