The vast change in the global political environment is creating a great deal of market volatility and uncertainty for investors.
These changes include opinion polls being less accurate than in the past, traditional centrist parties losing voter support and a rise in populism and nationalism.
Brexit and Donald Trump's US presidential victory have been high-profile examples of these developments, as are the strongarm tactics used by Trump and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping in their trade dispute.
In the past few months, elections have been held in India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Israel, Australia and in the EU — with a combined population of 2.3 billion, or about 30 per cent of the world's total. These elections indicate recent trends are continuing and there is now a strong possibility Trump will be re-elected next year.
Politicians with strong nationalistic policies continue to do well, with India's Narendra Modi and Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu gaining more seats in recent elections and President Rodrigo Duterte winning control of the Philippine Senate.
The Philippine Senate, which has only 24 members, is important because it has resisted many of Duterte's policies, including lowering criminal liability from 15 to 9 years of age and reinstating the death penalty for drug crimes. Duterte allies won all 12 Senate seats up for election in May and the Opposition now holds only four. Duterte's Senate success seems to show voters favour his repressive and authoritarian regime.
In India, Modi's Hindu-nationalist BJP party won 303 of the 543 seats compared with 282 seats in 2014 and 116 in 2009.
India is becoming increasingly important because it will surpass China in population in the next few years and there are fears Modi will adopt a stronger Hindu-nationalist agenda because of pressure from newly elected BJP MPs. This could have a negative impact on the 20 per cent non-Hindu population.
Modi is being compared with nationalistic leaders Turkey's Recep Erdogan and Hungary's Viktor Orban.
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The former ruling Indian Congress party, which has a strong secular emphasis and is led by Rahul Gandhi, won only 52 seats in the recent election.
In Israel, Netanyahu's Likud party won 35 of the 120 Knesset seats, compared with 30 in the 2015 election. However, Netanyahu's 10-year reign may be coming to an end as he failed to form a coalition government and a fresh election will be held on September 17.
The recent re-election of President Joko Widodo, with an increased majority, shows Indonesia is one of the few large countries where voters haven't supported a hard-line candidate. Widodo, who celebrates Indonesia's religious and ethnic diversity, defeated Prabowo Subianto, a former army general with sympathies towards hard-line Islamic groups.
The EU elections are more difficult to assess because local issues have played a huge role in several countries. However, two clear conclusions can be made.
The first, that there was a strong shift from traditional parties, particularly those in the centre, to smaller parties. The second, that a major populist Eurosceptic revolt did not eventuate, even though Nigel Farage's Brexit party won the most seats in the UK and Marine Le Pen's National Rally had a symbolic victory over President Macron's En Marche.
Finally, opinion polls failed to pick up major political shifts in Australia and other countries.
Election results in the past few years indicate that we can throw out the old rulebook as voters turn their backs on traditional parties and traditional politicians.
Nationalistic and populist policies are becoming more widespread and this trend is especially evident in the White House.
Many of Trump's policies are extremely popular with voters, particularly outside the major seaboard cities, and there is a growing belief in the United States that he will be re-elected next year. A consensus is developing that the only way Trump can be defeated is if the Democrats find a particularly attractive candidate, the US economy falls into recession or there is a major global crisis.
Another four years of Trump in the White House will certainly generate more political uncertainty and volatility for financial markets.
- Brian Gaynor is a director of Milford Asset Management.
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