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10 Game-Changing Elections in 2012

In 2011 there was a wide-ranging changing of the guard. In Europe, struggling countries including Italy and Greece brought in technocrats, or voted out administrations, that had failed to solve their economic crises. In the Middle East, two entrenched regimes toppled under popular uprisings and a third after a revolution.

In 2012, there is potential for an even bigger shift, with several key countries facing possible changes at the top levels of government. Citizens that overthrew dictators are set to hold public votes to choose their leaders for the first time in decades. Several elections in the euro zone could also have massive implications on the European debt crisis.

Outside of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, other significant elections promise to affect the global debate. On Sunday Vladimir Putin won a third presidential term in Russia, where he will now be in office until 2018, when he could potentially run for another six-year term. The election was unique because it was preceded by anti-Putin protests that would have been unheard of a few years ago. Opposition groups are once again denouncing widespread electoral fraud and openly challenging the administration in the squares of Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Click ahead for 10 more elections that could change the game of global politics in 2012.

By Bianca Schlotterbeck
Posted March 6 2012

Photo: Pavel Zelensky | AFP | Getty Images