On Sunday, national elections will bring an official end to 12 years of “Kirchnerismo,” the political movement named for the late president, Néstor Kirchner, who was married to — and succeeded by — Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. The Kirchners expanded social benefits, nationalized companies, taxed agricultural exports, feuded with American hedge funds and tried to curb media conglomerates.
After winning four-year terms in 2007 and 2011, Mrs. Kirchner is constitutionally barred from seeking a third consecutive term.
Although some in Argentina say the country is ready for a political shift, continuity is expected. The front-runner, Daniel Scioli, is a former vice president who has served as governor of Buenos Aires Province since 2007 and was endorsed by Mrs. Kirchner.
He is competing against Sergio Massa, a centrist who leads a party called the Renewal Front, and Mauricio Macri, the leader of the center-right Republican Proposal. Mr. Macri is the mayor of Buenos Aires and appeals to voters who believe Mrs. Kirchner’s economic policies have isolated the country and who see her as imperious.
Heading into a parliamentary election, Poland appears poised to join the region’s rightward drift toward nationalism and toss out the center-right party that has governed the country for eight years.
Beata Szydlo, the Law and Justice Party’s candidate for prime minister, has campaigned against being forced by the European Union to accept a set number of the refugees who have been flooding into Europe.
Polls show the Law and Justice Party leading the governing Civic Platform Party, whose candidate for prime minister is the incumbent, Ewa Kopacz. But if it does not win by a wide enough margin, it may need to form a coalition government.
Tanzania faces its gravest political test on Sunday: the most hotly contested and unpredictable presidential election in the nation’s 50-plus years.
The ruling party, the Party of the Revolution, is one of Africa’s strongest political machines and is determined to hold onto power. The opposition, against a backdrop of a rapidly growing population and some election-related clashes already is convinced it has the numbers to take over.
Tanzanian security forces have been deployed at crucial intersections in the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam, in response to fears of unrest after the results are announced.
The ruling party’s presidential candidate, John Magufuli, is considered relatively clean and a hard worker. But he faces a powerful challenger: Edward Lowassa, a former prime minister with an extensive political network and deep pockets.
Guatemala has been in the grip of stunning upheaval after a corruption scandal that was exposed in the spring, sparked widespread protests and forced the resignation of President Otto Pérez Molina in September.
Days later, as Mr. Pérez Molina went to jail to await trial on fraud and bribery charges, Guatemalans rejected the corruption-tainted front-runner in the elections to replace him.
Jimmy Morales, a comedian with no political experience, won the first round of voting, campaigning under the slogan, “Not corrupt, not a thief.” The polls are forecasting a decisive win for him over Sandra Torres, a former first lady. In 2011, she divorced her husband, President Álvaro Colom, to be eligible to run for his seat, but an electoral tribunal rejected the bid.
There is no clear front-runner among the 53 candidates vying to replace President Michel Martelly, a former musician who was elected in 2011 and cannot run again. There are also hundreds of candidates running for legislative positions.
In contrast to the crowded candidate field, there are few sitting elected officials: Mr. Martelly is one of 12. Parliament was dissolved in January amid disagreements over new elections. The vacuum allowed Mr. Martelly, of the Haitian Tèt Kale Party, to amass power without checks and balances.
In the presidential election, the two candidates who receive the most votes on Sunday face a runoff vote scheduled for Dec. 27.
Last month, a leading political party, Vérité, pulled out of the legislative elections, saying it was the victim of violence in the first round of voting in August.
President Alassane Ouattara of Ivory Coast is all but assured a second term in an election where some rival candidates have already dropped out. After a decade of civil war, Ivory Coast appears to be in the middle of an economic comeback. Mr. Ouattara, an economist by training and a former top official at the International Monetary Fund, has overseen that growth as president since 2010.
But the economic gains were not spread evenly throughout the country, which remains deeply divided. There were months of violence after Mr. Ouattara’s predecessor, Laurent Gbagbo, refused to cede power in the last election.
Mr. Gbagbo is currently imprisoned in The Hague and faces trial next month on charges of crimes against humanity linked to that period, in which at least 3,000 people died. But he retains significant support in the country, and loyalists say he was railroaded.
A security force of 34,000 soldiers, including 6,000 United Nations peacekeepers, has been deployed across the country this month amid fears of election-related violence.