Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

It's not just Australia: 2019 is going to be a big year for elections worldwide, with four of the seven biggest democracies going to the polls. After a mixed year for democracy in 2018, this could be  a critical time for the world to get its act together and resist the rise of the authoritarian right.

So here's my list of the top 10 elections to watch this year.

Nigeria (16 February)

It's a particularly big electoral year in Africa, with voting in  Senegal, Algeria, South Africa and many others. But Nigeria is the big one; President Muhammadu Buhari is seeking re-election, having defeated incumbent Goodluck Jonathan four years ago. Nigeria is still plagued by a fundamentalist insurgency and other problems, but the unexpected strength of its democracy has set a positive example for West Africa.