Election Watch

Issue Date January 1998
Volume 9
Issue 1
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ELECTION RESULTS (September-December 1997)

Argentina: In October 26 legislative elections for 127 seats in the 257-seat Chamber of Deputies, President Carlos Menem’s Justicialist Party (PJ) won only 36 percent of the vote, down from 43 percent in 1995. The PJ consequently lost its absolute majority in the Chamber, dropping from 131 to 119 seats. The new Alliance coalition, comprising the Radical Civic Union (71 seats) and the Front for a Country in Solidarity (35 seats), emerged with 106 seats. Various provincial parties hold the remaining 32 seats.

Bosnia-Herzegovina (Republika Srpska): Elections to the 83-member Serbian Assembly were held on November 22-23. According to preliminary results, Radovan Karadzic’s Serbian Democratic Party won 33 percent of the vote. President Biljana Plavsic’s new Serbian National Alliance came in second with 19.9, the Radical Party was third with 19.4, and the Socialist Party fourth with 12.2. Voter turnout was approximately 77 percent.

Cameroon: Incumbent Paul Biya of the Democratic Rally of the Cameroon People won 92.6 percent of the vote in a disputed presidential election held October 12. The election was boycotted by the major opposition parties, including the Union for Democracy in Cameroon, John Fru Ndi’s Social Democratic Front, and former Prime Minister Bello Bouba Maigari’s National Union for Democracy and Progress. Opposition parties asked the Supreme Court to cancel the elections, but their requests were declared invalid or denied outright. According to the Supreme Court, turnout among eligible voters was 81 percent, but many observers doubted this figure.

Chile: Legislative elections were scheduled for December 11. Results will be reported in a future issue.

Djibouti: Parliamentary elections were scheduled for December 19. Results will be published in a future issue.

Ecuador: Unofficial results indicate that the Social Christian Party of former president León Febres Cordero won 24 seats in November 30 elections for the temporary 70-seat National Assembly. Former president Osvaldo Hurtado’s Popular Christian Party won 9 seats. The remaining 37 seats went to numerous other political parties and independent candidates. The Assembly will begin work on reforming the Constitution on December 20 and will be disbanded in February.

Guyana: Presidential and parliamentary elections were scheduled for December 15. Results will be published in a future issue.

Honduras: According to preliminary results for November 30 presidential elections, Carlos Flores Facussé, president of the Congress and leader of the ruling Liberal Party, was elected with approximately 52.8 percent of the vote. The National Party’s Nora Gúnera de Melgar, a former mayor of Tegucigalpa, came in second with roughly 43 percent. Turnout was close to 75 percent. Results from legislative elections held the same day will be reported in a future issue.

Jordan: In November 4 voting for the House of Deputies, the 80-seat lower house of Parliament, 68 seats were won by tribal candidates and the remaining 12 went to independent Islamists. A total of 524 candidates competed. The Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic Action Front boycotted the elections.

Kenya: Presidential and legislative elections were scheduled for December 29. Results will be published in a future issue.

Kyrgyzstan: Parliamentary elections took place on October 25, but clear results were unavailable. Final results will be published in a future issue.

Laos: Parliamentary elections were scheduled for December 21. Results will be published in a future issue.

Lithuania: Presidential elections were scheduled for December 21. Results will be published in a future issue.

Mauritania: Presidential elections were scheduled for December 12. Results will be published in a future issue.

Morocco: In November 14 parliamentary elections, 16 parties competed for the 325-seat House of Representatives, the lower house of the newly bicameral legislature. The results showed a fairly even division among electoral blocs reflecting three major political tendencies. The opposition Kutlah bloc, led by the Socialist Union of Popular Forces, won 102 seats; the progovernment Wifaq bloc, led by the Constitutional Union, won 100 seats; and a centrist grouping, led by the National Assembly of Independents, won 97 seats. Other parties split the remaining 26 seats. Voter turnout was 58.3 percent, low by Moroccan standards.

Poland: In September 21 parliamentary elections, Solidarity Electoral Action, a coalition of parties around the Solidarity trade union that ended communist rule, came in first with 33.8 percent, winning 201 seats in the lower house, the 460-seat Sejm. The former communist Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) won 27 percent and 164 seats. The Freedom Union (UW) came in third with 13.4 percent and 60 seats. The Polish Peasant Party (PSL) was fourth with 7.3 percent and 27 seats. In ballotting for the Senate, the Solidarity coalition won 51 seats; SLD, 28; UW, 8; and the PSL, 3. Turnout was about 48 percent. After the elections, Solidarity Electoral Action and Freedom Union forged a coalition and Jerzy Buzek was subsequently named prime minister.

Slovenia: Former communist Milan Kucan, running as an independent, won a second term as president with 55.6 percent of the vote in a November 23 presidential election. Speaker Janez Podobnik of the Slovenian People’s Party was his nearest rival with 18.4 percent of the vote. Joze Bernik, joint candidate of the Christian Democratic Party and the Social Democratic Party, came in third with 9.4 percent. Turnout was 68.3 percent.

South Korea: Presidential elections were scheduled for December 18. Results will be published in a future issue.

Yugoslavia (Montenegro): In first-round presidential voting on October 5, neither Montenegrin premier Milo Djukanovic nor incumbent Momir Bulatovic, a protégé of Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, won a clear majority. Bulatovic won 47.45 percent and Djukanovic won 46.72, with the six other candidates drawing only minimal support. In the runoff on October 19, Djukanovic defeated Bulatovic by fewer than 5,500 of the 344,000 votes cast. The vote was followed by calls for an annulment, protests, and political destabilization as Bulatovic refused to recognize the legitimacy of the results.

Yugoslavia (Serbia): Parliamentary and presidential elections on September 20-21 were dominated by Slobodan Milosevic, who, approaching the end of his second and final term as president of Serbia, resigned to have himself chosen president of the Federal Republic of Yugolslavia by the Federal parliament. In balloting for the 350-seat Serb assembly, Milosevic’s coalition of the Socialist Party of Serbia, Yugoslav Left, and New Democracy won 34.3 percent and 110 seats. The extreme nationalist Serbian Radical Party of Vojislav Seselj finished second with 28 percent and 82 seats. The prodemocratic Zajedno coalition (see “Serbia’s Opposition Speaks” in our July 1997 issue) split, with the Serbian Renewal Movement of Vuk Draskovic winning 19.2 percent and 45 seats, while the Democratic Party of Zoran Djindjic and the Civic Alliance of Vesna Pesic boycotted the voting. In first-round presidential balloting, Milosevic’s handpicked candidate for president, Zoran Lilic, won 35.7 percent; Seselj, 27.3 percent; and Draskovic, 20.6 percent. In the runoff on October 5, Seselj edged Lilic 51.4 to 48.6 percent, but with turnout reported at 48.1 percent, the election was declared invalid (the Constitution requires turnout of at least 50 percent), and an entirely new first-round presidential election was called for December 7. In that contest a new pro-Milosevic candidate, Milan Milutinovic, finished first with 43.7 pecent, with Seselj second at 32.2 percent, and Draskovic third at 16 percent. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe described the December 7 elections as “fundamentally flawed.” Results of the December 21 runoff between Milutinovic and Seselj will be published in a future issue.

Upcoming Elections (January-December 1998)

Azerbaijan: presidential/parliamentary, November 1998

Belize: presidential/legislative, June 1998

Brazil: presidential, 3 October 1998

Cambodia: parliamentary, 23 May 1998

Colombia: presidential/legislative, 31 May 1998

Dominican Republic: legislative, 16 May 1998

Ecuador: presidential, 10 May 1998

Equatorial Guinea: parliamentary, July 1998

Hong Kong: Legislative Council, 24 May 1998

Hungary: parliamentary, May 1998

India: parliamentary, February-March 1998

Latvia: parliamentary, 3-4 October 1998

Lesotho: parliamentary, April 1998

Macedonia: parliamentary, September-October 1998

Nigeria: legislative, 25 April 1998; presidential, 1 August 1998

Paraguay: presidential/legislative, 10 May 1998

Philippines: presidential/legislative, 11 May 1998

Romania: parliamentary, March-April, 1998

Senegal: parliamentary, February 1998 (earliest)

Seychelles: presidential/legislative, July 1998 (latest)

Slovakia: presidential/legislative, 1 October 1998 (latest)

Togo: presidential, August 1998

Ukraine: parliamentary, March 1998

Venezuela: presidential/legislative, 6 December 1998

Election Watch provides reports of recently decided and upcoming elections in postcommunist and developing countries. Elections in nondemocratic nations are included when they exhibit a significant element of genuine competition or, in the case of upcoming elections, when they represent an important test of progress toward democracy. This information is current as we go to press; however, election dates are often moved due to changing circumstances. The data in Election Watch are provided by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), a private, nonprofit education and research foundation that assists in monitoring, supporting, and strengthening the mechanics of the electoral process worldwide. For additional information, contact: IFES, 1620 1 Street, N.W., Suite 611, Washington, DC 20006; (202) 828-8507.