Election Watch

Issue Date January 2019
Volume 30
Issue 1
Page Numbers 178-182
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ELECTION RESULTS (September–December 2018)

Afghanistan: Legislative elections were held on October 20; results will be reported in a future issue.

Armenia: In December 9 elections for the 132-member National Assembly, the My Step Alliance of acting prime minister Nikol Pashinyan won 70 percent of the vote and 88 seats. The moderate Prosperous Armenia party won 8 percent and 26 seats, and the pro-Western Bright Armenia party won 6 percent and 18 seats. This was the first election since Armenia’s “Velvet Revolution” in May, led by former journalist Pashinyan, which removed Serzh Sargsyan of the Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) from power. HHK failed to reach the 5 percent of votes needed to enter the National Assembly. While turnout was 49 percent, lower than in previous elections, international observers, including the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, praised the elections as genuinely competitive and free.

Bahrain: On November 24, elections were held for the 40-member Council of Representatives. No opposition parties were able to run, following the outlawing of several opposition parties in response to a wave of Arab Spring protests in 2011. In the lead-up to election day, Ali Salman, leader of the outlawed opposition group al-Wifaq, was sentenced to life in prison on charges of espionage. Numerous international organizations, including Human Rights Watch, criticized the elections as unfree.

Bhutan: In the first round of elections for the 47-member National Assembly on September 15, the Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) and Bhutan Peace and Prosperity Party (DPT) qualified for the second round, [End Page 178] with 32 and 31 percent of the vote respectively. The People’s Democratic Party of Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay came in third with 27 percent, and the Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party won 10 percent. In the first-past-the-post second round, the DNT received 55 percent of the vote and 30 seats, while the DPT won 45 percent and 17 seats. Lotay Tshering, the leader of the DNT, was elected prime minister.

Bosnia-Herzegovina: In the October 7 election for the tripartite presidency, Šefik Džaferoviæ of the Party of Democratic Action (SDA) was elected as the Bosniak member with 36 percent of the vote, defeating Denis Beæiroviæ of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), who won 34 percent. Željko Komšiæ of the Democratic Front (DF) was elected the Croat member of the presidency with 53 percent, defeating incumbent Dragan Èoviæ of the Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina (HDZ BiH), who received 36 percent. Milorad Dodik of the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) was elected the Serb member with 54 percent, defeating incumbent Mladen Ivaniæ of the Alliance for Victory coalition, who won 42 percent. Elections for the 42-seat House of Representatives were also held on October 7. Of the 28 seats allocated for the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the SDA won 8, the SDP won 5, a coalition including the HDZ BiH and several smaller parties won 5, the DF won 3, the Union for a Better Future of BiH won 2, Our Party won 2, and several smaller parties won 1 each. Of the 14 seats allocated for Republika Srpska, the SNSD won 6, a coalition including the Serb Democratic Party (SDS) and the National Democratic Party (NDP) won 3, the Party of Democratic Progress (PDP) won 2, the Democratic People’s Alliance won 1, and the Socialist Party won 1. The SDS, the PDP, and the NDP were part of the Alliance for Victory coalition.

Brazil: In the October 28 presidential runoff, Jair Bolsonaro of the Social Liberal Party (PSL) received 55 percent of the vote, defeating Fernando Haddad of the Workers’ Party (PT). In the first round on October 7, Bolsonaro received 46 percent, Haddad 29 percent, and Ciro Gomes of the Democratic Labor Party (PDT) 12 percent. Concurrent elections were held for the National Congress of Brazil. In the 513-seat Chamber of Deputies, the PT won 56 seats, the PSL 52, the Progressive Party (PP) 37, the Social Democratic Party (PSD) 34, the Brazilian Democratic Movement (MDB) 34, the Republic Party (PR) 33, the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) 32, the Brazilian Republican Party (PRB) 30, the Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB) 29, the Democrats (DEM) 29, and the PDT 28. Nineteen smaller parties split the remaining 119 seats. Fifty-four seats were up for election in the 81-seat Senate. The MDB won 7, the PP 5, the Sustainability Network 5; the PT, the PSL, the PSD, the PSDB, and the DEM each won 4. The remaining seats were split among twelve smaller parties. [End Page 179]

Cameroon: In the October 7 presidential election, President Paul Biya was reelected to a seventh term in office. Biya received 71 percent of the vote, defeating Maurice Kamto of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement, who received 14 percent. The opposition rejected the results, filing eighteen petitions seeking to overturn the election, all of which were rejected by the constitutional courts. Violence and threats of violence on election day sharply reduced turnout, particularly in the two Anglo-phone regions, where the International Crisis Group reported that turnout was as low as 5 percent.

Democratic Republic of Congo: Presidential elections were scheduled for December 23; results will be reported in a future issue.

Fiji: In November 14 elections for the unicameral 51-member Parliament, the FijiFirst party of Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama won 27 seats, narrowly retaining a majority. The Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) won 21 seats, and the National Federation Party won 3. Sitiveni Rabuka, the leader of the opposition SODELPA, who was tried and acquitted of falsely declaring his assets to the Supervisor of Elections, was called in for questioning by police just two days before the poll.

Gabon: In two rounds of elections for the 143-member National Assembly on October 6 and October 27, the ruling Gabonese Democratic Party of President Ali Ben Bongo won 98 seats. A new party, the Democrats, won 11, and smaller new parties won the remaining 34 seats. Jean Ping, Gabon’s leading genuine opposition figure, boycotted the vote. Ping continues to contest the results of the 2016 presidential election, in which he was narrowly defeated by Bongo.

Georgia: In the November 28 presidential runoff, independent Salomé Zourabichvili, who is supported by the Georgian Dream party of incumbent president Giorgi Margvelashvili, won 60 percent of the vote to defeat Grigol Vashadze of the United National Movement (UNM), who received 40 percent. In the first round on October 28, Zurabishvili received 39 percent, Vashadze received 38 percent, and Davit Badradze of the new European Georgia party received 11 percent. International organizations including the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe found that, although the elections were competitive, Zourabichvili enjoyed an unfair advantage and that Georgian Dream engaged in vote buying. In the days before the election, a foundation controlled by Georgian Dream chairman Bidzina Ivanishvili announced the purchase of US$560 million in bad loans by small debtors, providing debt relief to about 600,000 Georgians. [End Page 180]

Latvia: In October 6 elections for the unicameral 100-seat parliament, the pro-Russia Harmony Center (SC) led by Riga mayor Nils Ušakovs won 20 percent of the vote and 23 seats. The new Who Owns the State party (KPV LV) and the New Conservative party (JKP) each won 16 seats. The new Development/For! party (AP!) and the National Alliance (NA) each won 13 seats, the Greens’ and Farmers’ Union (ZZS) won 11, and the Unity party won 8. The SC had also received the largest share of seats in the 2014 parliamentary election, but was excluded from leadership when Unity, the ZZS, and the NA formed a coalition with Unity leader Laimdota Straujuma as prime minister.

Madagascar: In the November 7 first round of presidential elections, Andry Rajoelina of the Young Malagasies Determined party (TGV) won 39 percent of the vote, Marc Ravalomanana of the I Love Madagascar party (TIM) 35 percent, and incumbent Hery Rajaonarimampianina of the A New Force for Madagascar party 8 percent. Rajoelina and Ravalomana will compete in a second round presidential election that is scheduled for December 19; results will be reported in a future issue.

Maldives: In the September 23 presidential election, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih of the Maldivan Democratic Party (MDP) defeated incumbent Abdullah Yameen of the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) with 58 percent. Solih’s victory represented a surprise triumph for the opposition in an election that local and foreign observers feared Yameen’s government would attempt to rig. Many international journalists and observers were denied visas in the lead-up to the election.

São Tomé and Príncipe: In October 7 elections for the 55-seat National Assembly, Prime Minister Patrice Trovoada’s Independent Democratic Action party won 25 seats, and the Movement for the Liberation of São Tomé and Príncipe–Social Democratic Party won 23 seats. Smaller parties won the remaining 7 seats.

Swaziland: On September 21, elections were held for the 59 elected seats in the House of Assembly. Political parties are banned from participating in elections, and all candidates ran as independents. Observers criticized the elections as unfair, and opposition groups called for a boycott of the vote.

Togo: Parliamentary elections were scheduled for December 16; results will be reported in a future issue. [End Page 181]

UPCOMING ELECTIONS (January 2018–December 2019)

Afghanistan: presidential, 20 April 2019

Algeria: presidential, 30 April 2019

Bangladesh: parliamentary, 31 January 2019

Chad: legislative, 30 May 2019

El Salvador: presidential, 3 February 2019

Estonia: parliamentary, 3 March 2019

Guatemala: presidential/legislative, 30 June 2019

Guinea-Bissau: legislative, 27 January 2019

India: parliamentary, by May 2019

Indonesia: presidential/legislative, 17 April 2019

Lithuania: presidential, 12 May 2019

Macedonia: presidential, 30 March 2019

Malawi: presidential/legislative, 21 May 2019

Maldives: legislative, 31 March 2019

Mali: legislative, 31 January 2019

Moldova: parliamentary, 24 February 2019

Nigeria: presidential/legislative, 16 February 2019

Panama: presidential, 5 May 2019

Philippines: legislative, 13 May 2019

Senegal: presidential, 28 February 2019

Slovakia: presidential, 9 March 2019

South Africa: parliamentary, 30 May 2019

Thailand: parliamentary, 24 February 2019

Ukraine: presidential, 31 March 2019

Election Watch provides reports of recently decided and upcoming elections in developing nations and the postcommunist world. Some of the data for Election Watch come from 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, visit www.ifes.org.