ELECTION RESULTS (September–December 2016)
Belarus: In September 11 parliamentary elections for the 110-seat House of Representatives, progovernment candidates won 108 seats. Opposition candidates Anna Kanopatskaya of the United Civic Party (UCP) and Yelena Anisim, an independent, won the remaining two seats, the first opposition victories since 1996. Observers with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) expressed concern over “serious deficiencies” observed during early voting, as well as restrictive media coverage during the campaign.
Bulgaria: In the first presidential round held on November 6, none of the 21 candidates secured an absolute majority, prompting a November 13 runoff. Roumen Radev, an independent supported by the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), won 59.4 percent of the vote; Tsetska Tsacheva of the ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) won 36.2 percent. Prime Minister Boyko Borisov of GERB tendered his resignation following Radev’s electoral victory, and snap parliamentary elections are expected in early 2017.
Cape Verde: In the October 2 presidential election, incumbent Jorge Carlos Fonseca of the Movement for Democracy party (MpD) was reelected to a second five-year term with 74 percent of the vote. Fonseca defeated independent candidates Albertino Graca (22.5 percent) and Joaquim Jaime Monteiro (3.4 percent). The leading opposition party, the African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV), failed to nominate a presidential candidate after sustaining substantial losses against the MpD in parliamentary elections held in March 2016.
Côte d’Ivoire: Elections for the 225-seat National Assembly were scheduled for December 18. Results will be reported in a future issue. [End Page 179]
The Gambia: In December 1 presidential elections, opposition coalition candidate Adama Barrow won a surprising victory, taking 43.3 percent of the vote and defeating longtime incumbent Yahya Jammeh of the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC), who won 39.6 percent. Mammah Kandeh of the Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC) won 17 percent. While initially accepting defeat, Jammeh subsequently rejected the results as fraudulent, ordering the seizure of the election commission’s headquarters and petitioning the Supreme Court for a new vote. The UN, African Union, and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have issued statements urging Jammeh to accept the results.
Ghana: In the December 7 presidential election, Nana Akufo-Addo of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) won 53.9 percent of the vote, defeating incumbent John Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), who won 44.4 percent, as well as five other candidates who each won 1 percent or less. In concurrent elections for the 275-seat Parliament, the NPP captured 171 seats and the NDC, 104 seats. Observers with the EU Election Observation Mission praised the elections as “competitive, transparent, [and] largely peaceful,” but reported problems with the registration of presidential candidates and with incumbents’ abuse of state resources during the campaign.
Georgia: In elections for the 150-seat parliament on October 8 and 30, the ruling Georgian Dream coalition captured 115 seats in two rounds of voting, an increase from 85 seats won in 2012. The United National Movement won 27 seats (down from 65 seats); the Alliance of Patriots of Georgia, 6 seats; the Industry Will Save Georgia party, 1 seat; and an independent candidate, 1 seat. OSCE observers reported that the elections were “competitive” and “respected the rights of candidates and voters.”
Haiti: Following postponement of the October 9 election due to Hurricane Matthew, presidential elections were held on November 20. Jovenel Moïse of the Haitian Tèt Kale Party (PHTK)—the handpicked candidate of former president Michel Martelly—won a decisive victory with 55.7 percent of the vote, avoiding a runoff. Jude Célestin of the Alternative League for Haitian Progress and Empowerment (LAPEH) garnered 19.5 percent; former senator Jean-Charles Moïse of the Child of Dessalines Platform, 11 percent; and Marysse Narcisse of the Lavalas Family party, 9 percent. The rerun election was triggered by the Haitian provisional government’s invalidation of the 25 October 2015 election results due to allegations of fraud, despite international observers’ endorsement of the results. Observers with the Organization of American States (OAS) praised “substantial advances” that reduced the irregularities observed during the 2015 elections. Legislative elections for the 30-seat Senate and the 119-seat Chamber of Deputies were held [End Page 180] concurrently with the presidential elections. Results will be reported in a future issue.
Kuwait: Snap elections were held on November 26 following the emir’s October decree dissolving the 50-seat National Assembly. Opposition candidates won 24 seats, half of which were secured by candidates affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists. Candidates from the Shia minority won 6 seats, down from 9. Following the elections, incumbent prime minister Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak al-Sabah was reap-pointed and formed a new 15-member cabinet.
Jordan: Following King Abdullah II’s dissolution of parliament in May, elections for the 130-seat House of Representatives were held on September 20. Candidates were split across 226 lists, and the majority of the 1,252 candidates ran as independents. The principal Islamist opposition party, the Islamic Action Front (IAF), won 10 seats, the most of any party. These elections were the first to be held under rules adopted in 2015 that replaced the “one person, one vote” system with an open-list PR system, and reduced the number of House seats from 150 to 130.
Lithuania: In October 9 and 23 elections for the 141-seat Parliament, the Lithuanian Peasant and Greens Union won a surprising plurality, capturing 54 seats (up from a single seat in 2012). Meanwhile, members of the ruling coalition saw their share of seats decline: The Social Democrats won 17 seats (down from 38 in 2012); the Order and Justice party, 8 seats; and the Labor Party, 2 seats. Homeland Union, the largest opposition party in the preceding parliament, won 31 seats, and the Liberal Movement, 14 seats. Candidates from minor parties and independents won the remaining seats. Runoff elections were held on October 23 in the 68 constituences where candidates had failed to secure an absolute majority.
Macedonia: Parliamentary elections for the 123-seat Sobranie were held December 11. Results will be reported in a future issue.
Montenegro: In October 16 elections for the 81-seat Assembly, the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) led by longtime Prime Minister Milo Djukanović won 41.4 percent of the vote and 36 seats. The Democratic Front (DF)—the principal opposition coalition, which opposes DPS’s platform of NATO membership—won 20.3 percent and 18 seats; the opposition Key Coalition won 11 percent and 9 seats. Small progovernment parties won the remaining seats. OSCE observers reported that elections were competitive and respected “fundamental freedoms.” Progovernment parties approved a new cabinet, installing Duško Marković—Djukanović’s handpicked successor—as prime minister following Djukanović’s postelection resignation. For further information, including about allegations of a coup plot, see the article by Srdjan Darmanović on pp. 116–28 above. [End Page 181]
Morocco: In October 7 parliamentary elections for the 395-seat House of Representatives, the ruling Justice and Development party (PJD) of Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane retained a plurality, winning 125 seats (up from 107 seats in 2011). The royalist Party of Authenticity and Modernity (PAM) won 102 seats; the nationalist Independence Party (Istiqlal) won 46 seats; and smaller parties won the remaining 122 seats. Following the election, King Mohammed VI reappointed Benkirane as prime minister.
Nicaragua: On November 6, incumbent Daniel Ortega of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) was reelected to a third term as president with 72.4 percent of the vote. Ortega’s wife, Rosaria Murillo, was elected vice-president. An August Supreme Court decision ordering the dismissal from office of 28 opposition lawmakers prevented opposition candidates from contesting the elections. In concurrent elections for the 92-seat National Assembly, the FSLN captured a majority, winning 66.5 percent of the vote and 70 seats; the Constitutionalist Liberal Party (PLC) won 15.5 percent and 13 seats; and the Independent Liberal Party (PLI), 4.9 percent and 2 seats. Smaller parties won the remaining 7 seats. International observers, whom Ortega barred from participating in the elections, expressed concern over the lack of contestation and transparency.
Palau: In the November 1 presidential election, incumbent Tommy Remengesau, Jr., was reelected to a third term with 51.3 percent of the vote, defeating his brother-in-law Surangel Whipps, Jr., who won 48.7 percent. In concurrent elections for the bicameral National Congress, 8 incumbents were reelected to the 13-seat Senate and 13 incumbents to the 16-seat House of Delegates. There are no political parties in Palau and all candidates run as independents.
Romania: Elections for the 137-Senate and 315-seat Chamber of Deputies were held December 11. Results will be reported in a future issue.
Russia: In September 18 elections for the 450-seat State Duma, President Vladimir Putin’s ruling United Russia (UR) party secured a supermajority, winning 343 seats and 54.2 percent of the vote. Pro-Putin opposition parties and one independent candidate won the remaining seats. The two principal liberal opposition parties—the Russian United Democratic Party (Yabloko) and the People’s Freedom Party (PARNAS)—failed to meet the 5 percent threshold to secure seats. OSCE observers reported that the elections were conducted transparently, but criticized the government’s “restrictions to fundamental freedoms and political rights” during the campaign.
Uzbekistan: Following the death in office of President Islam Karimov on September 2, presidential elections were held on December 4. Interim president Shavkat Mirziyoyev was elected with 88.6 percent of the vote, defeating Khatamjon Ketmonov of the People’s Democratic Party, who won 3.7 percent; Narimon Umarov of the Justice Social Democratic [End Page 182] Party (3.5 percent); and Sarvar Otamuradov of the Uzbekistan National Revival Democratic Party (2.4 percent). OSCE observers reported that the elections were “devoid of genuine competition” and denied voters a “choice of political alternatives.”
UPCOMING ELECTIONS (January–December 2017)
Albania: parliamentary, 18 June 2017
Algeria: legislative, by November 2017
Angola: presidential, by August 2017
Armenia: presidential, by April 2017
Bahamas: parliamentary, by May 2017
Belize: parliamentary, by December 2017
Bulgaria: parliamentary, by December 2017
Chile: presidential/legislative, 19 November 2017
Congo, Republic of: legislative, by July 2017
Ecuador: presidential, 19 February 2017
Gabon: parliamentary, 29 July 2017
Kenya: presidential/parliamentary, 8 August 2017
Kyrgyzstan: presidential, by October 2017
Honduras: presidential, by November 2017
Iran: presidential, by May 2017
Liberia: presidential, 10 October 2017
Mongolia: presidential, by June 2017
Rwanda: presidential, by 4 August 2017
Senegal: parliamentary, by December 2017
Serbia: presidential, 9 April 2017
Singapore: presidential, 26 August 2017
Slovenia: presidential, by December 2017
Timor-Leste: presidential/legislative, by March 2017
Turkmenistan: presidential, 12 February 2017 [End Page 183]
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.