Election Watch

Issue Date April 2001
Volume 12
Issue 2
Page Numbers 178-81
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(December 2000-March 2001)

Benin: In first-round elections on March 4, preliminary results indicated that incumbent president and former Marxist military ruler Mathieu Kérékou, an independent, received more than 39 percent of the vote, while his predecessor, Nicéphore Soglo of the Benin Renaissance party, won over 30 percent. The speaker of parliament, Adrien Houngbedji of the Party of Democratic Renewal, came in third with more than 14 percent. Kérékou had unseated Soglo in the 1996 election, winning by a 5 percent margin. As both candidates failed to gain a majority of the vote, a runoff election was scheduled for March 18.

Cape Verde: In January 14 parliamentary elections, the opposition African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV) won a majority with 40 of the 72 seats; the ruling Movement for Democracy (MPD) received 30 seats. In presidential balloting on February 11, PAICV candidate Pedro Pires garnered 46.5 percent of the vote, and Carlos Veiga of the MPD won 45.8 percent. The outcome triggered a February 25 runoff between Pires and Veiga, in which both candidates initially declared victory. The official results gave Pires 49.43 percent (75,828 votes) and Veiga 49.42 percent (75,811 votes), giving the victory to Pires by a 17-vote margin. Several lawsuits alleging irregularities at polling stations were filed with the Supreme Court in an effort to contest the results.

Côte d’Ivoire: Parliamentary elections for 196 seats in the 225-member National Assembly were held on December 10. (Balloting for the remaining seats was postponed due to violence in the northern part of the country.) President Laurent Gbagbo’s ruling Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) captured 96 seats, and the Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire (PDCI), which had been the ruling party prior to former military leader [End Page 178] General Robert Guéi’s 1999 coup, won 77. The Rally of the Republicans (RDR), the party of former prime minister Alassane Ouattara–who had been disqualified from the October presidential election as well as the parliamentary elections by a Supreme Court ruling–boycotted the election, later calling the new parliament illegitimate. In January 24 by-elections, held to fill 24 of the remaining seats, the PDCI won 15 seats, independent candidates won 5, and the RDR won 4 despite its boycott. The FPI, however, did not gain any more seats, leaving it without a majority.

Ghana: Presidential and legislative elections were held on December 7. In presidential balloting, John Kufour of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) secured 48 percent of the vote, while Vice-President John Atta Mills of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), the party of incumbent president Jerry Rawlings, trailed with 45 percent. In the December 28 runoff, Kufour won with 57 percent to Mills’s 43 percent, leading to the first peaceful transfer of power since the country’s independence in 1957. Results of the legislative elections gave 100 of the 200 contested seats to the NPP, while the NDC won 92 seats, falling from its previous majority of 133 seats. (See the article by E. Gyimah-Boadi on pp.103-17 of this issue for more details.)

Guyana: Parliamentary elections were scheduled for March 19. Results will be reported in a future issue.

Micronesia: Legislative elections took place on March 6. Results will be reported in a future issue.

Moldova: Parliamentary elections were held on February 25, several weeks earlier than scheduled, in the wake of the dissolution of parliament by President Petru Lucinschi on January 12 owing to its inability to elect his successor. (A July 2000 constitutional amendment had given the parliament the power to elect the president.) Of the 101 seats being contested, the Communist Party gained an overwhelming majority with 71 seats; the centrist Braghis Alliance, led by outgoing prime minister Dumitri Braghis, won 19; and the Christian Democratic People’s Party took 11.

Samoa: Elections were held on March 7 for all 49 seats in the unicameral Legislative Assembly. Preliminary results show the ruling Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) taking 23 seats (one fewer than it had previously held) while the opposition Samoan National Development Party won 13 seats. The remaining 13 went to independent candidates. The HRPP claimed to have the support of about half of the independents elected. [End Page 179]

St. Vincent and the Grenadines: Parliamentary elections were scheduled for March 28. Results will be reported in a future issue.

Thailand: Elections to the 500-seat House of Representatives were held on January 6. The newly formed Thai Rak Thai (“Thais Love Thais”) party, led by businessman Thaksin Shinawatra, won 248 seats, falling just short of a majority; the governing Democrat Party, led by outgoing prime minister Chuan Leekpai, won 123 seats; the Chart Thai party and the Chart Pattana party, both members of the old governing coalition, won 41 and 29 seats, respectively; and the New Aspiration Party won 36 seats.

Trinidad and Tobago: In December 11 elections to the 36-seat House of Representatives, the United National Congress, the party that had formed the ruling coalition along with the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR), won 19 seats; the opposition People’s National Movement won 16; and the NAR won the remaining seat. Prior to the election, the NAR had pulled out of all elections on Trinidad island in protest of the other two parties’ exploitation during the campaign of ethnic tensions between people of African and Indian descent.

Uganda: Presidential balloting was scheduled for March 12. Results will be reported in a future issue.

Yugoslavia (Serbia): In December 23 elections for the 250 seats in the unicameral National Assembly, the Democratic Opposition of Serbia, the party of recently elected president Vojislav Kostunica, captured a decisive majority with 176 seats. Slobodan Milošević’s Socialist Party of Serbia received 37 seats, while the remaining seats went to extreme nationalists, with 23 for the Serbian Radical Party of Vojislav Šešelj and 14 for the Party of Serbian Unity.

(April 2001-March 2002)

Albania: parliamentary, June 2001

Argentina: legislative, October 2001

Bahamas: parliamentary, March 2002

Bangladesh: presidential/parliamentary, October 2001 (latest)

Belarus: presidential, September 2001 (latest)

Bulgaria: parliamentary, June 2001; presidential, November 2001 [End Page 180]

Chad: presidential, 20 May 2001

Chile: legislative, December 2001

Costa Rica: presidential/legislative, 2 February 2002

East Timor: parliamentary, 30 August 2001

Eritrea: parliamentary, December 2001

Gabon: parliamentary, December 2001

The Gambia: presidential, 18 October 2001; legislative, December 2001

Honduras: presidential/legislative, 25 November 2001

Iran: presidential, 8 June 2001

Jamaica: parliamentary, March 2002

Lesotho: parliamentary, 2001 (undetermined date)

Mongolia: presidential, 20 May 2001

Nicaragua: presidential/legislative, 5 November 2001

Peru: presidential/parliamentary, 8 April 2001

Philippines: legislative, 11 May 2001

Poland: parliamentary, September 2001 (latest)

Senegal: parliamentary, 29 April 2001

Solomon Islands: parliamentary, September 2001

Taiwan: legislative, December 2001

Togo: parliamentary, 14 and 28 October 2001

Yugoslavia (Montenegro): parliamentary, 22 April 2001

Zambia: presidential/legislative, October 2001

Zimbabwe: presidential, March 2002

Election Watch provides reports of recently decided and upcoming elections in developing nations and the postcommunist world. 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. Much of the data for Election Watch is provided by the International Foundation for Election 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, 1101 15th Street, N.W., Suite 300, Washington, DC 20005; (202) 828-8507; www.ifes.org.