Election Watch

Issue Date October 1998
Volume 9
Issue 4
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ELECTION RESULTS (June-September 1998)

Belize: In August 27 elections for the 29-seat House of Representa-tives, the opposition People’s United Party (PUP) won 26 seats, decisively defeating the ruling United Democratic Party, which won 3. Said Musa, leader of the PUP, was subsequently named prime minister. Voter turnout was reportedly high.

Bosnia-Herzegovina: Presidential and parliamentary elections took place on September 12-13. Results will be published in a future issue.

Cambodia: In July 26 elections to the 122-seat National Assembly, Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party won 64 seats, short of the two-thirds majority needed to form a government. Prince Norodom Ranariddh’s United National Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful, and Cooperative Cambodia (Funcinpec) came in second with 43 seats, and the Sam Rainsy party (led by former finance minister Sam Rainsy) won the remaining 15. Opposition leaders charged fraud, announced a boycott of the new parliament, and rejected Hun Sen’s appeal for a coalition government. Weeks of protest and political deadlock followed. International observers gave conflicting reports on the fairness of the elections.

Colombia: After no candidate won more than 50 percent of the vote in presidential elections on May 31, a runoff took place on June 21. Andrés Pastrana of the Social Conservative Party won 50.4 percent of the vote, defeating Horacio Serpa of the Liberal Party, who won 46.5 percent. Voter turnout was high.

Czech Republic: In elections to the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies held on June 19-20, five parties crossed the 5 percent threshold needed to enter parliament. These included the Czech Social Democratic Party (which won 74 seats); the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) of former prime minister Václav Klaus (which took 63 seats); the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (24 seats); the Christian Democratic Union-Czech People’s Party (20 seats); and the Freedom Union (19 seats). The Social Democrats succeeded in forming the new government after the ODS pledged its passive support to them in exchange for parliamentary leadership positions.

Ecuador: After no candidate garnered more than 50 percent of the vote in May 31 presidential balloting, a runoff was held on July 12. Jamil Mahuad of the Popular Democracy Party (DP) won 51.2 percent, defeating Alvaro Noboa of the Ecuadorian Roldosist Party (PRE), who won 48.8 percent. In May 31 elections for the 121-seat National Congress, the DP secured 35 seats; the Social Christian Party, 26; the PRE, 25; and the Democratic Left Party, 17. The remaining seats were split among minor parties and independents.

Madagascar: In May 17 elections to the 150-seat National Assembly, the Vanguard of the Malagasy Revolution won 63 seats, followed by Leader-Fanilo with 16, AVI with 14, and the Rally for Social Democracy with 11. Minor parties won 14 seats, and independent candidates took the remaining 32.

Philippines: In May 11 voting for the 260-seat Congress and for 12 seats in the 24-seat Senate, President Joseph Estrada’s Struggle of the Nationalist Filipino Masses emerged with 110 Congressional and 10 Senate seats and the Lakas-National Union of Christian Democrats-United Muslim Democratic Party with 50 Congressional and 7 Senate seats. The National People’s Coalition won 15 Congressional seats; the Liberal Party, 14 Congressional seats; and Democratic Filipino Struggle, 7 Congressional seats. Minor parties and independents hold the remaining 6 Senate seats; 19 Congressional seats went to minor parties and 2 went to independents. A number of Congressional seats remain unfilled, largely because many party-list candidates failed to meet the threshold requirements.

Slovakia: Parliamentary elections were scheduled for September 25-26. Results will be published in a future issue.

Togo: In disputed June 21 elections, President Gnassingbé Eyadéma of the Rally of the Togolese People was reelected with 51.2 percent of the vote, defeating Gilchrist Olympio of the Union of Forces of Change, who came in second with 33.6 percent. International observers criticized the elections, and protests and riots followed Eyadéma’s declaration of victory.

Upcoming Elections (October 1998-September 1999)

Azerbaijan: presidential, 11 October 1998

Benin: legislative, March 1999

Brazil: presidential/legislative, 4 October 1998

Burkina Faso: presidential, 15 November 1998

Czech Republic: parliamentary (upper house), 13-14 November 1998

Djibouti: presidential, May 1999

El Salvador: presidential, 7 March 1999

Estonia: parliamentary, March 1999

Gabon: presidential, December 1998

Guinea: presidential, December 1998

Haiti: legislative, November 1998

Latvia: parliamentary, 3 October 1998

Macedonia: parliamentary, 18 October 1998

Malawi: presidential, May 1999

Nigeria: legislative, 20 February 1999; presidential, 27 February 1999

Swaziland: parliamentary, 9 October 1998

Taiwan: legislative, 5 December 1998

Tunisia: presidential/parliamentary, March 1999

Venezuela: legislative, 8 November, 1998; presidential, 6 December 1998

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.