Election Watch

Issue Date January 1996
Volume 7
Issue 1
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ELECTION RESULTS (September-December 1995)

Algeria: On November 16, ignoring boycott calls from opposition parties and death threats from Islamic militants, 75 percent of Algeria’s 16 million eligible voters cast ballots in the country’s first contested presidential election since it gained its independence from France in 1962. Observers from the Arab League and the Organization of African Unity termed the elections free and fair. President Liamine Zeroual garnered 61 percent of the vote, while his closest rival, Sheikh Mahfoud Nahnah, head of the moderate Islamist Hamas party, received 25 percent.

Azerbaijan: On November 12, Azeris elected a 125-member parliament. President Heydar Aliyev’s New Azerbaijan Party garnered 19 seats, while the Azerbaijan Popular Front and the Party for National Independence took 3 seats each. Independents won a total of 71 seats. Runoff elections in February 1996 will determine the outcome of the 29 remaining seats. European and U.S. monitors reported widespread irregularities, and dismissed the elections as rigged.

Belarus: Despite President Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s efforts to suppress voting, over 52 percent of Belarusians turned out on December 10 to elect 59 candidates to the 260-member Supreme Soviet. This, combined with the 20 seats filled on November 29 and the 119 filled in May, gave the legislature 198 members, enough to achieve a quorum.

Côte d’Ivoire: In voting widely criticized as unfair, President Henri Konan Bédié of the ruling Democratic Party won reelection with over 90 percent of the vote on October 22, and his party took at least 133 seats in the 175-seat National Assembly on November 27.

Croatia: In parliamentary elections on October 29, President Franjo Tudjman’s ruling party, the Croatian Democratic Union, retained its majority, winning 75 seats in the 127-seat House of Representatives. The Five-Party Alliance (comprising the Peasant Party, Istrian Democratic Parliament, People’s Party, Christian Democratic Union, and Party of Slavonia and Baranja) obtained 16 seats, followed by the Social Liberal Party (12 seats) and the Social Democratic Party (10 seats). The remain- ing seats were divided among minor opposition parties and independents.

Egypt: Over 25 people were killed, and about 1,000 activists linked to the Muslim Brotherhood arrested, in the weeks leading up to the November 29 parliamentary elections. Of the 444 seats in parliament, President Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party won 317, independents (mostly progovernment) secured 114, the liberal Wafd party 6, the leftist Tagammu party 5, and the Nasserites and Ahrar party 1 seat each. The government rejected international observers and did not facilitate domestic monitoring efforts. There were widespread claims of irregularities.

Georgia: In presidential elections on November 6, incumbent Eduard Shevardnadze won 75 percent of the popular vote. His nearest rival, Dzhumbar Patiashvili, received 15 percent. In parliamentary elections held the same day, Shevardnadze’s Citizens’ Union secured 105 seats in the 235-member parliament, the National Democratic Party, 35, and the Union of Georgia’s Revival, 27. The remaining seats were split among minor opposition parties and independents.

Guatemala: Marked by a low turnout and peaceful voting, the November 12 presidential elections gave a clear plurality to National Advancement Party (PAN) leader Alvaro Arzú, who won 36.6 percent of the vote. Alfonso Portillo of the Guatemalan Republican Front (FRG) obtained second place with 22.1 percent, followed by Fernando Andrade of the National Center Union (UCN) coalition (12.9 percent) and Jorge González del Valle of the New Guatemala Democratic Front (FDNG) with 7.7 percent. Arzú was set to face Portillo in runoff elections scheduled for 7 January 1996. In elections for the 80-seat parliament, the PAN won 43 seats; the FRG, 21; the FDNG, 6; and the UCN, 3.

Haiti: Presidential elections were scheduled for December 17. Results will be published in a future issue.

Hong Kong: In September 17 voting for the 60-member Legislative Council, the last to be held before the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong is incorporated into the People’s Republic of China on 1 July 1997, the Democratic Party headed by Martin Lee dominated the races for the 20 popularly elected local seats. It is expected that, with support from independents, the Democrats will be able to assemble a majority on many issues. Observers viewed the vote as a repudiation of the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong and its allies, who are estimated to control a total of 16 seats.

Kazakhstan: In parliamentary elections on December 9, voters elected 43 candidates, leaving the 67-member lower chamber two short of the two-thirds needed to establish a quorum. Runoff elections have been scheduled for February 1996.

Latvia: In October 1 parliamentary elections, nine parties passed the 5 percent threshold. The center-left Democratic Party gained 15.3 percent of the vote, Joachim Siegerist’s nationalist For Latvia won 15 percent, and the ruling Latvian Way finished third with 14.8 percent.

Poland: The race for the presidency began with a first-round vote on November 5, when Democratic Left Alliance leader Aleksander Kwaśniewski and incumbent president Lech Wałęsa  bested 11 other candidates, capturing 35.1 percent and 33.1 percent of the vote, respectively. On November 19, Kwaśniewski beat Wałęsa  to become the country’s new president, winning 51.7 percent of the vote.

Russia: Parliamentary elections were scheduled for December 17. Results will be reported in a future issue.

Taiwan: In elections for the 164-seat Legislative Yuan on December 2, the ruling Kuomintang party retained a slim majority, winning 85 seats. Its main rival, the Democratic Progressive Party, gained 4 new seats, winning a total of 54, while the conservative New Party tripled the number of its representatives by winning 21 seats. Independents took the remaining seats.

Tanzania: After many of the country’s 40,000 polling places failed to receive ballots and ballot boxes in time for the October 29 presidential and parliamentary elections, the National Electoral Commission declared Tanzania’s first multiparty election null and void. In rescheduled elections on November 19, Benjamin Mkapa of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (Party for the Revolution) was officially declared Tanzania’s president after he won 61.8 percent of the vote. Results of parliamentary voting will be reported in a future issue.

Turkey: After trying for 45 days to form a new government, Prime Minister Tansu Ciller agreed to hold parliamentary elections on December 24. Results will be published in a future issue.

Upcoming Elections (January-December 1996)

Albania: parliamentary, March-April 1996

Armenia: presidential, September 1996

Bangladesh: parliamentary, February 1996

Barbados: parliamentary, January 1996*

Benin: presidential, March 1996

Cape Verde: parliamentary, 14 January and 16 February 1996

Dominican Republic: presidential, 16 May 1996

Ecuador: presidential, 16 May 1996; legislative, October 1996

Gambia: presidential/legislative, June 1996

Gaza/West Bank: Palestinian Autonomy Council, April 1996

Ghana: presidential/legislative, November 1996

India: parliamentary, November 1996

Kazakhstan: presidential, December 1996

Kuwait: parliamentary, October 1996

Liberia: presidential/legislative, August 1996

Lithuania: parliamentary, November 1996

Mauritius: parliamentary, September 1996*

Mongolia: parliamentary, 21 June 1996

Nicaragua: presidential/legislative, 20 October 1996

Romania: presidential/legislative, September 1996

Russia: presidential, June 1996

Sierra Leone: presidential/legislative, January 1996

South Korea: parliamentary, March 1996

Suriname: presidential/legislative, May 1996

Taiwan: presidential, March 1996

Trinidad and Tobago: parliamentary, December 1996

Uganda: presidential/legislative, June 1996

Uzbekistan: presidential, December 1996

Zambia: presidential/legislative, October 1996*

Zimbabwe: presidential, February 1996


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.