Election Watch

Issue Date October 2003
Volume 14
Issue 4
Page Numbers 181-82
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(June-September 2003)

Cambodia: Elections to the 123-seat National Assembly were held on July 27. Prime minister Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) won 47 percent, the Sam Rainsy Party won 22 percent, and the royalist FUNCINPEC party won 21 percent. When seats are allocated on the basis of these percentages, the CPP will still be short of the two-thirds majority required by the constitution to form a government. As of early September, both other parties were refusing to join a Hun Sen-led coalition. International observers noted that though the conduct of the elections showed marked improvement over 1997, there were still instances of intimidation and vote-buying.

Jordan: On June 17, Jordan held the first elections to its Assembly of Deputies since King Abdallah II came to the throne in February 1999. Of the 110 seats in the newly expanded Assembly, 62 went to tribes and families loyal to the royal court, and 17 went to the opposition Islamic Action Front. Seats were reserved for 9 Christians, 6 women, and 3 Circassians or Chechens. The elections drew a reported 59 percent voter turnout nationwide.

Kuwait: In July 5 elections to the 50-seat National Assembly, Islamists won 21 seats, a gain of one seat over the previous election. (There are no political parties in Kuwait, so candidates identify themselves by their political leanings.) Liberals, after making a major breakthrough by winning 14 seats in the 1999 elections, suffered a significant loss, winning only 3 seats. Independent candidates took 12 seats. The remaining seats went to “service” candidates who typically support the ruling al-Sabah family.

Mexico: In July 6 elections to the 500-seat Chamber of Deputies, the National Action Party (PAN) of President Vicente Fox, dropped from 207 to 153 seats. The formerly ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) went up from 208 to 224 seats and, in combination with the 17 seats of its new allies in the Ecologist Green Party, is not far short of a majority. The biggest [End Page 181] gains, however, were made by the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), which rose from 53 to 95 seats.

Rwanda: On August 25, Paul Kagame was reelected president with 95 percent of the vote amid complaints of fraud and intimidation. Parliamentary elections scheduled for September 29 will be reported on in a future issue.

(October 2003-September 2004)

Afghanistan: parliamentary, June 2004

Algeria: presidential, April 2004

Argentina: legislative, December 2003

Azerbaijan: presidential, 15 October 2003

Central African Republic: parliamentary, November 2003

Croatia: parliamentary, 2 April 2004

Dominica: presidential, October 2003

Dominican Republic: presidential, 16 May 2004

El Salvador: presidential, 21 March 2004

Equatorial Guinea: parliamentary, March 2004

Georgia: parliamentary, 2 November 2003

Guatemala: presidential and legislative, 9 November 2003

Guinea: presidential, December 2003

Guinea-Bissau: parliamentary, 12 October 2003

Indonesia: legislative, 5 April 2004

Kazakhstan: parliamentary, October 2003

Maldives: presidential, October 2003

Mauritania: presidential, 7 November 2003

Panama: presidential and legislative, 2 May 2004

Philippines: presidential and legislative, 16 May 2004

Russia: parliamentary, 7 December 2003; presidential, 14 March 2004

Slovakia: presidential, May/June 2004

South Africa: parliamentary, 2 August 2004

South Korea: parliamentary, April 2004

Swaziland: parliamentary, 18 October 2003

Taiwan: legislative, December 2003; presidential, March 2004

Thailand: parliamentary, March 2004

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. Some of the data for Election Watch come from 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, visit www.ifes.org.