ELECTION RESULTS (March–June 2015)
Benin: In April 26 elections for the 83-seat National Assembly, President Thomas Boni Yayi’s Cauri Forces for an Emerging Benin (FCBE) and its coalition partner the Amana Alliance (AA) won a 33-seat plurality, but failed to secure an absolute majority. The two main opposition parties—the Build the Nation Union coalition and the Party of Democratic Renewal (PRD), led by former prime minister Adrien Houngbédji—received 13 and 10 seats, respectively. The liberal opposition Benin Rebirth Party and its coalition partner the Patriotic Revival Party won 7 seats, and the opposition National Alliance for Development and Democracy (AND) won 5 seats. Six other parties split the remaining 15 seats. The new government will be headed by the PRD’s Houngbédji.
Burundi: Presidential and legislative elections scheduled to take place in June were postponed after violence escalated in response to President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term.
El Salvador: In elections held on March 1 for the 84-seat Legislative Assembly, the opposition National Republican Alliance (Arena) won 35 seats, outpolling the left-wing Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) of President Salvador Sánchez Cerén, which received 31 seats, leaving neither party with a clear majority. The conservative Grand Alliance for National Unity (GANA) party won 11 seats, the right-wing National Coalition Party (PCN) received 6 seats, and the Christian Democratic Party (PDC) received one seat. The Supreme Electoral Tribunal took nearly a month to announce the results due to a failure of the computer software used for vote tabulation. [End Page 176]
Ethiopia: According to preliminary returns from elections held on May 24 for the 547-seat House of People’s Representatives, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn’s longtime ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) won all of the 442 seats for which results were available. Full results, which are due June 22, will be reported in a future issue. Opposition parties alleged that they had been subject to intimidation as well as obstructed from campaigning and registering voters in the lead-up to the election. One opposition candidate described the vote as “an organized armed robbery.”
Guyana: In May 11 elections for the 65-seat National Assembly, the Partnership for National Unity and Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) opposition coalition won 51 percent of the vote and a slim majority of 33 seats. The ruling People’s Progressive Party–Civic (PPP-C), which had been in power since 1992, won 49 percent and 32 seats. Under Guyanese law, the leader of the party that receives the most votes assumes the presidency, so APNU+AFC’s David Granger, a retired army general, became president, defeating incumbent Donald Ramotar of the PPP-C.
Kazakhstan: In the April 26 presidential election, which took place a year earlier than originally scheduled, longtime incumbent Nursultan Nazarbayev of the People’s Democratic Party “Nur Otan” won 98 percent of the vote. Turgun Syzdykov of the Communist People’s Party won 2 percent, and independent candidate Abelgazi Kusainov received less than one percent. Nazarbayev has been in power since 1989. OSCE election observers criticized the election due to the lack of a credible opposition and restrictions on freedom of expression.
Mexico: According to preliminary results of elections held June 7 for the 500-seat Chamber of Deputies, the country’s three major parties—the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the National Action Party (PAN), and the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD)—received only 60 percent of the total vote. The ruling PRI maintained its majority, despite winning only 29 percent. Full results will be reported in a future issue.
Nigeria: Following a six-week delay, the presidential election was held on March 28. Former general and military ruler Muhammadu Buhari of the newly formed opposition party All Progressives Congress (APC) won 54 percent of the vote, defeating incumbent Goodluck Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), who won 45 percent. Jonathan conceded defeat shortly before the announcement of the final results, marking Nigeria’s first peaceful transfer of power from an incumbent to an opposition candidate. In a statement issued immediately following the voting, election observers from the National Democratic Institute said that, despite challenges related to the introduction of new voting technologies, the elections [End Page 177] were “peaceful, transparent, and credible,” and that they “highlighted the strong and enthusiastic commitment of Nigerians to democratic processes.” Elections were held concurrently for Nigeria’s bicameral National Assembly. According to preliminary results, the APC won 197 seats in the 360-seat House of Representatives and 60 seats in the 109-seat Senate. For more on Nigeria’s election, see the article by Peter Lewis and Darren Kew on pp. 94–109 above.
Poland: In the May 24 presidential runoff, conservative challenger Andrzej Sebastian Duda of the Law and Justice party won 52 percent, besting incumbent Bronisāaw Komorowski of the ruling Civic Platform. In the first round of voting, held on May 10, Duda received 35 percent; Komorowski, 34 percent; and rock musician Paweā Kukiz, running as an independent, 21 percent. Voter turnout increased from 49 percent in the first round to 55 percent in the runoff.
Sudan: In the April 13–16 presidential election, incumbent Omar Hassan al-Bashir of the National Congress Party (NCP) won with 94 percent of the vote. Al-Bashir’s closest competitor, Fadl el-Sayed Shuiab, leader of the Federal Truth Party (FTP), received only one percent, while the remaining fourteen candidates each received less than one percent. In elections held concurrently for the 450-seat National Assembly, the ruling NCP won a 323-seat majority; the various Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) factions won 40 seats; independent candidates won 19 seats; and the remaining seats were divided among smaller parties. Most opposition parties boycotted, and criticized the regime for conducting elections before carrying out a long-awaited national dialogue to bring together Sudan’s political parties, warring factions, and civil society. Turnout was 43 percent. EU election observers criticized the Sudanese government for its failure to create a “conducive” election environment, while Norway, the United States, and the United Kingdom issued a joint statement saying, “The outcome of these elections cannot be considered a credible expression of the will of the Sudanese people.”
Suriname: In May 25 elections for the 51-seat National Assembly, the National Democratic Party of President Dési Bouterse, a former military ruler, won 26 seats and 46 percent. Its main rival, the newly formed seven-party V7 opposition coalition led by Chandrikapersad Santokhi, a former justice minister and police commissioner, received 18 seats and 37 percent. The A-Combination, an alliance between the Brotherhood and Unity in Politics party and the General Liberation and Development Party, received 5 seats and 11 percent. Two other parties each won a single seat. To be reelected as president, Bouterse must receive a two-thirds majority in the Assembly. Otherwise, he will need a simple majority in a larger body, the United People’s Assembly. [End Page 178]
Togo: In the April 25 presidential election, President Faure Gnassingbé of the Union for the Republic (UNIR) won a third term with 59 percent of the vote. His main challenger, Jean-Pierre Fabre of the National Alliance for Change (ANC), received 35 percent; Tchaboré Gogue of the Alliance of Democrats for Integrated Development (ADDI) received 4 percent; and Gerry Taama of the New Togolese Commitment (NET), one percent.
Turkey: According to preliminary results of elections held on June 7 for the 550-seat Grand National Assembly, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) received 258 seats and 41 percent, losing its majority. The main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), received 132 seats and 25 percent; the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) received 80 seats and 16 percent; and the Kurdish left-wing Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) won 80 seats and 13 percent.
UPCOMING ELECTIONS (July 2015–June 2016)
Argentina: presidential/legislative, 25 October 2015
Azerbaijan: parliamentary, by November 2015
Belarus: presidential, 20 November 2015
Benin: presidential, by March 2016
Burkina Faso: presidential/parliamentary, 11 October 2015
Burma: legislative, by November 2015
Cape Verde: parliamentary, by February 2016
Chad: presidential, by April 2016; legislative, by December 2015
Côte d’Ivoire: presidential, by October 2015
Croatia: parliamentary, by February 2016
Djibouti: presidential, by April 2016
Dominica: parliamentary, by December 2015
Dominican Republic: presidential/legislative, 15 May 2016 [End Page 179]
Egypt: parliamentary, by December 2015
Equatorial Guinea: presidential, by December 2015
Guatemala: presidential/legislative, 13 September 2015
Guinea: presidential, by October 2015
Haiti: parliamentary, 9 August 2015; presidential, 25 October 2015
Iran: parliamentary, by February 2016
Kyrgyzstan: parliamentary, by November 2015
Mongolia: parliamentary, by June 2016
Niger: presidential/parliamentary, by December 2015
Peru: presidential, by April 2016
Philippines: presidential/legislative, by May 2016
Poland: parliamentary, by October 2015
Russia: parliamentary, by December 2015
Samoa: parliamentary, by March 2016
Sri Lanka: legislative, by April 2016
Taiwan: presidential, by January 2016
Tanzania: presidential, by October 2015
Uganda: presidential/parliamentary, by February 2016
Venezuela: legislative, by December 2015
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. [End Page 180]