ELECTION RESULTS (March–June 2019)
Benin: In April 28 elections to the National Assembly, two parties aligned with President Patrice Talon won all 83 seats—47 for the Progressive Union and 36 for the Republican Bloc. In the lead-up to the election, all genuine opposition parties were barred from participating. In response, opposition leaders called on their supporters to boycott and to protest the election. The government cracked down on the protests, arresting activists and shutting down the internet ahead of the vote. In spite of the government’s efforts to counter the boycott, only 23 percent of voters turned out, a sharp decline from 65 percent in the previous election.
Comoros: In the March 24 presidential election, President Azali Assoumani of the Convention for the Renewal of Comoros won 61 percent, avoiding a runoff. Mahamoud Ahamada of the Juwa party won 15 percent, Mouigni Baraka Saïd Soilihi won 6 percent, and Mohamed Soilihi won 4 percent. Several other opposition candidates were not permitted to run. Observers from the European Union, the African Union, and other international groups criticized the election as marred by irregularities and a lack of transparency. Opposition groups rejected the results. Mohamed Soilihi, who declared himself head of a transitional authority to replace Assoumani, was arrested, leading to widespread protests in which four people were killed. Assoumani was sworn in as president on May 26.
Estonia: In March 3 elections for the 101-seat Riigikogu, Kaja Kallas’s Estonian Reform Party (RE) won 34 seats, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas’s Estonian Center Party (EK) won 26, the Conservative People’s Party (EKRE) won 19, the Pro Patria party won 12, and the Social Democratic Party won 10. Despite winning the most seats, the center-right RE and its allies, the Social Democrats, fell short of the 51 seats necessary to form [End Page 179] a government. In April, the EK formed a coalition government with Pro Patria and the far-right EKRE, with Ratas as prime minister.
India: In elections that began on April 11 and ended on May 19 for the 543-seat Lok Sabha, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi won 303 seats, and the BJP-led alliance won 354 seats in total. The Indian National Congress (INC) led by Rahul Gandhi won 52 seats, and the INC-led coalition won 91 seats in total. The remaining seats were won by smaller parties.
Indonesia: In the April 17 presidential election, President Joko Widodo of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) was reelected with 56 percent of the vote, defeating Prabowo Subianto of the Gerindra party, who won 45 percent. Prabowo rejected the results, alleging widespread fraud, but international observers praised the election as free and fair. On May 21, after the official results were released, six people were killed, two-hundred injured, and 62 arrested in clashes between pro-Prabowo protesters and police in Jakarta. In concurrent elections for the 575-seat People’s Representative Council, the PDI-P won 128 seats; Golkar won 85; Gerindra won 78; the Nasdem Party won 59; the National Awakening Party won 58; the Democrat Party won 54; the Prosperous Justice Party won 50; the National Mandate Party won 44; and the United Development Party won 19.
Kazakhstan: In the June 9 presidential election, incumbent president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of the long-ruling Nur Otan party won 71 percent of the vote, defeating moderate opposition leader Amirzhan Kosanov of the Ult Tagdyry movement, who won 16 percent. The election was called in April after Nursultan Nazarbayev, who had been president since 1990, stepped down and appointed Tokayev interim president. Observers from the OSCE criticized the election as “tarnished by clear violations of fundamental freedoms.” There were large protests in the capital and other large cities on election day, and more than five-hundred protesters were detained by the police. More than a hundred protesters were also arrested at protests during Tokayev’s inauguration.
Lithuania: In the May 26 presidential runoff, economist Gitanas Nausÿeda, who ran as an independent, won 66 percent of the vote, defeating Ingrida Simonytÿe, also an independent. In the first round on May 12, Simonytÿe won 31.3 percent, Nausÿeda 30.9 percent, and Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis 19.6 percent.
Malawi: In the May 21 presidential election, President Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was reelected with 39 percent of the vote. Lazarus Chakwera of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) won 35 percent, and Vice-President Saulos Chilima of the United Transformation Movement (UTM) won 20 percent. The Malawi Electoral Commission received 147 reports of irregularities and vote-rigging, including complaints [End Page 180] from the MCP. After initially imposing an injunction, the Malawi high court allowed the results to be released on May 27, declaring Mutharika the winner. In concurrent elections for the 193-seat National Assembly, the DPP won 62 seats, the MCP 55, the United Democratic Front 10, the People’s Party 5, the UTM 4, and the Alliance for Democracy 1. The remaining 56 seats were won by independents.
Maldives: In April 6 elections for the 87-seat People’s Majlis, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s Maldivian Democratic Party won 65 seats. Former president Abdulla Yameen’s Progressive Party of the Maldives won 5 seats, the Jumhooree Party 5, the People’s National Congress 3, and the Maldives Development Alliance 2. Independent candidates won 7 seats.
Mauritania: The presidential election was scheduled for June 22; results will be reported in a future issue.
Nigeria: In February 23 elections for the 109-seat Senate, the All Progressives Congress (APC) won 64, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) won 41, the Young Progressive Party (YPP) won 1, and 3 seats have not yet been assigned. In concurrent elections for the 360-seat House of Representatives, the APC won 217 seats, the PDP won 115, the All Progressives Grand Alliance won 9, and the African Democratic Congress won 3. The remaining seats were won by smaller parties or have not yet been assigned. For more on Nigeria’s election, see the article by Ayo Obe on pp. 109–23 above.
North Macedonia: In the May 5 presidential runoff, Stevo Pendarovski of the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) won with 52 percent of the vote, defeating Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization–Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE). In the first round on April 21, Pendarovski won 42.8 percent, Siljanovska-Davkova won 42.2 percent, and Blerim Reka, an independent, won 10.6 percent.
Panama: In the May 5 presidential election, Laurentino Cortizo of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) won with 33 percent of the vote. Rómulo Roux of the Democratic Change party (CD) won 31 percent, independent candidate Ricardo Lomana won 19 percent, and José Blandón of the Pro-Panamanian Party (PP) won 11 percent. In concurrent elections for the 71-seat National Assembly, the PRD won 36 seats, the CD 18, the PP 8, and the Nationalist Republican Liberal Movement 4. Independents won the remaining 5 seats.
Philippines: In May 13 midterm elections for 12 seats in the 24-member Senate, members of the Faction for Change (HNP) coalition backed by President Rodrigo Duterte won 9: Duterte’s Philippine Democratic Party–People’s Power (PDP-Laban) won 4, the Nationalista Party 3, the Democratic Filipino Struggle party (LDP) 1, and Lakas–Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas–CMD) 1. The Nationalist People’s Coalition [End Page 181] (NPC) and the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) each won 1 seat, and the remaining seat was won by an independent. In elections for the 246 seats of the House of Representatives allotted to single-member districts, PDP-Laban won 82 seats, the Nationalista Party 42, NPC 36, the National Unity Party 25, the Liberal Party 18, and Lakas–CMD 11. The remaining seats were won by smaller parties and independents.
Slovakia: In the March 30 presidential runoff, Zuzana Caputová of the Progressive Slovakia party (PS) won with 58 percent of the vote, defeating Maroš Sefèoviè, who ran as an independent with the backing of the Direction–Social Democracy (Smer-SD) party of Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini. In the first round on March 16, Caputová won 41 percent, Sefèoviè won 19 percent, independent candidate Stefan Harabin won 14 percent, and Marian Kotleba of the far-right Kotleba–People’s Party Our Slovakia won 10 percent.
South Africa: In May 8 elections for the 400-seat National Assembly, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s African National Congress (ANC) won 230 seats, giving it a sixth term in power. The Democratic Alliance won 84 seats, the Economic Freedom Fighters 44, the Inkatha Freedom Party 14, and the Freedom Front Plus 10. Smaller parties split the remaining 18 seats.
Thailand: In March 24 elections for the 500-seat House of Representatives, the opposition Pheu Thai Party (PPT) won 136 seats; the Palang Pracharath Party, headed by military junta leader Prayut Chan-ocha, won 116; the Future Forward Party won 81; the Democrat Party won 53; the Bhumjai Thai Party won 51; the Thai Liberal Party and the Chart Thai Pattana Party each won 10; and smaller parties won the remaining 43 seats. This was the first election following the 2014 military coup that overthrew the Pheu Thai government and brought Prayut Chan-ocha to power. The anti-junta Democratic Front coalition, which includes the PPT, Future Forward, the Thai Liberal Party, and PPT-linked regional parties, was projected in early returns to win 255 seats, but following a six-week tabulation that local and international groups alleged was marred by fraud and irregularities, the Democratic Front received only 245 seats. Under the postcoup constitution, the prime minister is elected by a combined majority of the House of Representatives and the 250-seat Senate, all of whose members are appointed by the military. On May 5, Prayut was elected prime minister.
Ukraine: In the April 21 presidential runoff, Volodymyr Zelensky of the new Servant of the People party won 73 percent of the vote, defeating President Petro Poroshenko, who won 24 percent. In the first round on March 31, Zelensky won 30 percent, Poroshenko won 16 percent, and Yulia Tymoshenko of the Fatherland party won 13 percent. International observers praised the election as genuinely competitive and well run. For more on Ukraine’s election, see the article by Joanna Rohozinska and Vitaliy Shpak on pp. 33–47 above. [End Page 182]
UPCOMING ELECTIONS (July 2019–June 2020)
Afghanistan: presidential, 20 July 2019
Argentina: legislative/presidential, 27 October 2019
Belarus: parliamentary, 31 December 2019
Bolivia: legislative, 27 October 2019
Botswana: parliamentary, 31 October 2019
Croatia: parliamentary, 31 December 2019
Dominica: parliamentary, 31 December 2019
Guatemala: legislative/presidential, 16 July 2019
Guyana: parliamentary, 1 July 2019
Haiti: parliamentary, 27 October 2019
Iran: parliamentary, 28 February 2020
Madagascar: parliamentary, by 31 December 2019
Mauritius: parliamentary, by 31 December 2019
Mozambique: presidential/legislative, 15 October 2019
Namibia: presidential/legislative, 27 November 2019
Nauru: parliamentary, 31 August 2019
Poland: parliamentary, 30 November 2019
Romania: presidential, 31 December 2019
Saint Kitts and Nevis: parliamentary, 28 February 2020
Slovakia: parliamentary, 31 March 2020
Taiwan: legislative/presidential, 11 January 2020
Tunisia: parliamentary, 6 October 2019; presidential, 10 November 2019
Uruguay: legislative, 31 October 2019
Uzbekistan: parliamentary, 31 December 2019
Vanuatu: parliamentary, 31 March 2020
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.