Election Watch

Issue Date January 2000
Volume 11
Issue 1
Page Numbers 206-11
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ELECTION RESULTS (September–December 1999)

Argentina: Over 75 percent of the country’s 24.1 million registered voters took part in presidential and legislative elections held on October 24. In the executive contest, Fernando de la Rua of the opposition Alianza (combining the Radical Civic Union and Frepaso) won with 48.5 percent of the vote, defeating Peronist candidate Eduardo Duhalde of the Justicialist Party (PJ), who received 38.1 percent, and Domingo Cavallo of the Action for the Republic Party (AR), who gained 10.1 percent. In elections for 130 of the 257 seats in the Cámara de Diputados, the Alianza won 63 new seats, thereby raising its total to a near majority of 127. The PJ won 50 seats, dropping its total to 101, while the AR secured 9 seats, raising its total to 12. Smaller parties took the remaining 8 seats.

Botswana: In October 24 elections to the 40-member National Assembly, the ruling Botswana Democratic Party finished with 33 seats, increasing its total by 6. The Botswana National Front won 6 seats, and the Botswana Congress Party finished third with one seat. The elections drew a turnout of over 75 percent of the country’s 460,000 registered voters.

Central African Republic: Presidential balloting took place on September 19, after a delay of over three weeks. Incumbent president Ange-Félix Patassé won a majority of the votes (51.6 percent). He was followed by Andre Kolingba (19.4 percent) and David Dacko (11.2 percent). Turnout was reported at 56.4 percent of the electorate. Opposition parties contested the results, but international observers declared that even the best of procedures would not have altered the results significantly. [End Page 206]

Chile: Presidential balloting was scheduled for December 12. Results will be reported in a future issue.

Georgia: Nearly 70 percent of the country’s 2.9 million registered voters took part in October 31 elections for 225 seats in the 235-member Sakartvelos Parlamenti. Of the 150 seats assigned on a proportional basis, the ruling Citizens’ Union of Georgia (CUG) won 85 seats, the All-Georgian Union of Revival (AGUR) received 51 seats, and the “Industry Will Save Georgia” bloc finished third with 14 seats. Of 75 members elected in single-member districts, the CUG won 33, the AGUR won 7, and independents won 9. The remaining 26 seats were decided in November 14 runoffs, the results of which will be reported in a future issue. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) noted some violations of free and fair electoral practices.

Guatemala: In November 7 elections to the 115-seat unicameral Congreso Nacional, the Guatemalan Republican Front (FRG) won a majority (63 seats); the ruling National Advancement Party (PAN) won 37 seats; the New Nation Alliance (ANN), 11; the Guatemalan Christian Demo-cratic Party, 2; and the Progressive Liberal Party and the Green Coalition, one seat each. In the presidential race held the same day, Alfonso Portillo of the FRG received 43.6 percent of the vote, followed by PAN candidate Oscar Berger (27.8 percent) and Alvaro Colom of the ANN (11.3 percent). Because no candidate secured the majority need to avoid a runoff, a second round will be held on December 26, with Portillo and Berger running. Results will be reported in a future issue.

Guinea-Bissau: Parliamentary and presidential elections were held on November 28, the first since the 1998 civil war in which then-president João Bernardo Vieira was deposed. Results of the voting for the 102-member National People’s Assembly gave the Social Renewal Party (PRS) 37 seats, the Guinea-Bissau Resistance 27, and the ruling African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) 25. In the presidential race, PRS leader Koumba Yalla finished first, with 38 percent of the vote, while Malam Bacai Sanha of the PAIGC finished second with 23 percent. Since neither secured a majority, a runoff presidential election will be held, at a date yet to be announced.

India: Over 60 percent of the country’s 620 million registered voters cast their ballots in five rounds of elections—from September 5 through October 3—to the 543-seat Lok Sabha. The National Democratic Alliance (composed of the Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies) won 298 seats, thereby securing an even larger majority. The Indian National Congress and its coalition allies won only 136 seats, while the Communist Party of India (Marxist) came in third with 32 seats. Voting [End Page 207] in six districts was delayed due to flooding. These were India’s third general elections since 1996.

Kazakhstan: Elections to the Majlis, the 77-seat lower chamber of parliament, commenced on October 10. In the new dual-system ballot, 10 seats are decided by party-list proportional tallies, and the other 67 are decided in single-member districts. Official Election Commission results for the proportional tallies gave the Otan (Fatherland) party (which backs President Nursultan Nazarbayev) 4 seats, and the Communist Party, the Agrarian Party, and the Civil Party 2 seats each. Of the country’s 8.4 million registered voters, 62.6 percent were said to have participated. Turnout declined by over 10 percent, however, in runoffs for 47 of the 67 single-member districts, held on October 24. With all the proportional and single-member-district seats assigned, the Otan party gained a total of 23 spots, the Civil Party finished with 13, the Communists and the Agrarians won 3 seats each, and the Popular Cooperative Party received 1. The remaining seats were won by independents. Observers voiced serious concerns over voting and counting procedures, as well as over the absence of the main opposition party, Azamat.

Macedonia: In the first round of presidential balloting on October 31, Tito Petkovski of the opposition Social Democratic Union of Macedonia won 38 percent, Deputy Foreign Minister Boris Trajkovski of the ruling Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization received 25 percent, and Vasil Tupurkovski of the Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity won 20 percent. In the November 14 runoff between the top two candidates, Trajkovski won with 52.9 percent, while Petovski finished with 45.9 percent. International monitors noted some irregularities. On November 28, the Supreme Court and election officials ruled that the runoff balloting had to be repeated in polling stations involving over 160,000 voters. The December 5 reballoting yielded the same results as the earlier voting.

Malaysia: Elections to the 193-seat House of Representatives (Dewan Rakyat) were held on November 29 (using single-member districts), less than three weeks after Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad dissolved the body. Mahathir’s ruling National Front (BN) coalition won 148 seats, maintaining the two-thirds necessary to amend the constitution. The opposition Alternative Front coalition won 42 seats (of which 27 went to the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party and 10 to the Democratic Action Party). The Sabah United Party took the remaining 3 seats.

Mozambique: Presidential and parliamentary elections took place on December 3–5. Results will be reported in a future issue. [End Page 208]

Namibia: Elections to both the presidency and the parliament were held on November 30 and December 1. Preliminary results showed the ruling South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) dominating both polls. SWAPO received 55 seats in the 72-seat National Assembly, easily maintaining its two-thirds majority (needed to amend the constitution). Two opposition parties, the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA) and the Congress of Democrats (COD), won 7 seats each. In the presidential contest, incumbent president Samuel Nujoma finished with over 75 percent of the vote, while COD candidate Ben Ulenga received 11 percent and DTA candidate Katuutire Kaura polled 10 percent.

Niger: On October 17, more than 43 percent of the nation’s 4.6 million registered voters cast their ballots in the first presidential elections to be held since the April 1999 coup, in which President Ibrahim Baré Mainassara was assassinated. (The new system of government, involving a semipresidential system, had been approved in a referendum on July 18.) Mamadou Tandja of the National Movement for a Developing Society (MNSD) came in first, with 32.3 percent of the vote; former prime minister Mahamadou Issoufou of the Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS) received 22.8 percent; Mahamane Ousmane of the Democratic and Social Convention (CDS) closely followed with 22.5 percent; Hamid Algabit of the Democratic Rally of the People (RDP) won 10.8 percent; and Moumouni Adamou Djermakoye of the Nigerien Alliance for Democracy and Progress (ANDP) finished with 7.7 percent. In the November 24 runoff, Tandja defeated Issifou, winning 59.9 percent of the votes. In elections to the 83-seat parliament, also held on November 24, the MNSD secured 38 seats; the CDS, 17; the PNDS, 16; the RDP, 8; and the ANDP, 4.

Russia: Elections to the lower house of parliament (the State Duma) were scheduled for December 19. Results will be reported in a future issue.

Sri Lanka: Presidential elections were scheduled for December 21. Results will be reported in a future issue.

Tunisia: More than 90 percent of the country’s 3.5 million voters cast ballots in October 24 elections to both the presidency and the parliament (Majlis Al-Nuwab). Incumbent president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali received 99.4 percent of the presidential ballots, while his two competitors, Abderrahmen Tlili and Mohamed Belhadj Amor, received only 0.23 percent and 0.31 percent, respectively. In the 182-seat parliament, Ben Ali’s party, the Constitutional Democratic Rally, won all 148 contested seats with 91.6 percent of the votes. The opposition parties split their constitutionally mandated 34 seats according to their [End Page 209] fractions of the votes, the largest share of which went to the Socialist Democratic Movement (13 seats).

Ukraine: On October 31, 70 percent of the country’s 37.5 million regis-tered voters turned out for the first round of presidential balloting, which was contested by 13 candidates. Incumbent president Leonid Kuchma received 36.5 percent of the vote, followed by Communist Petro Symonenko with 22.2 percent, Oleksandr Moroz of the Socialist Party with 11.3 percent, Natalya Vitrenko of the Progressive Socialist Party with 11 percent, and Yevhen Marchuk with 8.1 percent. In the November 14 runoff, Kuchma defeated Symonenko, 56.3 percent to 37.8 percent. President Kuchma will thus continue in office for another five years. Observers from the OSCE praised the voting as fair but voiced concern over undemocratic practices during the campaign.

Uruguay: Presidential and legislative balloting was held on October 31. In elections to the bicameral Congreso, which includes the 30-seat Senate and the 99-seat Chamber of Deputies, the leftist Progressive Encounter (EP) won a plurality for the first time in Uruguay’s history, gaining 12 seats in the Senate and 40 in the lower house. The two long-established parties, the Colorado Party (PC) and the National (or Blanco) Party (PN), received 10 and 7 seats, respectively, in the Senate and 32 and 23 seats, respectively, in the lower house. In the first round of the presidential race, EP candidate Tabaré Vázquez received the largest share of votes (38.5 percent), but not enough to avoid a runoff. Jorge Batlle of the PC followed with 31.3 percent, and Luis Alberto Lacalle of the PN received 21.3 percent. In the November 11 runoff election, Batlle won with 51.6 percent, while Vázquez received 44.1 percent.

Yemen: On September 23, Yemen held its first direct presidential election (mandated by a 1994 amendment to the constitution). Incumbent presi-dent Ali Abdullah Saleh won with 96.3 percent of the vote, while Najib Al-Shaibi, a little-known member of Saleh’s own party, received the remaining 3.7 percent. The main opposition candidate, Ali Saleh Obad of the Yemeni Socialist Party, was not approved to run by the parliament, and his party boycotted the election. According to official figures, 66 percent of the country’s 5.6 million registered voters participated, but opposition parties contended that the turnout was much lower.

UPCOMING ELECTIONS (January–December 2000)

Azerbaijan: parliamentary, June 2000

Comoros: legislative, January 2000 (earliest); presidential, April 2000

Côte d’Ivoire: presidential, October 2000

Croatia: parliamentary, 3 January 2000

Dominica: parliamentary, 12 June 2000

Dominican Republic: presidential, 16 May 2000

El Salvador: legislative, March 2000

Ethiopia: parliamentary, 14 May 2000

Georgia: presidential, April 2000

Ghana: presidential/legislative, December 2000

Grenada: parliamentary, December 2000 (latest)

Haiti: legislative, 19 March and 20 April 2000

Iran: parliamentary, 18 February 2000

Kyrgyzstan: parliamentary, 23 or 24 March 2000; presidential, Decem-ber 2000 (latest)

Lesotho: parliamentary, April 2000 (earliest)

Lithuania: parliamentary, October 2000 (approximate)

Mexico: presidential/legislative, 2 July 2000

Peru: presidential/legislative, April 2000

Poland: presidential, October 2000 (approximate)

Romania: presidential/parliamentary, September 2000 (latest)

Russia: presidential, 4 June and 25 June 2000

St. Kitts and Nevis: parliamentary, July 2000 (latest)

Senegal: presidential, 28 February 2000

South Korea: parliamentary, April 2000

Suriname: presidential, May 2000

Taiwan: presidential, 18 March 2000

Tajikistan: parliamentary, 26 February 2000

Tanzania: presidential/parliamentary, October 2000

Thailand: upper house, March 2000; lower house, November 2000

Trinidad and Tobago: presidential/parliamentary, August 2000 (earliest)

Uzbekistan: presidential, December 2000

Zimbabwe: legislative, March 2000

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.