ELECTION RESULTS (July-September 1995)
Armenia: On July 5 and 29, Armenians took part in parliamentary elections for the first time since the country’s August 1990 declaration of independence from what was then the USSR. An observer mission from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe described the campaign period and election process as “free, but not fair,” citing the bias of the state-run mass media, numerous reports of attempts to intimidate opposition candidates, and improprieties in the registration of candidates. The pro-government, six-party Hanrapetutyun (Republic) coalition captured almost 44 percent of the popular vote and won 20 of the 40 seats allocated by proportional representation (PR). The remaining PR seats went to the women’s organization Shamiram (8), the Communist Party of Armenia (6), and the Armenian Democratic Union and National Self-Determination Union (3 apiece). Plurality voting in 150 single-member districts (SMDs) decided who would hold the remaining seats in the 190-member National Assembly. Although results in several districts were withheld pending investigation of irregularities, the Central Electoral Commission confirmed that the Hanrapetutyun bloc garnered 139 of the SMD seats.
A referendum, held at the same time as the first round of parliamentary balloting, approved Armenia’s proposed new constitution. The constitution passed muster with 68 percent of the participating voters, who in turn comprised 37.8 percent of all eligible voters. (The constitution needed to win a simple majority in the referendum, with the further stipulation that the number of “yes” votes had to equal or exceed one-third of the total number of those eligible to vote.)
Dominica: In voting on July 11, retiring prime minister Mary Eugenia Charles’s Dominica Freedom Party lost its majority in the 21-seat House of Assembly when it garnered only 5 seats. The Dominica United Workers’ Party (DUWP), led by incoming prime minister Edison C. James, captured 10 seats. The Labour Party of Dominica, meanwhile, maintained its total of 5 seats. A dispute arose over the twenty-first seat, which seemed at first to have been won by the DUWP. The disposition of that seat will be decided by either a court order or a by-election in the coming months.
Guinea: In elections whose conduct was criticized by international observers and whose results have been protested by the opposition, Guinea chose a new, 114-seat National Assembly on June 11. In this first-ever multiparty balloting, President Lansana Conte’s Party for Unity and Progress won a commanding 71 seats. The Guinean People’s Rally heads the opposition with 19 seats and has since aligned with the Party of Renewal and Progress and the Union for the New Republic, each holding 9 seats. The Union for the Progress of Guinea won 2 seats. Four other parties earned one seat each in the new legislature, which replaces the Transitional Council of National Recovery.
Haiti: In elections on June 25 (with make-up balloting, necessitated by widespread irregularities in eight of the island nation’s nine provinces, on July 22), Haitian voters chose a new 18-member Senate and 83-member Chamber of Deputies. Complete official results were still not available at the time of this writing. They will be reported in a future issue.
Hong Kong: Legislative elections were scheduled for September 17. Results will be reported in a future issue.
Lebanon: A presidential election was scheduled for September 22. Results will be reported in a future issue.
Thailand: After July 2 balloting for the 391-seat House of Representatives, the ruling coalition, led by the Democrat Party of Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai, was ousted by a new majority bloc under the leadership of the Chart Thai party. Chart Thai’s total of 92 seats bested the Democrats’ 86, making the former the largest single party in the House. Chart Thai leader Banharn Silpa-archa then formed a seven-party coalition with 233 seats and himself as prime minister. In addition to the Chart Thai, the ruling coalition includes the following parties: New Aspiration (57 seats), Palang Dharma (23 seats), Social Action (22 seats), Prachakorn Thai (18 seats), Nam Thai (18 seats), and Muanchon (3 seats). The three other parties earning representation in the National Assembly were Chart Pattana (53 seats), Seritham (11 seats), and Solidarity (8 seats).
UPCOMING ELECTIONS (October 1995-September 1996)
Azerbaijan: parliamentary, 12 November 1995
Bangladesh: parliamentary, February 1996
Barbados: parliamentary, January 1996
Benin: presidential, March 1996
Cape Verde: parliamentary, 14 January and 16 February 1996
Côte d’Ivoire: presidential, October 1995; legislative, November 1995
Dominican Republic: presidential, 16 May 1996
Ecuador: presidential, 16 May 1996
Egypt: parliamentary, November 1995
Estonia: presidential, September 1996
Gambia: presidential/legislative, June 1996
Georgia: presidential/legislative, 5 November 1995
Guatemala: presidential, 5 November; legislative, 12 November 1995*
Haiti: presidential, 26 November 1995
Latvia: parliamentary, 1 October 1995
Liberia: presidential/legislative, September 1996*
Marshall Islands: legislative, November 1995*
Mauritius: parliamentary, September 1996
Nauru: legislative, November 1995*
Poland: presidential, November 1995
Romania: presidential/legislative, September 1996
Russia: parliamentary, 17 December 1995; presidential, June 1996
Sierra Leone: presidential/legislative, January 1996
South Korea: parliamentary, March 1996
Suriname: presidential/legislative, May 1996
Taiwan: legislative, 2 December 1995; presidential, March 1996
Tanzania: presidential/legislative, 29 October 1995
Thailand: parliamentary, September 1996
Uganda: presidential/legislative, December 1995
Ukraine: parliamentary, November 1995
Vanuatu: parliamentary, December 1995
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.