Election Watch

Issue Date January 1994
Volume 5
Issue 1
Page Numbers 147-50
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ELECTION RESULTS (September 1993-December 1993)

Argentina: In congressional elections on October 4, the ruling Justicialist Nationalist Movement (Peronists) won 42.3 percent of the votes, defeating the opposition Radical Civic Union, which finished with 30 percent. The Peronists will gain ten seats in the Chamber of Deputies, giving them a total of 126 out of 257 seats and, with the support of representatives from some of the smaller parties, a working majority; the Radicals will drop one seat to a total of 83.

Azerbaijan: After armed rebels forced democratically elected President Abulfez Elchibey to flee the capital of Baku in June, he received a decisive vote of no confidence in a popular referendum on August 29. On October 3 new elections were held to determine his successor, and in a contest reminiscent of the Soviet era, Gaidar Aliyev, former KGB general and Soviet Politburo member, was elected with nearly 99 percent of the vote.

Central African Republic: Presidential candidate Ange-Félix Patassé succeeded in defeating Abel Goumba with 52.47 percent of the vote in runoff elections on September 12. Contrary to the information presented in our last issue, final returns showed that in first-round elections on August 22 Goumba had narrowly outdistanced David Dacko for second place and a spot in the runoff.

Chile: Preliminary returns showed that centrist Christian Democratic candidate Eduardo Frei Ruíz-Tagle, the son of Chile’s popular former president Eduardo Frei Montalva (1964-70), was the clear victor in presidential elections on December 11, winning an estimated 58 percent of the vote. His nearest challenger, rightist candidate Arturo Alessandri, received 24 percent. Frei’s center-left Coalition for Democracy [End Page 147] (Concertación) won 69 of 120 seats in the House of Deputies, but the rightist opposition holds 25 seats in the 46-member Senate, including eight appointed by General Augusto Pinochet in 1990.

Congo: Second-round legislative elections originally scheduled for June 6, but postponed because of boycotting by opposition parties and violence, were held without incident on October 3 and 6 to elect 11 legislators to seats not filled in first-round elections on May 22-23. Opposition parties succeeded in winning 8 of the 11 seats, and President Pascal Lissouba’s Pan-African Union for Social Democracy (UPADS) won the remaining three. Despite these losses, Lissouba’s coalition continues to hold a majority in the 125-member National Assembly.

Gabon: In chaotic presidential elections marred by violence and numerous irregularities, ruling president El Hadj Omar Bongo claimed reelection with 51.18 percent of the vote, defeating Paul Mba Abessole, the candidate for the Rally of Woodcutters party, who according to official figures received 26 percent. This marked the first first time that Bongo has faced an election with legal opposition parties since coming to power in 1967.

Guinea: Presidential elections originally scheduled for December 5 were postponed to December 19. Results of this election will be reported in our next issue.

Honduras: In presidential elections on November 28, Carlos Roberto Reina of the opposition Liberal Party gained 53.3 percent of the vote to defeat Oswaldo Ramos of the ruling National Party, who won 40.6 percent.

Jordan: Parliamentary elections for the 80-seat lower house were held on November 8, marking the first time that multiparty elections have been officially allowed since 1956. Although 20 diverse and largely ill-defined parties took part, the largest share of seats was won by independent centrists. The Islamic Action Front (IAF), the party of the Muslim Brotherhood, won only 16 seats, down from 22 in the 1989 parliament. Toujan Faisal made history as the first female candidate to be elected to the lower house.

Pakistan: In national parliamentary elections on October 6, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party won 86 seats in the 217-member National Assembly. The Pakistan Muslim League of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who stepped down in the midst of political turmoil in July, finished second with 72 seats. Bhutto succeeded in putting together a governing coalition, and was sworn in as prime minister on October 19.

Poland: In parliamentary elections for the 460-seat Sejm on September 19, [End Page 148] the Alliance of the Democratic Left (SLD), dominated by former communists, won a clear plurality of 20.4 percent and 171 seats, and a former satellite party of the communists, the Polish Peasants Party (PSL), finished second with 15.4 percent and 132 seats. On October 26 a coalition of the two parties chose Waldemar Pawlak of the PSL as prime minister. See the table on p. 72 above for a full report of the election results.

Serbia: Parliamentary elections were scheduled for December 19, and results will appear in our next issue.

Russia: Results for parliamentary elections held on December 12 will appear in our next issue.

Swaziland: In nonparty parliamentary elections on October 11, Swaziland’s 55 tribal districts (tinkhundla) each chose a candidate to represent them in the 65-member House of Assembly (the remaining ten members were to be nominated by the ruling monarch King Mswati III). Political parties are still not legally recognized, but this election marked the first time that Swazi citizens were officially registered to vote and given the opportunity to select their representatives through direct election.

Venezuela: Rafael Caldera, who served as president from 1969 to 1973, was returned to power in presidential elections on December 5. According to incomplete returns, Caldera, running as an independent with support from both the far Left and the far Right, won the election with over 30 percent of the vote; his three principal challengers, Claudio Fermín of the Democratic Action Party (AD), Oswaldo Alvarez Paz of the Social Christian Party (COPEI), and Andrés Veláisquez of The Radical Cause party, finished in that order, with each receiving between 21 and 24 percent of the vote.

UPCOMING ELECTIONS (January 1994-December 1994)

Antigua: parliamentary, March 1994*

Brazil: presidential/legislative, 3 October 1994

Colombia: presidential/legislative, March 1994

Costa Rica: presidential, 6 February 1994

Dominican Republic: legislative, 16 May 1994 [End Page 149]

El Salvador: presidential/legislative, March 1994

Honduras: legislative, 27 January 1994

Hungary: parliamentary, May 1994*

Liberia: presidential/legislative, February 1994*

Mexico: presidential, 21 August 1994

Mozambique: presidential/parliamentary, October 1994*

Panama: presidential/legislative, 8 May 1994

South Africa: parliamentary, 27 April 1994

Togo: parliamentary, 15 January 1994

Tunisia: parliamentary, March 1994

Uganda: parliamentary, 28 March 1994

Ukraine: parliamentary, 27 March 1994; presidential, 26 June 1994

Uruguay: presidential/legislative, 27 November 1994

* tentative

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. Most of the data for 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, 16201 Street, NW, Suite 611, Washington, DC 20006; (202) 828-8507. [End Page 150]