Election Watch

Issue Date July 1995
Volume 6
Issue 3
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ELECTION RESULTS (March-June 1995)

Argentina: In May 14 elections, President Carlos Menem’s Justicialist Party (PJ) retained the presidency and won a clear legislative majority. Menem exceeded the 45 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff by winning 49.7 percent. The PJ’s traditional rival, the Radical Civic Union (UCR), had its worst showing ever: its candidate, Horacio Massacessi, won just 17 percent. Menem’s biggest challenge came from Senator Jos‚ Octavio Bordon of the center-left Frepaso coalition, who garnered 29.4 percent, while 11 other candidates split the remaining 3.9 percent. In the 257-seat Chamber of Deputies, the PJ won 9 new seats, bringing its total to 131. Despite losing 13 seats, the UCR maintained its position as the leading opposition party in the legislature by keeping a total of 70 seats. Frepaso gained 15 new seats to bring its total to 28. The remaining 28 seats were divided among 20 other parties, none of which won more than 3 seats.

Belarus: Two rounds of voting (held on May 14 and 28) resulted in the filling of only 120 seats in the new 260-seat legislaturefl54 short of the two-thirds required by law for the new parliament to be seated. The existing 360-member Supreme Council, elected in 1990, was expected to reconsider the two-thirds provision in June. The necessity for a third round of voting (to be held in November or December) hinged on the outcome of those deliberations.

Benin: Seventy seats in the 83-seat National Assembly were determined in legislative elections held on March 28. After the Constitutional Court declared the results invalid for the remaining 13 seats, a second round of voting was held. The final results indicate that President Nic‚phore Soglo’s Renaissance Party gained a one-seat plurality by winning 20 seats. National Assembly president Adrien Houngbedji’s Party of Democratic Renewal garnered 19 seats. The remaining 43 seats were split among 15 other parties, none of which won more than 7 seats. The Constitutional Court declared the results of one seat invalid, reducing the size of the National Assembly to 82 seats.

Ethiopia: Unofficial results of the parliamentary balloting that took place on May 8 indicate a sweep by the ruling People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front. Most opposition parties boycotted the election. Official results will be reported in our next issue.

Haiti: Legislative elections were scheduled for June 25. Results will be reported in our next issue.

Malaysia: Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad’s Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition swept parliamentary elections on April 24-25. The BN won 161of the 191 seats in the House of Representatives. Four opposition parties also garnered seats: the Democratic Action Party won 9 seats, the Sabah United Party won 8 seats, the Pan-Islamic Party won 7 seats, and the Semangat’46 won 6 seats.

Micronesia: National elections were held on March 7 for the 14-member Congress, which one week later voted to reelect both President Bailey Olter and Vice-President Jacob Nena to additional four-year terms. Special elections will be held July 1 to fill the congressional seats that they were required to win in order to be eligible for executive office.

Peru: In voting on April 9, President Alberto Fujimori defeated former UN secretary general Javier Perez de Cuellar by 64.4 to 21.8 percent. Of the remaining 13.8 percent, two minor candidates gained a combined total of 7.3 percent, while blank or annulled ballots accounted for the final 6.5 percent. By winning 67 seats, Fujimori’s Cambio 90 party gained a clear majority in the unicameral, 120-member Congress. Perez de Cuellar’s Union por el Peru won 17 seats, while 11 other parties divided the remaining 36 seats, with no single party winning more than 8 seats.

Philippines: On May 8, candidates from President Fidel Ramos’s Lakas- Laban coalition won 9 out of the 12 Senate seats that were up for re- election. (The 24-member Senate is chosen on a nationwide, at-large basis.) The leading opposition party, the Nationalist People’s Coalition, won the remaining 3 seats. Official results for the 204-seat House of Representatives are not yet known, although preliminary reports indicate that Lakas-Laban maintained its majority.

Zimbabwe: In April 8-9 voting, President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) took 63 of 65 contested seats in the 150-seat legislature. ZANU-PF had gained 55 seats prior to the election owing to a lack of opposition candidates, in addition to the 20 seats filled by presidential appointment. The Zimbabwe African National Union-Sithole party, led by Ndabaningi Sithole, won the remaining 2 contested seats. The final 10 seats are reserved for tribal chiefs.

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.