Election Watch

Issue Date January 1997
Volume 8
Issue 1
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ELECTION RESULTS (September-December 1996)

Armenia: In September 22 presidential voting, the Central Election Commission reported that incumbent Levon Ter-Petrosian of the Republic Bloc coalition beat Vasken Manukian of the National Democratic Union of Armenia, 52 to 42 percent. International observers reported many irregularities in the voting, which was followed by unrest.

Bosnia-Herzegovina: Alija Izetbegovic won a plurality in the September 14 elections to serve the first two-year term as chairman of the republic’s presidential triumvirate. Izetbegovic received 724,733 votes to defeat Momcilo Krajisnik, the candidate of the Serb Democratic Party, who received 698,891 votes, and the leading Croatian candidate, Kresimir Zubak, who mustered 297,976 votes. In the 42-seat House of Representatives, in which 28 seats are reserved for the Muslim-Croat federation and 14 for the Serbs, the predominantly Muslim Party for Democratic Action won 19 seats, Krajisnik’s Serb Democratic Party took 9 seats, and the Croatian Democratic Union won 8 seats. Irregularities were reported amid suspiciously high turnout.

Bulgaria: In a November 3 presidential runoff, Peter Stoyanov of the Union of Democratic Forces defeated Ivan Marazov of the ruling Socialist Party, 59.7 to 40.3 percent. In the September 26 first round, Stoyanov led Marazov 44 to 27 percent.

Czech Republic: In two rounds of voting for the newly created 81-seat Senate, a coalition comprising the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) of Prime Minister Václav Klaus, the Civic Democratic Alliance, and the Christian Democratic Union-Czech People’s Party received a total of 52 seats. The opposition Social Democratic Party took 25 seats.

Gabon: Two-stage parliamentary elections were set for December 15 and 29. Results will appear in a future issue.

Gambia: Yahya Jammeh of the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction, who led a July 1994 military coup, won the presidential election on September 26. Jammeh defeated Ousainou Darboe of the United Democratic Party, 56 to 36 percent. Legislative elections were set for January 2; results will be reported in a future issue.

Ghana: In presidential voting on December 7, incumbent Jerry Rawlings of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) beat John Kufuor of the opposition Great Alliance, 57.2 to 39.9 percent. In parliamentary voting, the NDC won 130 seats to the opposition’s 65 seats. Turnout was 77 percent, and the voting was generally considered free and fair.

Kuwait: In restricted-franchise, male-only elections for the National Assembly held on October 8, progovernment forces captured 18 of the 50 seats, an increase of 4 seats over the 1992 elections. The Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi groups received 8 seats each, and the tribalists 7 seats. Kuwait has no political parties, so all designations are according to tendency and not affiliation. The elections were accompanied by demonstrations and a strike protesting the restricted suffrage.

Lebanon: Five-stage, five-region voting ended September 15. Balloting was by lists according to religion rather than party, with the 128-seat parliament split evenly between Christian and Muslim seats. Maronite Christians were allocated 34 seats, followed by Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims with 27 seats each. The Hezbollah won 7 of the Shi’ite seats. The voting was generally not considered fair and transparent.

Lithuania: In proportional elections on October 20 and first-past-the-post voting on November 10, the Homeland Union party of former president Vytautas Landsbergis won 70 seats in the 141-seat Seimas, Lithuania’s parliament. The Christian Democrats won 16 seats, allowing the formation of an 86-seat majority coalition. The ex-communist Democratic Labor Party, which won a majority in 1992, mustered just 12 seats.

Madagascar: A presidential election was held November 3, after the impeachment last July of incumbent Albert Zafy. Didier Ratsiraka, Zafy’s predecessor, bested him by 36 to 23 percent. A runoff is set for early 1997. The results will be reported in a future issue.

Mauritania: The ruling Democratic and Social Republican Party of President Ould Taya won 70 seats in parliament in the October 11-18 elections. Independents carried 7 seats, and the only opposition party, Action for Change, won one seat. The elections were boycotted by the the opposition Union of Democratic Forces.

Moldova: Former communist Petru Lucinschi was elected president in a December 1 runoff, besting incumbent Mircea Snegur by 54 to 46 percent. Snegur had won a plurality in the November 17 first round, carrying 38 percent of the vote to Lucinschi’s 24 percent.

Nicaragua: In a presidential election on October 20, Arnoldo Alemán of the Liberal Alliance won 51 percent, defeating former president and Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega, who polled 37 percent. Incumbent Violeta Chamorro was constitutionally precluded from running for reelection. Ortega has protested the results, promising a court challenge.

Romania: In a November 17 presidential runoff, opposition candidate Emil Constantinescu of the Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR) beat incumbent Ion Iliescu of the Social Democracy Party of Romania (PDSR) by 54 to 45 percent (Iliescu had bested the challenger in the November 3 first round by 32 to 28 percent.) In parliamentary voting, the CDR won 122 seats in the 328-seat Chamber of Deputies and 53 seats in the 143-member Senate, making it the largest party in both and the senior partner in a majority coalition with the Social Democratic Union and the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania.

Slovenia: In November 10 voting for the 90-seat lower house of parliament, Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek’s Liberal Democrats won 25 seats (representing a loss of 5 from their 1994 total). They were followed by the Slovenian People’s Party with 19 seats (a gain of 9), and the Associated List of Social Democrats with 16 seats (a gain of 2). Smaller parties split the remaining 30 seats.

Thailand: The New Aspiration Party (NAP) of Chaovalit Yongchaiyut won 126 of 393 available seats in November 17 parliamentary balloting, edging out the Democrat Party of ex-premier Chuan Leekpai (122 seats). The incumbent ruling party, Chart Thai (Thai Nation), fell from 92 to 38 seats. The NAP formed a six-party, 221-seat governing coalition with Chaovalit as premier, while the Democrats stayed in opposition. The elections came after Prime Minister Banhan Silpa-archa of Chart Thai dissolved parliament, which had come to power in July 1995.

Yugoslavia: Elections on November 3 gave 64 seats in the 138-seat federal parliament to a coalition comprising President Slobodan Milosevic’s New Democratic Party and the Yugoslav Left. The opposition coalition Zajedno (Together) won 22 seats. The Democratic Socialist Party, which holds power in Montenegro, won 21 seats. The nationalist Serbian Radical Party won 16 seats. There were few observers, and the elections were generally not considered fair. In mid-November, large demonstrations against Milosevic began as courts nullified what evidently were opposition victories in local elections.

Zambia: Incumbent president Frederick J.T. Chiluba of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy won a disputed election on November 18. His main rival, former president Kenneth Kaunda, was barred from running under a new law restricting candidacy to Zambian natives. Observers said that the election “cannot be said to have been free and fair.”

Upcoming Elections (January-December 1997)

Argentina: legislative, October 1997

Bolivia: legislative, May 1997; presidential, 1 June 1997

Cameroon: presidential/legislative, April 1997

Chad: parliamentary, 5 January and 23 February 1997

El Salvador: legislative, 16 March 1997

Guyana: presidential/parliamentary, October 1997

Honduras: presidential/legislative, 30 November 1997

Indonesia: legislative, 29 May 1997

Kenya: presidential/parliamentary, December 1997*

Liberia: presidential/legislative, 30 May 1997

Mali: legislative, January-February 1997; presidential, June 1997

Mexico: legislative, August 1997

Mongolia: presidential, June 1997

Pakistan: parliamentary, 3 February 1997

South Korea: presidential, December 1997*

Yemen: parliamentary, April 1997

Zaire: presidential, May 1997; parliamentary, June 1997


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.