According to preliminary results of the March 6 first-round presidential election, incumbent Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou of the ruling Cauri Forces for an Emerging Benin led with 28 percent of the vote. His closest opponent, businessman Patrice Talon, running as an independent, received 25 percent. As of this writing, the date for the runoff had not yet been announced.
Parliamentary elections were scheduled for March 20; results will be reported in a future issue.
Central African Republic:
In the February 14 presidential runoff, former prime minister Faustin-Archange Touadera, running as an independent, won 63 percent of the vote. He defeated Anicet-Georges Dologuélé, another former prime minister and the leader of the Union for Central African Renewal, who received 37 percent. Dologuélé was backed by former president François Bozizé, who was ousted by rebel groups in 2013. The runoff reversed the results of the first round, held on December 30, in which Dologuélé won 24 percent and Touadera won 19 percent. Dologuélé conceded defeat despite complaining of “massive fraud” in the runoff. The Constitutional Court is scheduled to rule March 11 on the results of the presidential vote. Parliamentary elections, which were postponed in December due to widespread irregularities, are scheduled to take place by the end of April; results will be reported in a future issue.
In the February 21 first-round presidential election, none of the 25 candidates succeeded in securing an absolute majority, setting up a runoff between the top three vote-getters; Minister of Finance Mohamed Ali Soilihi of the Union for the Development of the Comoros (18 percent); [End Page 177] Mouigni Baraka Saïd Soilihi of the Democratic Rally of the Comoros (15 percent); and former president Azali Assoumani of the Convention for the Renewal of the Comoros (15 percent). The runoff election is scheduled for April 10; results will be reported in a future issue.
Presidential elections were scheduled for March 20, following an October 2015 referendum to extend presidential term and age limits in the constitution. Results will be reported in a future issue.
The presidential runoff scheduled to take place in December 2015 was postponed after violent protests escalated in response to the announcement of the first-round results.
Elections for the 290-seat Islamic Consultative Assembly were held on February 26. Iran does not have official political parties, but observers reported that “reformists” and “moderates” supportive of President Hassan Rouhani did better than expected. There were 68 seats that remained undecided and that will be determined by a second round of elections in April. Results will be reported in a future issue.
In February 25 elections for the 63-seat House of Representatives, the opposition Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) won 50.1 percent and 33 seats, narrowly defeating the People’s National Party of outgoing prime minister Portia Simpson-Miller, which received 49.7 percent and 30 seats. The JLP’s Andrew Holness became prime minister.
In the February 1 first-round presidential election, none of the candidates succeeded in securing an absolute majority, setting up a runoff scheduled for March 20. Incumbent Mahamadou Issoufou of the Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS) won 49 percent, while jailed opposition leader and former prime minister Hama Amadou of the Nigerien Democratic Movement for an African Federation (Moden/FA) finished second with 18 percent. Seini Oumarou of former president Mamadou Tandja’s National Movement for a Developed Society (MNSD) received 11 percent; Mahamane Ousmane of the Nigerien Movement for Democratic Renewal (MNRD) won 6 percent; and other candidates split the remaining votes. In concurrent parliamentary elections for the 171-seat National Assembly, the PNDS won 75 seats; Moden/FA, 25; MNSD, 20; the newly formed Patriotic Movement for the Republic, 12; and the alliance of the MNRD and Nigerien Social Democratic Party (PSDN), 6; the remaining seats went to members of smaller parties. Results of the presidential runoff will be reported in a future issue.
In March 4 elections for the 49-seat Legislative Assembly, the ruling Human Rights Protection Party of Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi—who has been in power for nearly two decades—won a [End Page 178] landslide victory of 44 seats. The opposition Tautua Samoa Party received only 2 seats, and independent candidates received 3 seats.
In the December 16 presidential runoff, incumbent James Michel of the People’s Party received 50.2 percent of the vote, narrowly defeating Wavel Ramkalawan of the Seychelles National Party. In the first round on December 3, Michel won 48 percent and Ramakalawan won 34 percent.
In March 5 elections for the 150-seat National Council, Prime Minister Robert Fico’s Direction–Social Democracy party came in first with 28 percent and 49 seats. The Freedom and Solidarity party finished second with 12 percent and 21 seats; the Ordinary People party won 11 percent and 19 seats; and the Slovak National Party won 9 percent and 15 seats. The far-right People’s Party–Our Slovakia received a surprising 8 percent and 14 seats; Sme Rodina and Most–Híd (Bridge) each won 7 percent and 11 seats; and Network, 6 percent and 10 seats.
In the January 16 presidential election, Tsai Ing-Wen of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won 56 percent of the vote, becoming Taiwan’s first woman president. Eric Chu of the ruling Nationalist Party, or Kuomintang (KMT), won 31 percent, and James Soong of the People First Party (PFP) won 13 percent. In concurrent parliamentary elections for the 113-seat Legislative Yuan, the DPP won 68 seats; the KMT, 35 seats; the newly formed New Power Party, 5 seats; and the PFP, 3 seats; the remaining two seats went to a member of a smaller party and to an independent candidate, respectively.
In the February 18 presidential election, incumbent president Yoweri Museveni of the National Resistance Movement (NRM), who has been in power for thirty years, won 61 percent. His main challenger, opposition leader Kizza Besigye of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), won 35 percent. Besigye, who was arrested numerous times in the lead-up to the election and after, rejected the vote and called for an independent audit of the results. International observers expressed concerns about delays in the delivery of voting materials, blockages of social-media sites, and reports of vote-buying. EU observers claimed state actors created an atmosphere of intimidation and alleged that the electoral commission lacked “independence and transparency.”
Following the decision to dissolve the country’s 52-seat Parliament after several politicans were convicted of bribery, snap elections were held on January 22. The Party of Our Land, the Union of Moderate Parties, and the Land and Justice Party each won 6 seats, while the National United Party won 4 seats. Twelve other parties and independents split the remaining 30 seats. Charlot Salwai was elected prime minister. [End Page 179]
UPCOMING ELECTIONS (April 2016–March 2017)
Afghanistan: legislative, 15 October 2016
Belarus: parliamentary, by September 2016
Bulgaria: presidential, by December 2016
Cape Verde: presidential, by August 2016
Chad: presidential, 10 April 2016; legislative, 3 April 2016
Côte d’Ivoire: parliamentary, by December 2016
Democratic Republic of Congo: presidential/legislative, 27 November 2016
Djibouti: presidential, by April 2016
Dominican Republic: presidential/legislative, 15 May 2016
Equatorial Guinea: presidential, by November 2016
Gabon: presidential/parliamentary, by December 2016
The Gambia: presidential, by December 2016
Georgia: parliamentary, by December 2016
Ghana: presidential/parliamentary, by November 2016
Guyana: presidential, by December 2016; parliamentary, by November 2016
Lithuania: parliamentary, 9 October 2016
Macedonia: parliamentary, 5 June 2016
Mongolia: parliamentary, by June 2016
Montenegro: parliamentary, by October 2016
Morocco: parliamentary, 7 October 2016
Nicaragua: presidential/legislative, 6 November 2016
Palau: presidential/legislative, by November 2016
Peru: presidential/legislative, 10 April 2016
The Philippines: presidential/legislative, 9 May 2016
Romania: parliamentary, by December 2016
Russia: parliamentary, 18 September 2016
São Tomé and Príncipe: presidential, by July 2016
Serbia: parliamentary, 24 April 2016
Seychelles: legislative, by October 2016
South Korea: parliamentary, 13 April 2016
Sudan: legislative, by December 2016
Thailand: parliamentary, by August 2016
Turkmenistan: presidential, by February 2017
Zambia: presidential/legislative, 8 September 2016
Election Watch provides reports of recently decided and upcoming elections in developing nations and the postcommunist world. Some of the data for Election Watch come from 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, visit www.ifes.org. [End Page 180]