Election Watch

Issue Date January 2001
Volume 12
Issue 1
Page Numbers 180-84
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(September-December 2000)

Azerbaijan: Parliamentary elections were held on November 5 to fill the 125 seats in the National Assembly. According to official results, the ruling New Azerbaijan Party, led by Ilham Aliev, son of President Heydar Aliev, won 62.5 percent of the popular vote. The Azerbaijan Popular Front got 10.8 percent, and the New Muslim Democratic Party (YMP) won only 4.9 percent, falling below the threshold needed to win any seats allocated by proportional representation. Opposition parties claimed that the voting was rigged. The YMP said that it had won the most votes and refused to recognize the results. International observers reported that the elections were seriously flawed and did not meet minimum standards for free and fair elections.

Belarus: In October 15 parliamentary elections boycotted by the opposition, the ruling Belarusan Patriotic Movement of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka won an overwhelming majority. The international community refused to recognize the legitimacy of the elections.

Bosnia-Herzegovina: Elections were held on November 11 for the House of Representatives, which consists of 42 seats, 28 allocated to the Muslim-Croat Federation and 14 to the Serb Republic. The multiethnic Social Democratic Party won 9 seats; the Party for Democratic Action (the main Muslim party) won 8 seats; the Serbian Democratic Party, founded by Bosnian Serb wartime leader and indicted war criminal Radovan Karadžić, won 6 seats; the nationalist Croatian Democratic Union won 5 seats; and the Party for Bosnia and Herzegovina, a mainly Muslim party headed by former Prime Minister Haris Silajdžić, won 4 seats. A candidate from Silajdžić’s party was elected president of the Serb Republic.

Côte d’Ivoire: Two days after the October 22 presidential election, [End Page 180] incumbent Robert Guéi, who had come to power in a 1999 military coup, declared himself the victor and dismissed the electoral commission. Supporters of Laurent Gbagbo of the Ivorian Popular Front, who appeared to be leading in the returns, took to the streets in a popular uprising that turned violent, resulting in an estimated 200 deaths. Guéi fled into hiding on October 25, and Gbagbo was inaugurated as president the following day. On November 13, Guéi finally acknowledged Gbagbo as the winner. The final numbers put Gbagbo at 59.4 percent and Guéi at 32.7 percent. Three other candidates split the remainder of the vote. Gbagbo was the only serious contender after several opposition candidates, including former prime minister Alassane Ouattara, were disqualified by the Supreme Court. Parliamentary elections were held on December 10, and results will be reported in a future issue.

Egypt: In three rounds of legislative elections, held on October 18, October 29, and November 8, the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) of President Hosni Mubarak won 353 of the 444 seats contested in the 454-member People’s Assembly. (The remaining ten members are appointed by the president.) Thirty-five independent candidates joined the NDP after the elections, raising the party’s official total to 388 seats. Of the remaining seats, 37 went to independent candidates (of whom 17 were backed by the banned Muslim Brotherhood) and 17 went to opposition parties. Though marred by outbreaks of violence resulting in the deaths of 10 people and charges of government interference, the elections were praised as being fairer than others Egypt has held in recent years.

Ghana: Presidential and legislative elections took place on December 7. In the presidential contest to succeed Jerry Rawlings of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Kuffour of the opposition New Patriotic Party led with 48 percent of the vote to 45 percent for Vice President John Atta Mills of the NDC, triggering a runoff. More complete results will be reported in a future issue.

Haiti: Former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide of the Lavalas Family party won the November 26 presidential election with 91.6 percent of the vote. (Incumbent René Préval, also of the Lavalas Family party, who succeeded Aristide in 1996, was barred from running by a law banning a second consecutive term.) All major opposition parties boycotted the elections, leaving Aristide to run against six unknown candidates, none of whom garnered more than 2 percent of the vote. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan called for an end to the UN mission to Haiti, citing undemocratic elections as a factor.

Kyrgyzstan: On October 29, incumbent president Askar Akaev won a third term with 74.5 percent of the vote. (Even though the constitution [End Page 181] limits the president to two terms, the Constitutional Court had ruled that he would be eligible for another since he had run unopposed in 1991 following Kyrgyzstan’s independence from the Soviet Union.) Five other candidates contested the election, including Omurbek Tekebaev of the Fatherland Party, who came in a distant second with 13.9 percent of the vote. Opposition candidates charged fraud, and observers from abroad agreed that the vote failed to meet international standards.

Lithuania: In October 8 elections to the 141-seat Seimas, the Social Democratic Coalition, led by former president and ex-communist leader Algirdas Brazauskas, captured 49 seats; the center-right Lithuanian Liberal Union (LLS), which held only one seat in the previous parliament, won 34; the center-left New Union party gained 29 seats; and the ruling Homeland Union, led by Vytautas Landsbergis, fell from 70 to 9 seats. The LLS and New Union later joined together with two smaller parties to form a ruling majority called the New Politics Coalition.

Mauritius: The ruling Mauritius Labor Party suffered a decisive defeat in September 11 elections, holding on to a mere 6 of the 36 seats it had occupied in the previous parliament. An alliance of the Mauritian Militant Movement (MMM) and the Mauritian Socialist Movement (MSM) won an overwhelming 54 of the 62 contested seats in the 70-member parliament. Under an agreement made prior to the election, MSM leader Sir Anerood Jugnauth will hold the position of prime minister for the first three years and MMM leader Paul Bérenger will take over for the remaining three. A Franco-Mauritian, Bérenger will be the country’s first non-Hindu premier since the country’s independence in 1968.

Poland: On October 8, President Aleksander KwaÊniewski of the ex-communist Democratic Left Alliance won a second five-year term with 53.9 percent of the vote. Former foreign minister Andrzej Olechowski, an independent candidate, came in second with 17.3 percent, while Marian Krzaklewski of the Social Movement-Solidarity Electoral Action (the party of Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek) earned 15.6 percent.

Romania: Elections were held on November 26 for both the presidency and the parliament. In presidential voting, former president and Communist party official Ion Iliescu, representing an alliance of the Social Democracy Party of Romania and the Romanian Social Democratic Party (PDSR-PSDR), won 36.4 percent; extreme nationalist Corneliu Vadim Tudor of the Greater Romania Party (PRM), 28.4 percent; and Theodor Stolojan of the center-right National Liberal Party (PNL), 11.8 percent. In the runoff on December 10, preliminary results indicated that Iliescu easily defeated Vadim Tudor, winning over 66 percent of the vote. In the elections to the 341-seat Chamber of Deputies, the PDSR-PSDR won [End Page 182] 155 seats; the PRM, 84; the Democratic Party (PD, led by Petre Roman) and the PNL won 30 seats each; and the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR), 27. In Senate elections, the PDSR-PSDR won 65 seats; the PRM, 37; the PD and the PNL, 13 each; and UDMR, 12.

Slovenia: In October 15 elections for the 90-seat National Assembly, the center-left Liberal Democracy of Slovenia party won 34 seats; the Social Democratic Party won 14; the former-communist United List of Social Democrats won 11; the Slovenian People’s Party won 9; and the remaining 22 seats were divided among other parties.

Sri Lanka: In October 8 parliamentary elections, the ruling People’s Alliance, the party of President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, won 107 of the 225 seats, but failed to attain a majority. The opposition United National Party trailed with 89 seats. The People’s Liberation Front, a Sinhalese leftist party, came in a distant third with 10 seats. While violence and fraud on election day reportedly slowed down the tallying of ballots, European Union observers deemed the results acceptable.

Tanzania: Tanzania’s second multiparty general elections were held on October 29. In the presidential contest, incumbent President Benjamin Mkapa of the Revolutionary Party of Tanzania (CCM) was reelected with 71.7 percent of the vote; Ibrahim Lipumba of the Civic United Front (CUF) finished second with 16.3 percent. In the parliamentary elections, news reports indicated that the ruling CCM won 167 of the 181 seats in the National Assembly, while the remaining 14 seats were split among five opposition parties. For the most part, the elections met international standards. In the semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar, however, widespread and severe voting irregularities led to new elections on November 5 in 16 of the 50 constituencies. The opposition CUF, which had demanded a complete revote, called for a boycott of the new elections.

Trinidad & Tobago: Parliamentary elections were held on December 11. Results will be reported in a future issue.

Yugoslavia: In the September 24 presidential election, opposition candidate Vojislav Kostunica of the Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS)—a coalition of some 19 parties—won with 51.7 percent of the ballots. Incumbent Slobodan Milošević of the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) received 38.2 percent of the vote. Milošević initially claimed that Kostunica had failed to win a majority and called for a runoff. After a popular uprising and pressure from the international community, Milošević finally conceded to Kostunica, stepping down on October 6. [End Page 183] The DOS also led in elections to Yugoslavia’s bicameral Federal Assembly, winning 58 of the 138 seats in the lower house, while the SPS and its ally, the Yugoslav United Left, won 44 seats. Elections for the Serbian Parliament are scheduled for December 23, and results will be reported in a future issue.

(January-December 2001)

Albania: parliamentary, June 2001

Bangladesh: parliamentary, October 2001 (latest)

Belarus: presidential, summer 2001 (approximate)

Benin: presidential, March 2001

Bulgaria: presidential/parliamentary, June 2001 (approximate)

Cape Verde: parliamentary, 14 January 2001; presidential, 11 February 2001

Chile: legislative, December 2001

Eritrea: parliamentary, December 2001

Estonia: presidential, Fall 2001

Gabon: parliamentary, December 2001

The Gambia: presidential/legislative, November 2001

Guyana: parliamentary, March 2001

Honduras: presidential/legislative, November 2001

Iran: presidential, May 2001

Lesotho: parliamentary, March 2001

Nicaragua: presidential/legislative, November 2001

Peru: presidential/legislative, 8 April 2001

Philippines: legislative, 11 May 2001

Poland: parliamentary, September 2001 (latest)

Sierra Leone: presidential, February; parliamentary, June 2001 (latest)

Solomon Islands: parliamentary, September 2001

Thailand: parliamentary (lower house), 6 January 2001

Uganda: presidential/legislative, July 2001 (latest)

Yemen: parliamentary, April 2001

Zambia: presidential/legislative, October 2001

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. Much of the data for Election Watch is provided by the International Foundation for Election 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, 1101 15th Street, N.W., Suite 300, Washington, DC 20005; 202-828-8507; www.ifes.org.