Election Watch

Issue Date Winter 1990
Volume 1
Issue 1
Page Numbers 118-121
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ELECTION RESULTS (September 1989-December 1989)

Belize: George Price became prime minister as his People’s United Party (PUP) won 15 of 28 parliamentary seats on September 4. The United Democratic Party (UDP) of incumbent prime minister Manuel Esquivel won the remaining 13 seats. Esquivel and the UDP had ousted Price and the PUP in 1984. The elections were free of incident.

Botswana: In elections held on October 7, Quett K.J. Masire was reelected president, and his Bostwana Democratic Party (BDP) won 31 of 34 parliamentary seats with 65 percent of the vote. The Botswana National Front (BNF) received 20 percent of the vote, and various smaller parties divided the remainder. Although there were isolated complaints, the elections were widely considered fair.

Brazil: On November 15, in the first direct presidential ballot in 29 years, right-of-center candidate Fernando Collor de Mello, the governor of the northeast state of Alagoas, won 28.5 percent of the vote-significantly more than any of the 21 other candidates but not the majority needed to avoid a run-off. Socialist Luis Inicio da Silva of the Brazilian Workers’ Party won 16.1 percent of the vote and the right to challenge Collor in the December 17 run-off. Results from the run-off will be included in the next issue of the Journal of Democracy.

Chile: On December 14 Chile held its first elections since General Augusto Pinochet came to power in a military coup in 1973. The major contenders for the presidency were: Christian Democrat Patricio Aylwin, the candidate of the united opposition; former Pinochet finance minister Hernán Büchi, the candidate of the rightist coalition; and maverick [End Page 118] entrepreneur Francisco Javier Errázuriz, an independent candidate with populist backing. Results will be reported in our next issue.

Honduras: Rafael Leonardo Callejas, the candidate of the opposition Nationalist Party, was elected president, defeating Carlos Flores of the ruling Liberal Party in balloting on November 26. The National Party won 50 percent of the vote and a majority in the 134-member unicameral National Assembly. International observers commended the election for its probity.

Hungary: In a referendum held on November 26, slightly over 50 percent of the voters agreed that presidential elections for the newly proclaimed republic should be held after the parliamentary elections scheduled for March 1990. Had the question been defeated, a direct popular vote for president would have been held on 7 January 1990. The vote was seen as a victory for opposition groups, who feared that an early presidential election would give an unfair advantage to the ruling Hungarian Socialist (formerly Communist) Party.

India: Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi resigned his post after his ruling Congress (I) Party retained only 192 seats in the 544-seat Parliament in the general election held November 22 and 24. The National Front, led by V.P. Singh, won 141 seats and joined with the communist parties (51 seats) and the conservative Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) (86 seats) to form a coalition government. Mr. Singh was chosen India’s new prime minister, thus interrupting Congress Party rule for only the second time since independence in 1947. The election was marred by violence in some areas, and there were widespread allegations of fraud.

Jordan: In the first elections to be held in this kingdom for 22 years, Jordanians voted on November 8 for members of the House of Representatives. Six hundred fifty candidates competed for 80 seats. Of the winning candidates, 39 are considered government loyalists; 20 are members of the Muslim Brotherhood; 11 are Islamic independents; and 10 are leftists. Although the House of Representatives has limited authority, its role is expected to expand in keeping with King Hussein’s promises to expand political freedoms.

Namibia: The nationalist South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) won the majority of seats in U.N.-supervised balloting held November 6-11 for the constituent assembly which will write a constitution for independent Namibia. SWAPO won 41 seats in the 78-seat assembly, well short of the two-thirds majority necessary for approval of the new constitution. The Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA), a multiracial coalition that has led the transitional government in [End Page 119] Namibia, won 21 seats. The remaining seats were divided among several smaller parties. The U.N. certified the election as “free and fair,” and both SWAPO and DTA expressed satisfaction with the process.

South Africa: In national elections held September 6, Frederik W. de Klerk was elected president, and his National Party, though losing 30 seats, retained a solid majority with 93 of 166 seats in the all-white House of Assembly. The Conservative Party, which opposes any slackening of apartheid, went from 22 to 39 seats, and the new Democratic Party, which campaigned for an end to apartheid, went from 20 to 33 seats. The elections were marked by protests by black South Africans against their disenfranchisement, and several people were killed or wounded in violent clashes on election night.

Taiwan: On December 2 Taiwan held its first elections in which opposition parties were officially allowed to compete. The ruling Kuomintang (KMT) faced the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and independent candidates in elections for county magistrates, mayors, provincial assemblies, and the legislative Yuan. Of the 101 open seats in the legislative Yuan-which is composed of 760 members, the vast majority of whom nominally represent districts on the mainland-the KMT won 72 seats, the DPP 21, and independents 8. The DPP also won 6 of 21 city and county magistrate elections.

Uruguay: Senator Luis Alberto Lacalle of the opposition National (or Blanco) Party was elected president on November 26. The Blancos won 39.4 percent of the vote, the Colorados 30.5 percent, the Broad Front (a coalition of leftist parties) 21.1 percent, and New Space 9.0 percent. Lacalle received 22.9 percent of the vote, winning the presidency as the top vote-getter within the party receiving the most votes. Seats in the Congress are divided proportionally, so no party emerged with a majority. The November elections were the first completely free elections in Uruguay since 1971.

UPCOMING ELECTIONS (January 1990-December 1990)

Burma: legislative, 27 April 1990

Colombia: legislative, 25 March 1990; presidential, 27 May 1990

Costa Rica: legislative/presidential, 4 February 1990 [End Page 120]

Dominica: parliamentary, July 1990 (no date set)

Dominican Republic: legislative/presidential, 16 May 1990

East Germany: parliamentary, 6 May 1990

Ecuador: legislative, April 1990 (no date set)

Guatemala: legislative/presidential, 4 November 1990

Guyana: legislative/presidential, 1990 (no date set)

Haiti: presidential, 17 October 1990

Hungary: parliamentary, March 1990 (no date set)

Morocco: legislative, September 1990 (no date set)

Nicaragua: legislative/presidential, 25 February 1990

Peru: legislative/presidential, 8 April 1990

Election Watch provides reports of recently decided and upcoming elections in developing nations and the communist 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. The data in Election Watch are provided by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), 1620 I Street, NW, Suite 61 I, Washington, D.C. 20006[End Page 121]