Election Watch

Issue Date Spring 1990
Volume 1
Issue 2
Page Numbers 124-27
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ELECTION RESULTS (December 1989-March 1990)

Brazil: Right-of-center candidate Fernando Collor de Mello of the National Reconstruction Party defeated socialist Luis Inácio da Silva of the Brazilian Workers’ Party in a December 17 run-off election for president. Collor, who becomes the first Brazilian president in 29 years to be elected by direct ballot, received 53 percent of the more than 66 million valid votes cast. Collor and da Silva were the leading vote-getters in a field of more than 20 candidates in the first-round presidential election held November 15.

Chile: After 16 years of military rule under General Augusto Pinochet, Chileans went to the polls on December 14 and elected as president Christian Democrat Patricio Aylwin, the candidate of the united opposition, with 55.2 percent of the vote. He was followed by Hermin Büchi, former Pinochet finance minister and candidate of the rightist coalition, with 29.4 percent, and by populist Francisco Emizuriz, with 15.4 percent. In legislative races, the opposition coalition won 72 of the 120 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 22 of the 38 contested Senate seats (9 of the 47 seats in the Senate were not contested and are reserved for Pinochet appointees).

Colombia: Elections for Colombia’s bicameral Congress were held on March 25. Results will be reported in our next issue.

Costa Rica: In elections held February 4, Rafael Angel Calderrn was elected president and his Social Christian Union Party (PUSC) won a majority in the unicameral Legislative Assembly. Calderón received 51.3 percent of the vote, defeating National Liberation Party (PLN) candidate [End Page 124] Carlos Manuel Castillo, who won 47.3 percent of the vote. The PUSC gained a 29 to 25 seat legislative majority, as the PLN lost control of the Assembly for the first time since 1953.

German Democratic Republic: East Germans went to the polls on March 18 in what were widely expected to be the first and last free elections in a separate East Germany. Results will be reported in our next issue.

Grenada: The National Democratic Congress (NDC) of Nicholas Braithwaite won 7 of the 15 seats in the House of Representatives in parliamentary elections held March 13. Braithwaite became prime minister when 1 of the 4 newly elected representatives of the Grenada United Labor Party defected to the NDC. The National Party and the New National Party each won 2 seats. The elections were called after the death of Prime Minister Herbert Blaize in December 1989.

Hungary: In the first free elections in Hungary since 1945, voters went to the polls on March 25 to select a new Parliament. Results of the election will be reported in our next issue.

Nicaragua: Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, the leader of Nicaragua’s 14 party National Opposition Union (UNO), was elected president in national elections held February 25, defeating President Daniel Ortega Saavedra of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) by a margin of 55.2 percent to 40.8 percent, and bringing an end to ten years of Sandinista rule. UNO also won 54.8 percent of the vote for the National Assembly, giving it 52 seats in the 91-seat unicameral legislature. The FSLN won 38 seats in the Assembly with 40.7 percent of the vote. The voting was largely free of incident according to the hundreds of international observers present to monitor the elections.

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics: From January to March, most of the constituent republics of the Soviet Union held elections for their Supreme Soviets (i.e., republic parliaments).

In the first multiparty elections to be held in the Soviet Union since 1918, the Lithuanian democratic movement Sajudis, which advocates independence for the Baltic republic, won 90 of the 118 contests that were decided in balloting on February 25 and in March 4 run-offs for Lithuania‘s 141-seat Supreme Soviet. Final results for Lithuania and results of March 18 elections in Latvia and Estonia will be reported in our next issue.

The elections for Supreme Soviets held January-March in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kirgizia differed little from previous elections in the Central Asian republics; they were marked by the suppression of dissent, high voter turnouts, and overwhelming [End Page 125] Communist victories. Results of Kazakhstan‘s March 25 elections will be included in our next issue.

The Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic, the Ukraine, and Byelorussia held elections for their Supreme Soviets on March 4. In all three republics, the composition of the new Supreme Soviets will be determined only after March 18 run-offs, results from which will be reported in our next issue. Preliminary results suggest that in the Russian republic, the “informal” (i.e., unregistered and officially unallowed) Democratic Russia movement will be well represented in the new Supreme Soviet. Similar gains are expected for the Ukrainian opposition movement Rukh, but “informals” are expected to fare less well in Byelorussia, where the Communist Party has maintained tighter control. In elections held February 25 in Moldavia, the Moldavian Popular Front also gained significant representation.

Elections in the Transcaucasian republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia have been postponed because of the state of emergency in effect there. Georgia has provisionally scheduled elections for its Supreme Soviet for June 17.

Taiwan: On December 2, Taiwan held its first elections in which opposition parties were officially allowed to compete. For a full report, see Election Watch in our Winter 1990 issue and “Taiwan in Transition” in this issue of the Journal of Democracy.

Zimbabwe: In parliamentary elections held March 27 and 28, the Zimbabwe Unity Movement (ZUM) challenged President Robert Mugabe’s oft-stated intention to establish one-party rule in Zimbabwe. Prior to the election, ZUM faced formidable obstacles, ranging from a ban on its rallies to the detention without trial of many of its members. Results from the election will be reported in our next issue.

UPCOMING ELECTIONS (April 1990-March 1991)

Algeria: local and regional, 12 June 1990

Brazil: legislative, 15 November 1990

Bulgaria: parliamentary, May 1990 (no date set)

Burma/Myanmar: legislative, 27 May 1990 [End Page 126]

Colombia: presidential, 27 May 1990

Czechoslovakia: parliamentary, 8 June 1990

Dominica: parliamentary, July 1990 (no date set)

Dominican Republic: legislative/presidential, 16 May 1990

Ecuador: legislative, 3 June 1990

E1 Salvador: legislative, 17 March 1991

Guatemala: legislative/presidential, 4 November 1990

Guyana: legislative/presidential, before March 1991 (no date set)

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

Peru: legislative/presidential, 8 April 1990

Romania: parliamentary, 20 May 1990

São Tomé & Príncipe: legislative/presidential, September 1990 (no date set)

Yugoslavia: Slovenia, legislative, 8 April 1990; Croatia, legislative, 22 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 127]