ELECTION RESULTS (March-June 1996)
Albania: On May 26 and June 3, Albanians cast ballots in parliamentary elections that European and U.S. monitors characterized as neither free nor fair. Protesting massive fraud and intimidation, most opposition groups, including the Socialist Party, pulled out during the first round of voting, and refused to participate in the second. Results gave a preliminary majority to President Sali Berisha’s Democratic Party, which claimed 101 of the 140 seats in parliament. Four opposition parties that boycotted the elections–the Socialists, Social Democrats, Democratic Alliance, and the Democratic Party of the Right–presented their complaints to the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
Bangladesh: Following Prime Minister Khaleda Zia’s resignation and the dissolution of parliament on March 30, a neutral, caretaker government scheduled fresh elections for June 12. Results will be published in a future issue.
Benin: In a runoff on March 18, Benin elected former dictator Mathieu Kérékou as president, becoming the first African country to oust a democratically elected incumbent at the ballot box. Outgoing president Nicéphore D. Soglo garnered 47.5 percent of the vote, while Kérékou, whose candidacy was endorsed by the Coalition of Forces of Democratic Change, captured 52.5 percent. The election attracted over 75 percent of voters to the polls.
Chad: On June 2, after years of internal strife and war with neighboring Libya, Chadians voted peacefully in their country’s first multiparty presidential election. Fourteen candidates competed against incumbent President Idriss Deby of the Patriotic Salvation Front. Noting only minor irregularities, UN observers expressed satisfaction at the large turnout and impartial supervision of the vote. Final results were unavailable at the time of this writing and will be reported in a future issue.
Cyprus: Elections to the 56-member House of Representatives were held on May 26. The Democratic Rally-Liberal Party Coalition finished first with 20 seats, while the Progressive Party of the Working People came in a close second, with 19. The remaining seats were distributed among the Democratic Party (10 seats), the Socialist Party (5 seats), and the Movement of Free Democrats (2 seats).
Czech Republic: In elections on May 31-June 1 to the 200-member House of Deputies, Prime Minister Václav Klaus’s Civic Democratic Party (ODS) slipped from 85 to 68 seats. In a vote that drew 76 percent turnout, the ODS and its coalition partners–the Civic Democratic Alliance and the Christian Democratic Union-Czech People’s Party–won a combined total of 99 seats. Milos Zeman’s Czech Social Democratic Party took 61 seats, while the Communist Party received 22. The ODS-led coalition is expected to form a minority government.
Dominican Republic: Presidential balloting held on May 16 marked the first vote in 35 years in which President Joaquin Balaguer was not a candidate. The man he defeated in 1994, José Peña Gómez of the Dominican Revolutionary Party, captured 45.9 percent. With 50 percent needed for victory, Peña Gómez will face runner-up Leonel Fernández of the Dominican Liberation Party (38.9 percent) in a June 30 runoff. Jacinto Peynado of the Social Reformist Party finished third with 14.9 percent. Results of the June 30 runoff will appear in a future issue.
Ecuador: Low voter turnout and poor organization marked the first round of presidential elections on May 9. Front-runners Jaime Nebot of the Social Christian Party (27.4 percent) and Abdalá Bucaram of the Ecuadorian Roldosist Party (25.5 percent) will face each other in a runoff set for July 7. Results will be published in a future issue. In elections for the 80-member National Congress, held on the same day, the Social Christian Party retained its legislative plurality by capturing 28 seats. The Roldosist Party took 21 seats, followed by the Christian Democrats (10 seats), the New Country Movement (7 seats), and the Democratic Left (5 seats). Independent candidates and minor parties won the remaining 9 seats.
India: In an election process that began on April 21, extended through May 30, and was expected to draw the participation of over 60 percent of India’s 590 million eligible voters, the long-ruling Congress(I) Party lost its majority in the 545-member parliament, going from 274 to 140 seats. The largest single party emerging from the elections was the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which (together with its close allies) won 194 seats. The BJP’s leader, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, attempted to form a government but resigned in late May when it became clear that he could not survive a vote of no-confidence. He was replaced by H.D. Deve Gowda, chief minister of the southern state of Karnataka, who was tapped to head the United Front, a 192-seat bloc of left-wing, center-left, and regional parties that received the support of Congress(I), creating a 332-seat majority.
Mongolia: Parliamentary elections were set for June 30. Results will be published in a future issue.
Russia: A presidential election was scheduled for June 16. Results will be reported in a future issue.
São Tomé & Príncipe: Results of presidential elections, set for June 30, will be published in a future issue.
Sierra Leone: Civil war and authoritarian rule provided the unusual setting for the March 15 presidential runoff. Ahmed Tejan Kabbah of the Sierra Leone People’s Party captured 59.5 percent of the vote. John Karefa-Smart of the United National People’s Party won 40.5 percent. General Julius Bio’s peaceful transfer of power to Ahmad Kabba marked that rare occasion in African politics when a military ruler willingly relinquishes power during a war.
South Korea: In elections for South Korea’s 299-seat National Assembly on April 11, President Kim Young Sam’s New Korea Party scored a clear plurality with 139 seats, followed by the National Congress for New Politics (79), the United Liberal Democrats (50), and the Democratic Party (15). Independent candidates won the remaining 16 seats. Voter participation, at 63.9 percent, was reportedly the lowest ever in South Korea’s history.
Suriname: In May 23 elections for the 51-member National Assembly, the ruling New Front lost its majority, falling from 30 to 24 seats. The National Democratic Party came in second with 16 seats, while the remaining seats were split among minor factions. To elect a president, the New Front had to secure a minimum of 34 seats, a requirement it was expected to satisfy by inviting other parliamentarians to join in forming a coalition.
Taiwan: On March 23, amid growing tensions with mainland China, over 76 percent of Taiwan’s eligible voters cast ballots in the island’s first direct presidential election. Incumbent President Lee Teng-hui of the ruling Nationalist Party (KMT) won the election with 54 percent of the vote. Peng Min-min of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) secured 21.3 percent, while independent candidates Lin Yang-kang (endorsed by the New Party) and Chen Li-an obtained 14.9 percent and 9.9 percent, respectively. In elections to the 334-seat National Assembly, the KMT won 183 seats, followed by the DPP with 99, the New Party with 46, and independent candidates with 6 seats.
Uganda: On May 9, large numbers of Ugandans cast ballots in their country’s first presidential election in 16 years. In a controversial “nonparty” election President Yoweri Museveni won 74 percent of the vote and will retain office for another five years. Main opposition candidate Paul Ssemogerere won 24 percent, while political newcomer Mohamed Mayanja earned 2 percent. Parliamentary elections have been scheduled for June 27.
Western Samoa: In April 26 elections to the 49-member Legislative Assembly, Prime Minister Tofilau Eti Alesana’s Human Rights Protection Party won 24 seats, one short of a majority. The Samoan National Development Party, led by Tupua Tamasese Efi, won 11 seats, while the Samoa Liberal Party obtained 1. Of the 13 independent candidates who won the remaining seats, 10 voted in support of Tofilau Eti’s reelection as prime minister.
Zimbabwe: With over 90 percent of the March 15 presidential vote in his favor, President Robert Mugabe won another six-year term in office. The elections, which most opposition candidates boycotted, were marred by widespread allegations that the ruling party had resorted to intimidation as a means of guaranteeing its continued grip on power.
Upcoming Elections (July 1996-June 1997)
Armenia: presidential, September 1996
Bolivia: presidential/legislative, May 1997
Bosnia: presidential/legislative, September 1996
Bulgaria: presidential, November 1996
Cameroon: legislative, April 1997*
Chad: legislative, 24 November and 22 December 1996
Congo: presidential, 26 July and 11 August 1996
Czech Republic: parliamentary (Senate), November 1996
El Salvador: legislative, 16 March 1997
Estonia: presidential, October 1996
Gabon: legislative, August 1996*
Gambia: presidential, September 1996; legislative, December 1996
Ghana: presidential/legislative, November 1996
Kazakhstan: presidential, December 1996
Kuwait: parliamentary, October 1996
Lithuania: parliamentary, 20 October 1996
Mali: legislative, January/February 1997; presidential, April 1997
Malta: parliamentary, Spring 1997
Mauritania: parliamentary, October 1996
Moldova: presidential, 17 November 1996
Nicaragua: presidential/legislative, 20 October 1996
Niger: presidential, 7 July 1996
Romania: presidential/parliamentary, 3 November 1996
Slovenia: parliamentary, November/December 1996
Zambia: presidential/legislative, October 1996*
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.