Election Watch

Issue Date October 1997
Volume 8
Issue 4
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ELECTION RESULTS (June-September 1997)

Albania: Barely a year after the landslide victory of President Sali Berisha’s Democratic Party (PDS) in parliamentary elections widely criticized as unfair, new elections were called when public anger over the collapse of pyramid investment schemes led to widespread disorder. In June 29 and July 6 voting for the unicameral People’s Assembly, the Socialist Party (PSS) of Prime Minister Fatos Nano garnered 101 of the 155 seats, while the PDS plunged from 122 to 27 seats. The Social Democratic Party came in third with 8 seats. Soon after the elections, President Berisha resigned and Rexhep Mejdani, the former secretary general of the PSS, succeeded him. The PSS and its allies currently hold the two-thirds parliamentary majority necessary to implement constitutional changes. International observers called the elections “acceptable given the prevailing circumstances.”

Bolivia: In popular elections for the presidency held on June 1, former president Hugo Bánzer of the Nationalist Democratic Action Party led a multicandidate field with 22 percent of the vote, followed by Juan Carlos Durán of the Nationalist Revolutionary Movement with 18 percent. In accordance with Bolivia’s Constitution, with no candidate receiving an absolute majority of popular votes, the newly elected 157-member National Congress decided between the two front-runners on August 5. Bánzer, who had succeeded in forging a broad coalition with rival parties, was elected president with 115 votes.

Congo-Brazzaville: Presidential elections scheduled for July 27 were canceled by the Constitutional Council after factional strife in Brazzaville spiraled toward civil war in early June. See pp. 186-87 below for an update.

Croatia: In June 15 presidential elections, ailing President Franjo Tudjman of the Croatian Democratic Union was reelected to a second five-year term with 61.4 percent of the vote. Social Democrat Zdravko Toma_ came in second with 21 percent, while Vlado Gotova of the Social Liberal Party received 17.6 percent. International monitors were critical of the elections, calling them “free but not fair.” The state-run media heavily favored President Tudjman, and the election was marred by irregularities. Many ethnic-Serb citizens of Croatia were dropped from voter rolls, while ethnic Croats from Bosnia were permitted to vote.

Liberia: In a move toward stabilizing the country after a bloody seven-year civil war, oft-postponed elections were finally held on July 19. In the presidential balloting, former warlord Charles Taylor won a landslide victory with 75.3 percent of the vote. His nearest competitor, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, won 9.6 percent. Taylor’s National Patriotic Party also garnered 49 seats in the 64-seat House of Representatives and 21 seats in the 26-seat Senate, which gives the party a legislative majority large enough to change the Constitution. Johnson-Sirleaf’s Unity Party trailed with 7 seats in the House of Representatives and 3 in the Senate. None of the other contesting parties won more than 5 percent of the ballots cast.

Mali: After first-round parliamentary elections on April 13 were invalidated by the Constitutional Court due to irregularities and poor organization, rescheduled elections were held on July 20, with a runoff on August 3. Eighteen opposition parties boycotted the elections, which were marred by outbreaks of violence and a record-low voter turnout. President Alpha Oumar Konaré’s Alliance for Democracy won 130 of the 147 seats in the unicameral National Assembly. Among the opposition parties that did participate, the National Renaissance Party came in second with 8 seats, while no other party won more than 4 seats. Election-related disturbances continued after the final round of voting.

Mexico: In historic legislative elections on July 6, the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) lost its majority in the Chamber of Deputies for the first time ever. See the table on p. 14 above for complete results.

Poland: Parliamentary elections were scheduled for September 21. Results will be reported in a future issue.

Yugoslavia (Serbia): Joint parliamentary and presidential elections were scheduled for September 21. Results will be reported in a future issue.

Upcoming Elections (October 1997-September 1998)

Argentina: legislative, 26 October 1997

Belize: parliamentary, June 1998

Brazil: presidential, October 1998

Cambodia: parliamentary, 23 May 1998

Cameroon: presidential, October 1997

Chile: legislative, 11 November 1997

Colombia: presidential/legislative, 31 May 1998

Costa Rica: presidential/legislative, February 1998

Djibouti: parliamentary, December 1997

Dominican Republic: legislative, 16 May 1998

Equatorial Guinea: parliamentary, July 1998

Guyana: presidential/parliamentary, October 1997

Honduras: presidential/legislative, 30 November 1997

Hong Kong: legislative, April or July 1998

Hungary: parliamentary, May 1998

Jamaica: parliamentary, March 1998 (latest)

Jordan: parliamentary, 4 November 1997

Lesotho: parliamentary, January 1998

Lithuania: presidential, 21 December 1997

Mauritania: presidential, 12 December 1997

Morocco: parliamentary, September/October 1997

Nigeria: presidential, 1 August 1998

Paraguay: presidential/legislative, May 1998

Philippines: presidential/legislative, 11 May 1998

Senegal: parliamentary, spring 1998

Seychelles: presidential/parliamentary, July 1998 (latest)

Slovenia: presidential, December 1997

South Korea: presidential, 18 December 1997

Yugoslavia (Montenegro): presidential, 5 October 1997

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.