Election Watch

Issue Date January 2006
Volume 17
Issue 1
Page Numbers 177-80
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(September–December 2005)

Afghanistan: More than 2,700 candidates contested the September 18 elections to the 249-seat Wolesi Jirga (House of the People)—the country’s first democratic legislative vote in more than three decades. Though most candidates ran as independents, a majority of those elected are supporters of proreform president Hamid Karzai. Sixty-eight of the new lawmakers are women. The results were repeatedly delayed by inquiries into charges of electoral fraud in various parts of the country.

Argentina: In October 23 legislative elections for 24 of the 72 upper-house seats and 127 of the 256 lower-house seats, President Nestor Kirchner’s Peronist Front for Victory (FV) claimed a resounding victory. In the Senate, the FV won 17 seats; the anti-Kirchner faction of the Peronist Justicialist Party (PJ), 4; and the Radical Civic Union (UCR), 3. In the Chamber of Deputies, the FV won 69 seats; the UCR, 19 seats; and the anti-Kirchner faction of the PJ, 11 seats. The remainder was split among smaller parties.

Azerbaijan: In November 6 parliamentary elections, the ruling New Azerbaijan Party (YAP) won 62 of the 125 seats in the National Assembly. The main opposition coalitions, Azadlig (Freedom) and Yeni Siyaset (New Politics), won 6 and 2 seats, respectively. Approximately 50 seats went to independent candidates, many of whom are aligned with the YAP. Fresh elections were to be held in 15 districts. OSCE observers criticized the elections, citing significant voting and counting irregularities as well as voter-intimidation tactics.

Bolivia: Presidential and legislative elections were scheduled for December 18; results will be reported in a future issue. [End Page 177]

Burkina Faso: On November 13, incumbent president Blaise Compaoré of the Congress for Democracy and Progress was reelected with 82 percent of the vote. Many of Compaoré’s 11 opponents claimed that his bid for a third term violated the two-term limit adopted in 2000. Though Compaoré had first come to power in a 1987 coup and later had been elected to two seven-year terms, the Constitutional Court ruled that the term limit did not apply retroactively.

Chile: Presidential and legislative elections were scheduled for December 11; results will be reported in a future issue.

Egypt: The country’s first-ever contested presidential election took place on September 7. According to official results, incumbent Mohamed Hosni Mubarak of the National Democratic Party—who has ruled Egypt since 1981—received 88.6 percent of the vote. Ayman Nour of the Al-Ghad (Tomorrow) party came in second with 7.3 percent. Following widespread reports of election-law violations, Nour demanded a rerun of the election, but the Presidential Election Commission rejected his request. Turnout was around 30 percent. Parliamentary elections were held over a four-week period beginning November 9; results will be reported in a future issue.

Gabon: On November 27, incumbent president Omar Bongo of the Gabonese Democratic Party was reelected with 79.2 percent of the vote. Pierre Mamboundou, leader of the Union of the Gabonese People was a distant second with 13.6 percent. Bongo, Africa’s longest-tenured head of state, has been in power since 1967. Opposition candidates charged that the polling was riddled with irregularities.

Haiti: Presidential and parliamentary elections were scheduled for December 27; results will be reported in a future issue.

Honduras: On November 27, Liberal Party candidate Manuel Zelaya was apparently elected president with almost 50 percent of the vote, followed by Porfirio Lobo of the ruling National Party with more than 46 percent. Lobo conceded defeat on December 7 although results were not yet finalized. Legislative elections were also held on November 27; results will be reported in a future issue.

Kazakhstan: President Nursultan Nazarbayev of the Fatherland party, who has been in power since 1989, was reelected on December 4 with 91 percent of the vote. His main challenger, Zharmakhan Tuyakbai of the Coalition for a Just Kazakhstan, won only 6.6 percent. The OSCE reported that the election failed to meet international democratic standards.

Liberia: In a November 8 presidential runoff, former finance minister Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of the Unity Party (UP) defeated former soccer star George Weah of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) 59 to 41 percent, thereby becoming Africa’s first democratically elected female [End Page 178] head of state. In the October 11 first round, Johnson-Sirleaf and Weah had garnered 20 and 28 percent of the vote, respectively. In concurrent legislative elections, the CDC won 15 of the 64 lower-house seats; the Liberty Party (LP) won 9; the UP, 8; the Coalition for the Transformation of Liberia (COTOL), 8; and the Alliance for Peace and Democracy (APD), 5. Remaining seats were split among smaller parties and independents. In the 30-seat Senate, COTOL won 7 seats; the UP won 4; and the CDC, the APD, the LP, and the National Patriotic Party won 3 seats each. International observers declared the election free and fair.

Poland: In parliamentary elections held on September 25, the two center-right parties Law & Justice (PiS) and the Civic Platform (PO) secured 155 and 133 seats, respectively, in the 460-seat Sejm. The populist Self-Defense party won 56 seats; the ruling postcommunist Democratic Left Alliance, 55; the League of Polish Families, 34; and the Polish Peasant Party, 25. Unable to form a coalition government with the PO, the PiS installed a minority government headed by Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz. In the 100-seat Senate, the PiS and PO won 49 and 34 seats, respectively. Elections were also held for the presidency: In the October 23 runoff, Lech Kaczyński of the PiS won 54 percent of the vote, beating PO candidate Donald Tusk. In the October 9 first round, Tusk and Kaczyński had received 36 and 33 percent, respectively. In all three elections, voter turnout was at an all-time low of approximately 40 percent.

Sri Lanka: Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse of the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance was elected president on November 17 with 50.3 percent of the vote, narrowly defeating Ranil Wickremesinghe of the United National Party, who won 48.4 percent. The Tamil Tiger rebels boycotted the election and significantly hindered voting in some areas. Nonetheless, turnout was around 75 percent.

Tanzania: Presidential and parliamentary elections were scheduled for December 18; results will be reported in a future issue.

Venezuela: Legislative elections were held on December 4; results will be reported in a future issue.

Upcoming Elections (January–December 2006)

Belarus: presidential, September 2006

Benin: presidential, March 2006

Brazil: presidential and legislative, November 2006. [End Page 179]

Bulgaria: presidential, Fall 2006

Cape Verde: presidential, February 2006

Chad: parliamentary, April 2006; presidential, May or June 2006

Colombia: presidential and legislative, April 2006

Costa Rica: presidential and legislative, 6 February 2006

Democratic Republic of Congo: presidential, 20 March 2006; legislative, 20 April 2006

East Timor: parliamentary, August 2006

El Salvador: legislative, 12 March 2006

Estonia: parliamentary, September 2006

Fiji: parliamentary, September 2006

Gabon: parliamentary, December 2006

Gambia: presidential, October 2006

Guyana: presidential and parliamentary, March 2006

Hungary: parliamentary, April 2006

Madagascar: presidential, October 2006

Mexico: presidential and legislative, 2 July 2006

Nicaragua: presidential and legislative, October 2006

Palestinian Territories: presidential, 25 January 2006

Peru: presidential and parliamentary, 9 April 2006

São Tomé and Príncipe: parliamentary, March 2006; presidential, July 2006

Senegal: parliamentary, May 2006

Tajikistan: presidential, November 2006

Uganda: presidential and parliamentary, 12 March 2006

Ukraine: parliamentary, 26 March 2006

Zimbabwe: presidential, March 2006

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. Some of the data for Election Watch come from 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, visit www.ifes.org.