Election Watch

Issue Date July 2006
Volume 17
Issue 3
Page Numbers 175-79
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(March–June 2006)

Belarus: In March 19 voting, Alyaksandr Lukashenka was reelected as president. According to official results, Lukashenka, who has ruled since 1994, won 83 percent of the vote, while opposition candidates Alyaksandr Milinkevich of the United Democratic Opposition, Sergei Gaidukevich of the Liberal Democratic Party, and Alyaksandr Kozulin of the Social Democratic Party earned 6.1 percent, 3.5 percent, and 2.2 percent respectively. International observers declared the elections neither free nor fair, pointing to harassment of the opposition and of independent observers, as well as vote-rigging and other irregularities. Demonstrations were held in Minsk in response to the flawed election, leading to the arrest of thousands of protestors, including Kozulin.

Benin: On March 5, the fourth presidential elections were held since Benin’s 1991 democratic transition. Independent candidate Yayi Boni, former chief of the West African Development Bank, won 35.8 percent; Adrien Houngbedi, a former speaker of the National Assembly and leader of the Party of Democratic Renewal, earned 24.2 percent; Bruno Amoussou of the Social Democratic Party, 16.3 percent; and Lehadi Soglo, 8.4 percent. In the March 19 runoff, Boni defeated Houngbedji, winning 74.6 percent of the vote.

Chad: Despite violence and instability following a failed coup attempt in March, presidential elections were held on May 3. President Idriss Déby of the Patriotic Salvation Movement was reelected with 77 percent of the vote. Opposition parties boycotted the election, alleging vote-rigging. The Independent Electoral Commission reported that voter turnout was around 60 percent, but independent observers reported scarce participation. [End Page 175]

Colombia: In the March 12 congressional elections, a seven-party coalition allied with President Alvaro Uribe won 61 seats in the 102-seat Senate. The Liberal Party, traditionally powerful in Colombian politics, won only 17 seats. The pro-Uribe alliance, which includes the Conservative Party, also won a majority in the Chamber of Representatives, winning 91 of the 166 seats contested. In the May 28 presidential elections, Uribe was reelected, winning 62 percent of the vote. Left-wing senator Carlos Gaviria of the Independent Democratic Pole was Uribe’s closest challenger, winning 22 percent of the vote. Liberal Party candidate Horacio Serpa received just under 12 percent of the vote. The May 28 poll was one of Colombia’s most peaceful in many years, as the Marxist FARC guerrilla group kept its promise not to interfere with the election.

Comoros: In the April 16 first round of voting for the presidency, moderate Islamist Ahmed Abdallah Sambi won 26 percent of the vote; National Assembly vice-president Mohammed Djaanfari won 14 percent; and Ibrahim Halidiwon 11 percent. In the second round, in which the top three vote-getters compete, Sambi was elected president with 58 percent of the vote, while Halidi and Djaanfari followed with 28 percent and 14 percent, respectively.

Czech Republic: In June 2–3 elections for the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies, the Civic Democratic Party won 81 seats, while their centrist allies, the Christian Democratic Union–Czech People’s Party and the Green Party, won 13 seats and 6 seats, respectively. The ruling Social Democratic Party, led by Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek, won 74 seats and the Communist Party won 26, leaving the two likely potential governing coalitions with a total of 100 seats each.

Dominican Republic: Legislative elections were held on May 28; results will be reported in a future issue.

El Salvador: In March 12 elections for the 84-member Legislative Assembly, President Antonio Saca’s conservative National Republican Alliance won 34 seats. The Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front, a former guerrilla group, won 32 seats; the National Conciliation Party earned 10 seats; the Christian Democratic Party won 6 seats; and Democratic Change won 2 seats.

Fiji: Parliamentary elections held on May 6–13 gave Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase’s indigenous United Fiji Party (SDL) a slight majority in Fiji’s 71-member parliament. The SDL won 36 seats while the Fiji Labour Party, dominated by ethnic Indians and led by Mahendra Chaudhry, won 31. Chaudhry, who was ousted in a coup led by indigenous nationalists in 2000, has claimed that the election was rigged.

Haiti: Parliamentary elections were held on April 21; results will be reported in a future issue. [End Page 176]

Hungary: In two rounds of voting for the 386-seat National Assembly, Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurscány’s Hungarian Socialist Party (MSzP) won 210 seats, the Hungarian Civic Union (FiDeSz) won 164 seats, the conservative Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF) won 11 seats, and the Alliance of Free Democrats won 4 seats. MSzP’s victory marks the first time since the fall of communism that a governing party has been reelected.

Peru: Elections were held on April 9 for the 120-seat Congress of the Republic. The Union for Peru (UPP) won 45 seats, the Peruvian Aprista Party (PAP) won 36, National Unity (UN) won 17, and the Alliance for the Future won 13. In first-round presidential elections on April 9, Ollanta Humala—a former lieutenant-colonel in the Peruvian army and leader of the UPP—won 30 percent of the vote, former president Alan García of the PAP won 24 percent, and Lourdes Flores of UN won 23 percent. In the June 4 runoff, García defeated Humala, receiving approximately 55 percent of the vote.

Samoa: Preliminary results from the March 31 parliamentary elections indicated that the governing Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP)—which is led by Prime Minister Tuila’epa Sailele Malielegaoi and has ruled for 24 years—won a majority in Samoa’s 49-seat parliament. “Special votes” cast by those voting outside of their home constituencies have yet to be counted. Final results will be reported in a future issue.

São Tomé and Príncipe: Elections for the unicameral 55-seat parliament were held on March 26. The Force for Change Democratic Movement–Democratic Convergence coalition won 23 seats; the Movement for the Liberation of São Tomé and Príncipe–Social Democratic Party coalition won 20 seats; the Independent Democratic Action party won 11 seats; and the New Way Movement earned 1 seat.

Singapore: On May 6, the long-dominant People’s Action Party—which has made it difficult for other parties to operate—won 82 seats in Singapore’s 84-seat parliament.

Slovakia: Parliamentary elections were scheduled for June 17; results will be reported in a future issue.

Solomon Islands: In the April 5 election for the 50-seat parliament, 30 independent candidates won seats. The National Party and the Rural Advancement Party each won 4 seats, while the People’s Alliance Party (led by Prime Minister Allan Kemakeza) and the Democratic Party each won 3 seats. The Solomon Islands Liberal Party, the Solomon Islands Social Credit Party, and the Lafari Party each won 2 seats.

Thailand: On April 2, snap elections were held for the 500-seat House of Representatives following months of protests amid accusations of corruption against Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Thailand’s main opposition [End Page 177] parties—the Democrat Party, the Thai Nation Party, and the People’s Party—boycotted the election, citing Thaksin’s refusal to accept their demands for political reform. Thaksin’s Thai Rak Thai party earned 57 percent of the vote (many voters, at the urging of the opposition, selected the ballot’s “no vote” box). On April 4, however, after an audience with King Bhumipol, Thaksin stepped down from power. Subsequently, on May 8, the Constitutional Court annulled the election on the grounds that it was held too soon after the dissolution of the House of Representatives and that the positioning of voter booths violated voter privacy. A new election date has not yet been set. Elections for Thailand’s 200-seat Senate were held on April 19; the Thai constitution stipulates that candidates for the Senate are not allowed to represent political parties.

Ukraine: In Ukraine’s March 26 parliamentary election, the Party of Regions, led by former presidential candidate Victor Yanukovych, received 32 percent of the vote, earning 189 seats; former prime minister Yuliya Tymoshenko’s bloc received 22 percent of the vote, winning 129 seats; and the Our Ukraine Bloc, aligned with President Viktor Yushchenko, received 14 percent, earning 81 seats. The Socialist Party and the Communist Party won 33 and 21 seats, respectively.

(July 2006–June 2007)

Algeria: parliamentary, May 2007

Angola: presidential/parliamentary, August 2006

Argentina: presidential/legislative, April 2007

Armenia: parliamentary, April 2007

Bahamas: parliamentary, May 2007

Bahrain: parliamentary, October 2006

Bangladesh: parliamentary, October 2006

Benin: legislative, March 2007

Bolivia: legislative, July 2006

Bosnia and Herzegovina: presidential/parliamentary, 1 October 2006

Brazil: presidential/parliamentary, 1 October 2006

Bulgaria: presidential, November 2006

Burkina Faso: parliamentary, May 2007

Cameroon: parliamentary, June 2007

Chad: parliamentary, April 2007

Congo (Brazzaville): parliamentary, May 2007

Congo (Kinshasa): presidential/parliamentary, July 2006

Côte d’Ivoire: parliamentary, 31 October 2006 [End Page 178]

Czech Republic: legislative, October 2006

Ecuador: presidential/legislative, 15 October 2006

Estonia: presidential, September 2006; parliamentary, March 2007

Gabon: parliamentary, December 2006

Gambia: presidential, October 2006; parliamentary, January 2007

Guyana: presidential/parliamentary, August 2006

Jordan: parliamentary, June 2007

Latvia: parliamentary, October 2006;presidential, June 2007

Lesotho: parliamentary, May 2007

Macedonia: parliamentary, July 2006

Madagascar: presidential/parliamentary, December 2006

Mali: presidential, April 2007

Mauritania: parliamentary, 19 November 2006; presidential, 11 March 2007

Mexico: presidential/legislative, 2 July 2006

Nauru: presidential, June 2007

Nicaragua: presidential/legislative, 5 November 2006

Nigeria: presidential/parliamentary, April 2007

Papua New Guinea: parliamentary, June 2007

Philippines: legislative, May 2007

Saint Kitts and Nevis: parliamentary, September 2006

Saint Lucia: parliamentary, December 2006

São Tomé and Príncipe: presidential, July 2006

Senegal: presidential, February 2007

Seychelles: presidential, August 2006

Sierra Leone: presidential/parliamentary, May 2007

Tajikistan: presidential, November 2006

Trinidad and Tobago: presidential, December 2006

Tuvalu: parliamentary, August 2006

Venezuela: presidential, 3 December 2006

Yemen: presidential, 23 September 2006

Zambia: presidential/parliamentary, December 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.