Europe

December 2, 2020

Your weekly roundup of news and analysis of elections in Europe, usually posted on Wednesdays and occasionally updated throughout the week. For a full electoral calendar and interactive map, click here.


Romania’s Palace of the Parliament. Photo credit:
Wikimedia/Dennis Jarvis (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Upcoming Europe Elections

Romania Parliamentary Elections: December 6, 2020

Romania has scheduled parliamentary elections for December 6, 2020, following local elections that took place on September 27, 2020. Romanian politics are volatile – the office of the prime minister has changed hands eight times since 2014. Corruption and weak rule of law remain serious problems. More

Sergiu Gherghina, London School of Economics EUROPP (December 1, 2020): What to expect from Sunday’s legislative elections in Romania

Bulgaria Parliamentary Elections: March 28, 2021 (due – however, delays or snap elections are both possible)

Bulgaria is due to hold parliamentary elections on March 28, 2021, although delays are possible due to COVID-19. Snap elections are also possible amid ongoing protests. Bulgaria has been in a long stretch of chaotic politics characterized by a series of early elections and caretaker governments, and a number of problems remain. Corruption and scandals have plagued the country since the 1990s. In that vein, the country is currently embroiled in anti-government protests, some violent, which have been going on since July. More

Radosveta Vassileva, New Eastern Europe (November 30, 2020): What lurks behind Bulgaria’s “veto” on North Macedonia’s accession talks?

Valerie Hopkins and Michael Peel, Financial Times (November 29, 2020): Bulgaria joins Europe’s awkward squad

Albania Parliamentary Elections: April 25, 2021

Albania plans to hold parliamentary elections on April 25, 2021. Since communism collapsed in 1990, Albania has held competitive elections and several transitions of power between political parties. However, the country is currently in the middle of a tense political standoff between the governing Socialist Party and the main opposition center-right Democratic Party. More

Exit Albania (November 27, 2020): Exit Explains: How the Government is Using Earthquake Reconstruction to Boost the Election Campaign

United Kingdom Local Elections (including Mayor of London and Scottish and Welsh parliaments): May 6, 2021

The United Kingdom (UK) will hold local elections on May 6, 2021. Voters will elect various local councils, plus the mayor of London, plus Scottish and Welsh parliaments. The Scottish elections are particularly high-stakes because if the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP) wins a majority, they will pressure the government in Westminster to allow another referendum on independenceMore

Guy Faulconbridge, Reuters (November 27, 2020): Scotland’s Sturgeon puts UK on independence warning: We want a referendum soon

Nick Eardley, BBC (November 27, 2020): What’s going on with Scottish independence?

Cyprus Parliamentary Elections: May 23, 2021 (due)

Cyprus is due to hold parliamentary elections on May 23, 2021. Northern Cyprus, recognized only by Turkey, recently held a presidential election (again, recognized only by Turkey) which Ankara-backed nationalist Ersin Tatar won, exacerbating tensions on the island. This is all happening in the context of the ongoing Eastern Mediterranean crisis. More

Diego Cupolo, Al-Monitor (December 2, 2020): North Cyprus leader pushes for two-state solution, agrees to informal summit

Jonathan Gorvett, Foreign Policy (December 2, 2020): Biden Faces Troubled Eastern Mediterranean Waters

Estonia Municipal Elections: October 17, 2021

Estonia – a poster child for a successful post-communist transition to democracy – will hold municipal elections on October 17, 2021. More

Charlie Duxbury, Politico (December 2, 2020): Estonia’s techies fear the far right

ERR News (November 27, 2020): Marriage referendum bill to reach Riigikogu by mid-December

Norway Parliamentary Elections: September 13, 2021

Norway holds parliamentary elections on September 13, 2021. More

Reuters (December 1, 2020): Anti-EU farming party reaches top spot in Norway poll as elections loom

Germany Parliamentary Elections: September 26, 2021

Germany is due to hold several sets of elections next year, culminating in the federal parliamentary elections that will determine who succeeds Angela Merkel as chancellor. Additionally, five states hold elections.  The year 2021 is thus a “Superwahljahr” (Super election year) in Germany. More

Jill Petzinger, Yahoo Finance UK (November 30, 2020): German election 2021: The men who would be Merkel

AP (November 29, 2020): German far-right airs divisions over leader’s criticism

Hungary Parliamentary Elections: By Spring 2022 (or earlier)

Hungary is due to hold parliamentary elections by Spring 2022, although snap elections are possible. Prime Minster Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party has become increasingly authoritarian, to the concern of many both in Hungary and in the international community.

Hungary Today (November 30, 2020): Momentum on Board for Joint Opposition List in 2022

Shaun Walker, The Guardian (December 2, 2020): Hungary’s rightwing rulers downplay MEP ‘gay orgy’ scandal amid hypocrisy accusations

Italy General Elections: due by May 2023 (snap elections possible)

Italy’s next general elections are due by May 2023, but as is ever the case with Italy, snap elections are possible.

Andrea Carlo, The Independent (December 2, 2020): Decline in support for Matteo Salvini is not the end of the far right in Italy – something more worrying is brewing

Giovanna De Maio, Brookings Institution (November 30, 2020): The impact of COVID-19 on the Italian far right: The rise of Brothers of Italy

Past Europe Elections

Kosovo Local Elections in Two Municipalities: November 29, 2020

Kosovo held two local elections on November 29, 2020. These are happening in the context of national political uncertainty. On November 5, 2020, President Hashim Thaci resigned to face war crimes charges in The Hague. Although the president is elected indirectly by the parliament, Thaci’s resignation could potentially trigger yet another snap election (the third in less than four years).

Prishtina Insight (November 29, 2020): Vetevendosje wins mayoral election in Podujeva

Xhorxhina Bami, Balkan Insight (November 30, 2020): Kosovo Local Election Sends Ruling Party a Warning Shot

Bosnia and Herzegovina Elections: November 15, 2020

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) held local elections on November 15, 2020.The elections are taking place in the context of gridlock and ethno-nationalism, but the results delivered a blow to the three main ethnic-based political parties, with opposition forces winning in Sarajevo and other key cities. More

Jasmin Mujanovic, Balkan Insight (December 1, 2020): Bosnia’s Municipal Election Results – a Small Step Forward

Lithuania Parliamentary Elections: October 11, 2020 (Second round October 25, 2020)

Lithuania held parliamentary elections in October 2020. A center-right coalition led by Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats (TS–LKD) defeated the incumbent populist Farmers and Greens. Following the elections, a coalition of four parties – all led by women – formed a government, with Ingrida Šimonytė as the country’s first female prime minister.

Linas Jegelevicius, Euronews (November 27, 2020): Is Lithuania’s new, female-led government a sign of improved gender equality in the country? 

21votes does not necessarily agree with all of the opinions expressed in the linked articles; rather, our goal is to curate a wide range of voices. Furthermore, none of the individuals or organizations referenced have reviewed 21votes’ content. That is to say, their inclusion should not be taken to imply that they endorse us in any way. More on our approach here.

Middle East

December 1, 2020

Your weekly roundup of news and analysis of elections in the greater Middle East and North Africa, usually posted on Tuesdays and occasionally updated throughout the week. For a full electoral calendar and interactive map, click here.


Lion sculptures in the central square of Ramallah, administrative capital of the Palestinian Authority. Palestinian elections are long overdue, and it looks like they will be delayed further. Photo credit:
Wikimedia/Ralf Lotys (CC BY 3.0)

Upcoming Middle East Elections

Kuwait Parliamentary Elections: December 5, 2020

Kuwait holds parliamentary elections on December 5, 2020. As could be expected, COVID-19 and the government’s response is shaping public debate ahead of the elections. Meanwhile, populism is on the rise, exacerbated by the pandemic and falling oil prices. As a result, questions of citizenship look likely to play a role in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

All of this is happening in the context of the September 29 death of the emirSheikh Sabah, who had been emir since 2006 and prior to that was foreign minister for 40 years. More

The Media Line (December 1, 2020): Record Number of Women Running in Kuwaiti Elections

Algeria Early Legislative Elections: Proposed

Algerian authorities have proposed holding early legislative elections following a constitutional referendum that took place on November 1, 2020. This is all happening in the context of the Hirak protest movement, in which Algerians protested weekly throughout the country for over a year (stopping only due to the COVID-19 pandemic). Protesters called for, among other things, democratic elections in Algeria. More

Amnesty International (November 27, 2020): Algeria: European Parliament calls for action on human rights and expresses solidarity with demonstrators

Iraq Early Parliamentary Elections: June 6, 2021 (tentative) and Provincial Elections (due)

Iraq’s government has proposed holding snap parliamentary elections on June 6, 2021, one year early, following the demands of protesters. However, parliament still has to pass a new electoral law and allocate a budget for the elections in order for them to actually happen. Therefore, the date remains tentative. Iraq is also due to hold provincial (sometimes called governorate) elections. Preparations are taking place in the context of widespread protest and political instability. More

Al Jazeera (November 27, 2020): Tens of thousands of Sadr supporters rally in Iraq

Syria Presidential Election: April or May 2021

Syria is due to hold a presidential election between April 16 and May 16, 2021. The election comes in the context of Syria’s ongoing civil war, and will likely not be free, fair, or democratic.

Lisa Schlein, Voice of America (November 29, 2020): Syrian Constitutional Talks Resume With Little Prospect of Breakthrough

Libya Local Elections (ongoing in various places) and Parliamentary and Presidential Elections: December 24, 2021 (tentative)

Libya’s national elections are overdue and have been postponed indefinitely due to the political crisis and civil war. However, in November 2020, Libyan stakeholders participating in UN-sponsored talks proposed December 24, 2021 for presidential and parliamentary elections. More

Daily Sabah (November 28): Libyan deputies pledge to end divisions, convene elected parliament soon

Palestinian Authority Legislative – Long Overdue (date could be set soon)

Palestinian elections are long overdue. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is currently in year 14 of a four-year term. Legislative Council elections are similarly long overdue – the last took place in 2006. Elections are on hold indefinitely in the midst of a deadlocked conflict between the Gaza-baed Hamas and Abbas’s secularist Fatah, based in the West Bank.

Mehul Srivastava, Financial Times (November 30, 2020): Palestine’s Mahmoud Abbas pushes back against elections

Khaled Abu Toameh, Jerusalem Post (December 2, 2020): After dumping Hamas, Abbas seeks to restore ties with Gulf states

Israel Parliamentary Elections: Due in 2023, but snap elections possible

Israel might be headed to its fourth general election in less than two years if the unity government of Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz collapses. More

Barak Ravid, Axios (December 2, 2020): Israeli parliament opts for early elections in preliminary vote

Mehul Srivastava, Financial Times (December 1, 2020): A murder in Tehran may signal elections in Jerusalem

Past Middle East Elections

Egypt Parliamentary Elections: October-November 2020

Egypt held elections for both houses of parliament this year. They were widely considered a sham by the opposition, civil society, and the public. More

Vivian Yee, New York Times (November 30, 2020): Accepting the Danger of Human Rights Work in Egypt, With Food and Humor

Pakistan, Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly Elections: November 15, 2020

Gilgit-Baltistan, the Pakistan-administered part of Kashmir, held elections for its legislative assembly on November 15, 2020. The elections took place in the context of the dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, as well as increased Chinese presence due to Belt and Road. More

Ghulam Abbas, Pakistan Today (November 30, 2020): PTI’s Khalid Khursheed elected as GB [Chief Minister]

21votes does not necessarily agree with all of the opinions expressed in the linked articles; rather, our goal is to curate a wide range of voices. Furthermore, none of the individuals or organizations referenced have reviewed 21votes’ content, and their inclusion should not be taken to imply that they endorse us in any way. More on our approach here

Africa

November 30, 2020

Your weekly roundup of news and analysis of elections in Africa, usually posted on Mondays and occasionally updated throughout the week. For a full electoral calendar and interactive map, click here.


The clay pan at Sossusvlei, one of the most popular tourist attractions in Namibia. Namibia’s local elections on November 25 delivered a blow to the ruling Swapo party. Photo credit:
Wikimedia/Ikiwaner (GNU FDL 1.2)

Upcoming Africa Elections

Somalia Parliamentary Elections: December 1-27, 2020 and Presidential Election: February 8, 2021 (indirect)

Somalia has announced that indirect parliamentary elections will take place between December 1 and December 27, 2020, and the indirect presidential election will take place on February 8, 2021. Although some had hoped for direct elections, it didn’t work out this time, and these elections will continue to use the clan-based delegate system to choose parliament, which will then choose the president. 

However, tensions are high, and some have called for a delay in order to lower the chances of violence. More

Cara Anna, AP (November 26, 2020): ‘Why now?’ Dismay as US considers troop pullout from Somalia

Reuters (November 30, 2020): Somalia expels Kenyan envoy in row over alleged poll interference

Abdulkadir Khalif, The East African (November 27, 2020): Somalia’s opposition candidates demand dissolution of electoral teams

Ghana Presidential and Parliamentary Elections: December 7, 2020

Ghana is scheduled to hold presidential and parliamentary elections on December 7, 2020. Often cited as a success story for democratic transition, Ghana’s two main political parties, the center-right New Patriotic Party (NPP) and center-left National Democratic Congress (NDC), have alternated stints in power since Ghana began holding multiparty elections. More

Michael Lieber Cobb and Erik Plänitz, African Arguments (November 30, 2020): “Warning shots”: The steady rise of political violence in Ghana

BBC News Pidgin (December 1, 2020): Ghana Election Special Voters list 2020: Voting in progress as Nana Akufo-Addo and John Mahama test popularity

Liberia Senate Elections: December 8, 2020

Liberia will elect half of its Senate on December 8, 2020. The country’s 2017 election brought the first peaceful transition of power since 1944, but Liberia still faces some challenges as it seeks to consolidate democracy. More

Robtel Neajai Pailey, Al Jazeera (December 1, 2020): Liberia’s Weah might be in for a rude awakening at the polls

Emma Farge, Reuters (December 1, 2020): Historic Liberia war crimes trial to open in Switzerland

Niger Local Elections: December 13, 2020 and Presidential and Legislative Elections: December 27, 2020 (Presidential Second Round: February 20, 2021)

Niger plans to hold long-delayed local elections on December 13, 2020. These elections were supposed to take place in May 2016, but have been postponed multiple times. Next, the country will hold presidential and legislative elections on December 27.

Niger’s constitution bars incumbent Mahamadou Issoufou from running for a third presidential term, and in that vein, and in contrast to some incumbents in the region, he is standing down. His party has nominated interior minister Mohamed Bazoum to be its presidential candidate. However, the constitutional court has barred opposition leader Hama Amadou from running. More

Reuters (November 25, 2020): Niger ex-President Tandja, toppled after extending rule, dies at 82

François Soudan and Mathieu Olivier, Jeune Afrique (November 27, 2020): Niger – Mohamed Bazoum: “Mahamadou Issoufou, Hama Amadou, the third terms and me …”

Central African Republic Presidential and Legislative Elections: December 27, 2020

The Central African Republic (CAR) has scheduled presidential and legislative elections for December 27, 2020. The upcoming elections are taking place in the context of a humanitarian crisis and a crisis of governance. The country has had multiparty elections since 1993, but a series of coups and instability have prevented democracy from flourishing. Meanwhile, Russia is heavily involved in the country’s politics. More

RFI (November 28, 2020 – in French): Central African Republic: the Constitutional Court rejects the candidatures of armed groups in the legislative elections

Jean Fernand Koena, DW (November 27, 2020 – in French): Central African Republic: elections amid insecurity

Uganda General Elections: January 14, 2021

Uganda will hold presidential and legislative elections on January 14, 2021. President Yoweri Museveni has held power since 1986 and plans to seek a sixth term. For the upcoming elections, 37-year-old pop star Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, better known as Bobi Wine, has emerged as a leading opposition candidate. Security forces remain in a pattern of intimidating and harassing the opposition, and political climate is tense. More

Halima Athumani, Voice of America (November 30, 2020): Uganda President Quotes Bible in Ominous Message to Opposition 

Stephen Kafeero, Quartz (November 27, 2020): Uganda is using Huawei’s facial recognition tech to crack down on dissent after anti-government protests

Abdi Latif Dahir, New York Times (November 27, 2020): Jailed, Exiled and Silenced: Smothering East Africa’s Political Opposition

Rwanda Local Elections: March 6 – February 2, 2021

Bertrand Byishimo, New Times (November 30, 2020): Rwanda: Electoral Body to Go Ahead With Grassroots Polls Despite Covid-19

Republic of the Congo Presidential Election: March 20, 2021

The Republic of the Congo (sometimes called Congo-Brazzaville) is due to hold a presidential election on March 20, 2021. Denis Sassou Nguesso been president almost continuously since 1979, and rules with an iron fist. Elections have not been free or fair. More

Jeune Afrique (November 25, 2020 – in French): Congo: who is running against Denis Sassou Nguesso in 2021?

Benin Presidential Election: March 2021

Benin is due to hold a presidential election in March 2021. Incumbent Patrice Talon will likely run for a second term, and he could be the only candidate on the ballotPreviously a model democracy in the region,  Benin has seen democratic decline since Talon’s election in 2016. More

AFP (November 27, 2020): Benin presidential election set for April 11

Gambia Presidential Election: December 4, 2021

In December 2016, The Gambia began a remarkable transition to democracy. Citizens removed dictator Yahya Jammeh – who had come to power in a coup and ruled for 22 years – peacefully, via the ballot box, in a surprising result. Opposition candidate Adama Barrow won the presidency with the backing of a coalition of seven opposition parties. The country then began the process of establishing democracy and recovering from Jammeh’s brutal dictatorship.

James Courtright, OZY (November 24, 2020): The latest hub of political humor: Gambia

Angola Local Elections: Due in 2020, no date set

Angola is due to hold its first-ever local elections in 2020. However, the elections have already been delayed multiple times (most recently in September 2020), and no date has been set. Meanwhile, COVID-19 provides an excuse for additional delays. In short, it is unclear when – or whether – the local elections will actually happen. Moreover, the country has never held free elections, and the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), a former armed group, has ruled since independence in 1976. More

AFP (November 27, 2020): After protests, Angolan leader holds talks with youths

Mukuta Bun, Voice of America (November 26, 2020 – in Portuguese): João Lourenço does not promise local elections in 2021 and hears criticism from activists

Ethiopia General Elections: Postponed indefinitely

Ethiopia planned to hold general elections on August 29, 2020, but has postponed the elections indefinitely due to COVID-19 and other factors. These elections are taking place in the context of political change in Ethiopia, and in the midst of both the opportunity to build a democracy and the threat of ethnic violence or even a breakup of the country, especially in light of the growing crisis in Tigray region in the north that has exploded into violent conflictMore

Richard Reid, The Conversation (November 30, 2020): Conflict between Tigray and Eritrea – the long standing faultline in Ethiopian politics

Safia Farole, Washington Post (November 24, 2020): Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict reflects unresolved ethnic tensions: Regional self-government rights are being tested

Past Africa Elections

Namibia Local and Regional Elections: November 25, 2020

Namibia held local and regional elections on November 25, 2020. Namibia is a free, stable democracy, but since independence from South Africa in 1990, Namibian politics have been dominated by the socialist Swapo, an independence movement-turned-political party. Swapo took a hit in these elections, losing control of the city council in the capital, Windhoek, and other cities. More

Hileni Nembwaya, The Namibian (November 23, 2020): All systems go for special voting

Shinovene Immanuel, The Namibian (November 27, 2020): Swapo loses control of Windhoek

Burkina Faso Presidential and Parliamentary Elections: November 22, 2020

Burkina Faso held presidential and parliamentary elections on November 22, 2020, in the context of a growing security crisis as well as political uncertainty as the country’s democrats seek to consolidate the young, fragile democracy. President Roch Marc Christian Kabore won re-election. More

Reuters (November 29, 2020): Allies of Burkina Faso’s Kabore Retain Control of Parliament

Reuters (November 27, 2020): Burkina Faso opposition leader concedes defeat in election

Sam Mednick, AP (November 26, 2020): Burkina Faso president Roch Marc Christian Kabore re-elected

Côte d’Ivoire Presidential Election: October 31, 2020

Cote d’Ivoire held a presidential election on October 31, 2020 in a tense environment as President Alassane Ouattara sought and won a controversial third term. Protests followed. More

Vincent Duhem, The Africa Report (November 30, 2020): Côte d’Ivoire: What Ouattara has in store for his third term

Tanzania General Elections: October 25, 2020

Tanzania held presidential and legislative elections on October 25, 2020 in the context of a crackdown on the opposition and growing authoritarianism. President John Magufuli, whose Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) has been in power since 1961, won a second term, but the opposition said the elections were neither free nor fair. Opposition figures have been arrested, assaulted, and murdered. More

Kizito Makoye, Andalou Agency (November 30, 2020): Tanzania: Zanzibar ex-presidential candidate sues gov’t

Georja Calvin-Smith, France24 (November 26, 2020 – video begins at ): Tundu Lissu on FRANCE 24: Tanzanian opposition leader vows to keep fighting

Cultural Note

21votes does not necessarily agree with all of the opinions expressed in the linked articles; rather, our goal is to curate a wide range of voices. Furthermore, none of the individuals or organizations referenced have reviewed 21votes’ content. That is to say, their inclusion should not be taken to imply that they endorse us in any way. More on our approach here

Americas

November 28, 2020

Your weekly roundup of news and analysis of elections in the Americas, usually posted on Saturdays and occasionally updated throughout the week. For a full electoral calendar and interactive map, click here.


Caracas’s notorious 23 de Enero, one of
Maduro’s political strongholds. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Alexis Carmona (CC BY 3.0)

Upcoming Americas Elections

Venezuela Legislative Elections: December 6, 2020

Venezuela plans to hold legislative elections on December 6, 2020, despite members of the opposition and international community calling for a delay in order to ensure credible, fair elections. These elections are taking place in the context of ongoing politicalconstitutional, and humanitarian crises have been going on for years. More

Fabiola Sánchez, AP (December 2, 2020): Son of Venezuela’s Maduro emerges, runs for congress

Jorge Jraissati, National Review (December 2, 2020): Venezuela’s Sham Election

France24 (November 27, 2020 – video): Exiled Venezuelan opposition figure Lopez urges Europe to impose sanctions on Maduro

The Economist (November 26, 2020): Venezuela’s regime will win the legislative election, by a lot: A rigged vote will end the opposition’s control of the last democratically elected institution

Peru General Elections: April 11, 2021

Peru has scheduled general elections for April 11, 2021. These elections are coming on the heels of snap legislative elections that took place on January 26, 2020, and in the context of political turmoil – including the impeachment of President Martín Vizcarra and the subsequent “week of three presidents” – and an economic crisis brought on by COVID-19. More

Lachlan Williams, The Rio Times (November 30, 2020): Peru: Potential Presidential Candidates Participate in Primary Elections

Simeon Tegel, World Politics Review (November 27, 2020): Vizcarra’s Ouster Puts Constitutional Reform on the Agenda in Peru

Editorial Board, BloombergOpinion (November 27, 2020): Peru Should Give Its Latest President a Chance

Jamaica Local Elections: February 2022

Jamaica has again delayed its upcoming local elections due to COVID-19, and anticipates holding the polls in February 2022.

Balford Henry, Jamaica Observer (November 25, 2020): Delay to local gov’t elections

Past Americas Elections

Brazil Local Elections: November 15, 2020 (Runoffs: November 29, 2020)

Brazil held municipal elections on November 15, 2020, with a second round on November 29, 2020. The results dealt a blow to Jair Bolsonaro, the right-wing populist firebrand president. The country remains deeply polarized between right and left. The local elections are an important test for Bolsonaro, who is up for re-election in 2022. More

Bryan Harris, Financial Times (November 29, 2020): Brazil’s local elections deal blow to Bolsonaro: Party of former leader Lula is also battered as ‘establishment’ politics makes a comeback

The Economist (November 26, 2020): The future of bolsonarismo

21votes does not necessarily agree with all of the opinions expressed in the linked articles; rather, our goal is to curate a wide range of voices. Furthermore, none of the individuals or organizations referenced have reviewed 21votes’ content. That is to say, their inclusion should not be taken to imply that they endorse us in any way. More on our approach here.

Asia

November 27, 2020

Your weekly roundup of news and analysis of elections in Asia and the Pacific, usually posted on Fridays and occasionally updated throughout the week. For a full electoral calendar and interactive map, click here.


Sadarghat, a wharf at the Port of Dhaka on the Buriganga River in Bangladesh. Bangladesh holds the first stage of municipal elections in December. Photo credit:
Wikimedia/Hiroki Ogawa (CC BY 3.0)

Upcoming Asia Elections

Indonesia Local and Provincial Elections: December 9, 2020

Indonesia will hold local and provincial elections on December 9, 2020. More than 100 million eligible voters will elect governors in nine of Indonesia’s 34 provinces, plus regents in 224 districts, mayors in 37 cities and 32 provinces across Indonesia.

In Indonesia’s April 2019 elections – the biggest single day of voting in the history of the world – incumbent Joko Widodo (Jokowi), widely seen as a reformer, defeated challenger Prabowo Subianto for the presidency. Prabowo initially refused to accept the results, and rioting subsequently ensued. Prabowo ultimately did accept the results, but tensions remain, particularly regarding the role of religion in politicsMore

Erwida Maulia, Nikkei Asia (November 24, 2020): How firebrand cleric Habib Rizieq plans to Islamize Indonesia

Tom Batchelor, The Independent (November 29, 2020): Indonesian volcano erupts forcing thousands to flee as ash and smoke spew four kilometres into sky

Thailand Provincial Elections: December 20, 2020 (other local elections to follow)

Thailand plans to hold provincial elections on December 20, 2020, the first since the country’s 2014. Voters will elect provincial administration organization (PAO) members in 76 provinces. After that, officials have said they will schedule elections for other types of local elections (such as municipal offices and Bangkok city council).

These elections are taking place in the context of unprecedented protests against the monarchy, and calls for unprecedented types of reforms. These protests have been going on for months. More

AP (November 28, 2020): Thailand’s pro-democracy protesters warn of possible coup

Patrick Smith and Nat Sumon, NBC (November 25, 2020): Young protesters in Thailand risk much to demand change from military, monarchy

Kostia Prodromidès and Aurore Castel, France24 (November 23, 2020 – video): Longing for change: Meet Thailand’s pro-democracy protesters

Sebastian Strangio, The Diplomat (November 24,  2020): Duncan McCargo on Thailand’s New Political Force

Bangladesh Municipal Elections Stage One: December 28, 2020

Bangladesh will hold municipal elections in five stages over the course of the next few months. The coutnry held general elections to the Jatiya Sangsad (parliament) in December 2018 amid political violence and harassment of the opposition. The Awami League (AL) AL has been in power since 2009 and is becoming increasingly authoritarian.

Dhaka Tribune (November 22, 2020): First phase of municipality election on Dec 28

Tibet Government-in-Exile Elections: January 2021

Gagandeep Singh Dhillon, The Indian Express (November 22, 2020): Explained: How Tibetans across the world will elect their parliament in exile

Radio Free Asia (November 23, 2020): Tibetan Exile Political Leader Makes ‘Landmark’ First Visit to White House

Maldives Local Elections: March 6, 2021

Maldives is due to hold local elections, which will likely take place on March 6, 2021. The country, an idyllic Indian Ocean archipelago usually associated with honeymoons and oligarchs, lived under a brutal dictatorship for decades. However, the country had a remarkable transition to democracy in 2008. However, the consolidation of democracy remains an ongoing challenge. Moreover, Maldives has become a flashpoint for geopolitical competition in the Indian Ocean. More

Aishath Shaany, Raajje (November 26, 2020): 86 candidates withdraw from local elections

Nectar Gan, CNN (November 25, 2020): A tale of two bridges: India and China vying for influence in the Maldives

Hong Kong Legislative Elections: September 5, 2021

Hong Kong plans to hold elections to the Legislative Council on September 5, 2021. These elections were due in September 2020, but were postponed for a year. The stated reason was COVID-19, but many in the pro-democracy camp believe the delay had more to do with political concerns.

These elections are taking place in the context of Beijing consolidating its power over Hong Kong and a draconian new security law that authorities have used to crush Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement and criminalize dissentMore

Eric Cheung, Jadyn Sham and James Griffiths, CNN (November 23, 2020): Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong facing prison after guilty plea over 2019 protest

Jeffrey Wasserstrom, Time (November 25, 2020): All Seems Lost for Hong Kong’s Democracy Movement as Joshua Wong Faces Jail. But There Are Still Reasons for Hope.

Yi-Zheng Lian, New York Times (November 25, 2020): Reports of Hong Kong’s Death Are Greatly Exaggerated

Leïla Choukroune, The Conversation (November 23, 2020): Heavy hand of China is prompting fears for Hong Kong’s future as a major business hub

Malaysia Sarawak State Elections: By August 7, 2021 and Possible Snap Parliamentary Elections

Malaysia is not due to hold parliamentary elections until May 2023, but the fragile political situation means snap elections are possible, and Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has indicated that he will in fact call early general elections once the COVID-19 pandemic is over. Meanwhile, several of Malaysia’s states are due to hold elections in the next year. The country’s politics have been turbulent since the historic defeat of UMNO – which had ruled since 1957 – in the 2018 elections. UMNO is back in power but hanging on by a thread. To complicate matters further, the country is also due to hold several by-elections, but the government is delaying them, ostensibly due to COVID-19. However, the opposition is likely to win the by-elections, so delays prevent the government’s majority from narrowing even more.  More

The Straits Times (November 28, 2020): Malaysia’s PM Muhyiddin says he will call for general election once Covid-19 pandemic is over

Zsombor Peter, Voice of America (November 25, 2020): Malaysia’s Government, Prime Minister Face Make-or-Break Budget Vote

Minderjeet Kaur, Free Malaysia Today (November 27, 2020): Gerik, Bugaya by-elections on Jan 16, says EC

Umair Jamal, ASEAN Today (November 29, 2020): The potential impacts of Malaysia postponing by-elections as COVID-19 cases rise

Past Asia Elections

Burma General Elections: November 8, 2020

Burma, also called Myanmar, held general elections on November 8, 2020. Burma seemed to be moving toward democracy following the  country’s first credible, relatively free elections in 2015, which swept Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy (NLD) to power following decades of military dictatorship.

Once held up by the global community as a paragon of moral authority for giving up her own freedom in the fight for democracy, Suu Kyi’s tenure as the country’s de facto leader has disappointed many. Nonetheless, the NLD won a second term following these elections. More

Andrew Nachemson and Naw Betty Han, Al Jazeera (November 27, 2020): Ethnic tension, conflicts key concern for Myanmar’s incoming MPs

Sebastian Strangio, The Diplomat (November 26, 2020): What’s Next for Myanmar’s Military Proxy Party?

Min Zin, New York Times (November 23, 2020): Myanmar Still Loves Aung San Suu Kyi, but Not for the Reasons You Think

AFP (November 23, 2020): Myanmar’s genocide against Rohingya not over, says rights group

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