Middle East

Middle East Elections Weekly News Review: June 21, 2022

June 21, 2022

A weekly review 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.

The sea wall of Acre, Israel. Israel holds yet another round of snap elections on November 1, 2022. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Oren Rozen (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Upcoming Middle East Elections

Tunisia Constitutional Referendum: July 25, 2022 and Early Legislative Elections: December 17, 2022

Tunisia will hold a constitutional referendum and early elections in 2022, following protests sparked by President Kais Saied’s dismissal of the government, a move some deemed a coup.

Tunisia began transitioning to democracy in 2011, amid the Arab Spring protests, and in 2019, held the third national elections since the fall of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.  Political outsider and populist Kais Saied won the presidency. The results indicated a rejection of the main political parties and post-Ben Ali political ideologies (Islamism and secular liberalism). However, some concerns lingered about the democratic process.

Political and civil society actors hope that the early elections can return Tunisia to a democratic path.

Africanews (June 20, 2022): Tunisian protest constitutional reforms pushed by President Kais Saied

AFP (June 16, 2022): Tunisia grinds to a halt as unions challenge president

Raed Ben Maaquia, African Arguments (June 16, 2022): Is Tunisia’s democracy slipping away?

Iraq, Kurdistan Regional Government Elections: September 30, 2022 (due)

Iraq’s Kurdistan region is due to hold elections by the end of September 2022. While the region is part of Iraq, it has a high degree of autonomy. It is able to sign its own oil export agreements with international companies, although Baghdad has tried to change this. There have been disputes between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Iraqi federal government over territory, particularly the city of Kirkuk, which is rich in oil.

Rowena Edwards, Reuters (June 17, 2022): Iraq’s Kurdistan works to establish two oil firms as Erbil-Baghdad tensions rise

Israel Snap Parliamentary Elections, Take 5: November 1, 2022

Israel will hold snap elections on November 1, 2022, the fifth elections in three years, following the collapse of a broad coalition led by conservative Naftali Bennett and centrist Yair Lapid.

Yonah Jeremy Bob, Jerusalem Post (June 21, 2022): What do Israeli elections mean for clandestine war vs Iran? – analysis

Josef Federman, AP (June 21, 2022): Israel to dissolve parliament, call 5th election in 3 years

Shira Rubin, Washington Post (June 21, 2022): Netanyahu prepares for a comeback in Israel’s next elections

Lahav Harkov, Jerusalem Post (June 20, 2022): Biden will visit Israel despite Knesset disbanding, elections: Biden is expected to visit Israel on July 13-14. He will spend the night in Jerusalem and will hold talks with the incoming prime minister Yair Lapid

Libya Parliamentary and Presidential Elections: Delayed from December 2021 – date TBD (possibly by the end of 2022)

Libya’s national elections are overdue and have been postponed due to the political crisis and civil war. Most recently, the country missed the scheduled date of December 24, 2021 for the polls, and it is unclear when they will happen. Following the election delay, the political crisis deepened, and there are currently two rival governments.

Since the collapse of Muammar Qaddafi’s dictatorship in 2011, Libya has been in crisis. The country is important because of its oil resources, as well as its ports, which have become a springboard for migrants to Europe. As such, foreign powers remain heavily involved. More

Al Jazeera (June 20, 2022): UN says Libya rival factions fail to reach deal in election talks

Turkey General Elections: By June 18, 2023 (snap elections possible)

Turkey is due for general elections in June 2023, but there have been rumors of possible snap elections, and more than half of Turkish citizens want an early vote.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been in power since 2003, and although the party initially ran on a reformist platform, it has become increasingly authoritarian. A 2017 constitutional change, with passed very narrowly in a referendum, replaced the parliamentary system with a presidential system, and gave the presidency new powers.

While Turkey remains a member of NATO, it has in recent years moved toward Russia and other authoritarian powers on the geopolitical stage.

Balkan Insight (June 20, 2022): Facing Elections, Turkey and Greece Play with Fire in the Aegean

Palestinian Authority General Elections: Long Overdue

The Palestinian Authority is long overdue to hold general elections. President Mahmoud Abbas is currently in year 17 of a four-year term. Similarly, the last Legislative Council elections took place in 2006. However, local elections did take place in 2021 and 2022.

Ksenia Svetlova, The Media Line (June 17, 2022): On 15th Anniversary of Palestinian Divide, Politicians in Ramallah Mull Elections, Succession Struggle

Past Middle East Elections

Lebanon Parliamentary Elections: May 15, 2022

Lebanon has set parliamentary elections for May 15, 2022. The country has been in a political crisis and without a government since the port explosion in Beirut, in which 215 people died, 7,500 were injured, and 300,000 were left homeless. Moreover, Lebanon is in an economic crisis, with its currency hitting record lows and crippling inflation.

Many Lebanese people are in a state of despair, but some have hope that the upcoming elections could bring a hint of change.

Andrea Lopez-Tomas, Al-Monitor (June 19, 2022): Lebanon elects record number of women to parliament

Khalil Issa, The New Arab (June 17, 2022): Lebanon elections: The enemy of the people remains

Nicholas Bladford, Atlantic Council (June 16, 2022): Lebanon-Israel maritime border dispute picks up again

AJ Naddaff, Foreign Policy (June 16, 2022): Syrian Refugees Find Little Hope in Lebanon’s Election: Lebanon’s large refugee population has long given up on their futures in the country.

Ruters (June 14, 2022): Lebanon Ready to Drop Claim for Disputed Gas Field Off Israeli Coast, Officials Say

Iraq Early Parliamentary Elections: October 10, 2021

Iraq held early elections on October 10 (postponed from the original proposal of holding them on June 6, 2021, one year early) as a result of the pro-democracy protests that began in 2019. The country is also due to hold provincial (sometimes called governorate) elections.

The elections took place in the context of widespread protest and political instability. The political climate is violent and chaotic, with over 600 people killed since the start of the protests. Moreover, a number of political parties have announced plans to boycott the polls.

The Shi’ite firebrand cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, one of Iraq’s most influential politicians, had announced a boycott, but ultimately reversed course and urged his followers to support the elections. He subsequently proceeded to win the elections. However, other parties – specifically, pro-Iran Shi’ite parties – challenged the election results. The Supreme Court rejected the challenge.

Sadr, who opposes both Iranian and American influence in Iraqi politics – was thought to be the likely be the kingmaker in the new government. But he is currently refusing to conduct talks with his rivals, resulting in deadlock. More

Douglas A. Ollivant, War on the Rocks (June 20, 2022): A post-Sadr Iraq?

Algeria Early Local Elections: November 27, 2021

Algeria held early local elections on November 27, 2021.

These follow the snap legislative elections held on June 12, 2021, following more than two years of protests by the Hirak movement. However, the government’s election plan did not actually satisfied the Hirak, who boycotted the elections and continue to protest. The absence of the Hirak, who are mostly secular, from the elections has paved the way for Islamist parties to become the main opposition. Ultimately, the FLN, the country’s long-dominant nationalist secular party, won both the legislative and the local elections.

Elizia Volkmann, Al-Monitor (June 21, 2022): Algerian government shuts down leading pro-reform group

The New Arab (June 14, 2022): Head of major Algeria media group Anis Rahmani sentenced to 10 years in prison for corruption

Middle East Elections Coming Up in 2022 and 2023

Libya Presidential and Parliamentary Elections: Overdue (delayed from December 24, 2021 – no date set but some have proposed to hold the elections by June 2022)

Tunisia Constitutional Referendum: July 25, 2022

Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Parliamentary Elections: September 30, 2022 (due – delays possible)

Israel Snap Parliamentary Elections: November 1, 2022

Bahrain Parliamentary Elections: November 2022 (due)

Kuwait Snap Parliamentary Elections: Date TBD

Tunisia Early Legislative Elections: December 17, 2022

Turkey Presidential and Legislative Elections: By June 18, 2023

Pakistan General Elections: By October 12, 2023

Israel Local Elections: October 2023

Oman Consultative Assembly Elections: October 2023

United Arab Emirates Federal National Council Elections: October 2023 (indirect elections, advisory body with limited powers)

Egypt Local Elections: Due and discussed, but not scheduled

Oman Local Elections: Due, but postponed due to COVID-19

Palestinian Authority Presidential and Legislative Elections: Long overdue, postponed yet again, no date set

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

Africa Elections Weekly News Review: June 20, 2022

June 20, 2022

A weekly review 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.

Lido Beach in Mogadishu, Somalia. Photo credit: Wikimedia/AMISOM Public Information (CC0 1.0)

Upcoming Africa Elections

Kenya General Elections: August 9, 2022

Kenya holds general elections on August 9, 2022. The last elections, in August 2017, were disputed, and the presidential poll was re-run in October 2017. President Uhuru Kenyatta won re-election after opposition leader Raila Odinga encouraged his supporters to boycott the re-run. Ironically, Kenyatta has endorsed Odinga for this year’s election, against William Ruto, who was formerly his anointed successor.

Kenyan politics is highly polarized with a strong ethnic component.

Because of the ongoing crises in neighboring Ethiopia and Somalia, Kenya plays an important role in the region. In addition, Kenya has been an important partner to the United States and other countries on counterterrorism.

Victor Abuso, The Africa Report (June 14, 2022): Kenya 2022 election: Ruto woos women voters to counter Raila’s running mate

Angola Presidential and Legislative Elections: August 24, 2022

Angola holds presidential and legislative elections on August 24, 2022. The country has not to date held free elections. The People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), a former armed group, has been in power since since independence in 1975. For 38 years, the MPLA’s José Eduardo Dos Santos ruled Angola with an iron fist. His regime engaged in rampant corruption and kleptocracy. Dos Santos’s successor, João Lourenço, has enacted some reforms and sought to curtail corruption, but many issues remain. Moreover, local elections (the country’s first) have been delayed repeatedly, at times sparking protests. The political climate remains tense.

However, MPLA’s vote share has been steadily decreasing with each successive election: it received 81 percent of the vote in 2008, 72 percent in 2012, and 61 percent in 2017. For the upcoming elections, the three main opposition parties will back a single presidential candidate: Adalberto Costa Junior, leader of UNITA, the main opposition party. There are hopes that this could pave the way for a more democratic future for Angola.

Angola is one of the biggest oil producers in Africa. More

Joseph Cotterill, Financial Times (June 16, 2022): Angola seizes stake in diamond miner: Move marks waning of Chinese influence in southern African nation

Nigeria General Elections: February 18, 2023

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, holds general elections on February 18, 2023, but some states are due to hold gubernatorial elections before that, including Ekiti and Osun states in 2022.

In addition, potential 2023 candidates have already begun jockeying for position. Since the return to civilian rule, vote-rigging and violence have plagued elections. While the 2015 polls – which handed the opposition its first-ever victory – were considered credible, international and Nigerian observers found that the 2019 polls fell short. The country is in the midst of several security crises.

Ebenezer Obadare, Council on Foreign Relations (June 23, 2022): APC Runs Into Headwinds as Christian Opposition to Muslim-Muslim Ticket Gains Traction in Nigeria: Presidential candidate faces a dilemma as religious factor threatens to undo campaign.

Foreign Policy (June 22, 2022): Nigeria’s All-Male Gerontocracy Won’t Go Away: Africa’s largest democracy systematically excludes women and young people from politics in a country where the median age is 18.

Gallup (June 21, 2022): Nigerians’ Confidence in Government Falls to Lowest in Africa

Peter Ajayi Dada, Catholic News Service (June 16, 2022): Nigerian bishops: Field election tickets with religious balance

Benedict Mayaki, SJ, Vatican News (June 15, 2022): Nigeria: Catholic Secretariat advises against same-religion ticket in upcoming elections

Zimbabwe General Elections: July 2023 (due)

Zimbabwe is due to hold general elections in July 2023. They will be the second since the 2017 coup that led to the fall of Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s longtime dictator, who left a legacy of gross economic mismanagement and political repression. Democracy continues to face many challenges in Zimbabwe, and the current president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, governs in an authoritarian, repressive manner.

Most recently, Zimbabwe held by-elections on March 26, 2022 to fill 28 parliamentary seats and 105 local seats. A new opposition party called the Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) won a majority of the seats up for election. CCC is led by Nelson Chamisa, who broke with Zimbabwe’s traditional opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) over internal politics. CCC won 19 parliamentary seats while the ruling ZANU-PF won nine.

However, many concerns remain about the fairness of the upcoming elections.

Farai Mutsaka, AP (June 14, 2022): Discovery of dismembered opposition member worries Zimbabwe

Democratic Republic of the Congo General Elections: December 2023 (due)

The DRC is due to hold general elections in 2023. These follow gubernatorial elections, which took place on May 6, 2022.

The December 2018 presidential and legislative elections, which took place after multiple delays, were mired in controversy and dispute. The election commission declared opposition leader Félix Tshisekedi the winner of the presidential poll, but the Catholic Church, which deployed 40,000 election observers and is a highly trusted institution in the country, said that their data indicated a victory for another opposition leader, Martin Fayulu.

When Kabila’s chosen successor, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, was polling too poorly for Kabila to credibly rig the election for him, Kabila cut a deal with Tshisekedi. The legislative elections – also highly disputed – produced a majority for Kabila’s coalition. Major opposition figures Moïse Katumbi and Jean-Pierre Bemba were barred from the polls and spent the election cycle outside the country, but both have returned.

The DRC faces severe political and security crises.

Chris Olaoluwa Ogunmodede, World Politics Review (June 17, 2022): Belgium’s King Followed the European Script for His Congo Visit

South Africa General Elections: May 2024 (due)

South Africa is due to hold general elections in May 2024.

Dubbed the “Rainbow Nation” by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South Africa inspired the world with its nonviolent transition from apartheid in 1994. Since the end of apartheid and the subsequent victory of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nelson Mandela, the African National Congress (ANC) has been South Africa’s dominant political party, winning every election since then.

However, in the local elections on November 1, 2021, which took place in the context of unrest following the imprisonment of former president Jacob Zuma for corruption, the ANC had its worst election result since the end of apartheid, gaining less than 50 percent of the vote.

As one of the biggest economies in Africa and the most powerful state in southern Africa, South Africa plays a major role in the politics and geopolitics of the continent.  More

Jason Burke, The Guardian (June 17, 2022): ‘Farmgate’ threatens Cyril Ramaphosa’s South Africa re-election bid: President is accused of trying to cover up theft of millions of US dollars hidden at his game farm

Mali Presidential and Legislative Elections: Delayed to December 2025

Mali had set presidential and legislative elections for February 27, 2022, following the August 2020 coup, but the interim government has proposed a delay to December 2025, sparking a backlash from neighboring countries and the international community.

In the coup, soldiers removed President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta (who has since died at age 76, having been in poor health for years), dissolved parliament (which had just been elected in April, in elections marred by fraud and intimidation) and established a transitional government.

Baba Ahmed, AP (June 25, 2022): Mali junta paves way for elections with new law

Jennifer Peltz, AP (June 19, 2022): Russia-West tensions inflame UN debate on Mali peacekeepers

Annie Risemberg, Voice of America (June 15, 2022): Under Military Rule, Violence Rises in Mali, Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso Elections: TBD, following coup

Burkina Faso is set to hold elections at some point in the future following the recent coup.

On January 24, 2022, a group of soldiers detained President Roch Marc Christian Kabore, dissolved the legislature, and declared that a military junta would control the country moving forward. Subsequently, coup leader Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba was sworn in as president.

This coup (which follows coups in nearby Guinea, Chad, and Mali) plunges the country’s political future into even greater uncertainty. Burkina Faso avoided an earlier coup attempt, and some analysts believed that a successful coup was only a matter of time given simmering discontent with Kabore’s handling of the jihadist threat and other issues.

Captain Sidsore Kaber Ouedraogo of the Patriotic Movement for Safeguarding and Restoration (the name the junta has given itself) says new elections will take place in the future, but has not specified a date. 

Africanews with AFP (June 22, 2022): Burkina junta leader holds talks with overthrown president

Africanews with AFP (June 21, 2022): Burkina’s junta announces military zones, forbids entry

Al Jazeera (June 18, 2022): State controls just 60 percent of Burkina Faso: ECOWAS mediator: Recent killing of 89 people in the northern village of Seytenga was one of the worst massacres in the country’s history.

Rachel Chason and Borso Tall, Washington Post (June 16, 2022): Burkina Faso massacre highlights a strengthening insurgency

Sam Mednick, AP (June 13, 2022): Jihadi attacks mount in Burkina Faso despite junta’s efforts

Past Africa Elections

Somalia, Indirect Presidential Election: May 15, 2022

Somalia finally held its long-delayed presidential election on May 15, 2022. Former president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who served from 2012 to 2017 before losing re-election, was elected, defeating incumbent Mohamed “Farmaajo.”

The Horn of Africa country does not hold direct elections, but rather holds indirect elections in a clan-based system. The elections were delayed, and Farmaajo remained in office beyond the end of his term, which created a political and constitutional crisis. In April 2021, Farmaajo sought to extend his term for two years, but parliament voted to reject the extension.

An ongoing conflict between Farmaajo and Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble and continual election delays exacerbated the country’s instability. Legislative elections have finally concluded after a slow, delay-ridden process, with the new lawmakers sworn in April. A new date has not been set for the presidential election, but the International Monetary Fund has set May 17 as the deadline, or else Somalia will stop receiving budget support.

Abdulkadir Khalif, The East African (June 18, 2022): Somalia President picks like-minded Prime Minister designate from the ‘hostile’ Jubbaland

Africanews with AFP (June 16, 2022): Somalia’s President appoints lawmaker Hamza Abdi Barre as PM

Africa Elections Coming Up in 2022 and 2023

Senegal Legislative Elections: July 31, 2022

Republic of Congo Legislative Elections: July 10, 2022

Kenya Presidential and Legislative Elections: August 9, 2022

Angola Presidential and Legislative Elections: August 24, 2022

Lesotho Parliamentary Elections: September 2022

Central African Republic Local Elections: September 2022 (delayed – no new date set)

Sao Tome and Principe Legislative Elections: October 2022 (due)

Somaliland Presidential Election: November 13, 2022

Equatorial Guinea Legislative and Local Elections: November 2022 (due)

Chad General Elections: By December 2022 (tentative, post-coup)

Guinea-Bissau Snap Parliamentary Elections: By the end of 2022

Nigeria General Elections: February 18, 2023

Djibouti Legislative Elections: February 2023

Nigeria Gubernatorial Elections in Most States: March 2023 (due)

South Sudan General Elections: By March 2023 (tentative)

Sierra Leone Presidential Election: June 24, 2023

Zimbabwe General Elections: July 2023

Eswatini Parliamentary Elections: August 2023 (due)

Gabon Presidential Election: August 2023 (due)

Mauritania Parliamentary Elections: September 2023 (due)

Gabon Legislative Elections: October 2023 (due)

Liberia Presidential and Legislative Elections: October 2023 (due)

Nigeria, Gubernatorial Elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States: November 2023 (due)

Madagascar Presidential Election: November 2023 (due)

Democratic Republic of the Congo Presidential and Legislative Elections: December 2023 (due)

Togo Legislative and Regional Elections: December 2023 (due)

Côte d’Ivoire Local Elections: 2023

Mali Presidential and Legislative Elections: TBD, following coup

Burkina Faso Elections: TBD, following coup

Guinea Elections: TBD, following coup

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

Americas Elections Weekly News Review: June 18, 2022

June 18, 2022

A weekly review 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.

The fortress of San Felipe de Barajas in Cartagena, Colombia. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Martin St-Amant (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Upcoming Americas Elections

Colombia Presidential Runoff: June 19, 2022

Colombia held the first round of its presidential election on May 29. Leftist former guerrilla Gustavo Petro took first place and will face populist real estate mogul Rodolfo Hernández in the runoff, who took second place in an upset as conservative Federico Gutiérrez was widely expected to advance. For a while, Petro was seen as the favorite, but more recent polls show the result is far from preordained.

No party won a majority in the legislative elections and centrists did not perform well, exacerbating the country’s polarization.

If Petro wins in May, he will be Colombia’s first leftist president. This election follows recent leftist victories in Honduras, Chile, Peru, and Bolivia and comes ahead of Brazil’s highly polarized election, which leftist former president Lula da Silva is the favorite to win. Some have warned that Russia has been sowing disinformation in support of Petro’s candidacy, hoping that he would be hostile to the United States.

AFP (June 18, 2022): From the streets to the polls, the enigma of Colombia’s abstaining youth

Colm Quinn, Foreign Policy (June 17, 2022): Colombia Decides: Both candidates vow to bring the country in a new direction—away from its traditional political establishment

John Otis, NPR (June 15, 2022): After Colombia’s election surprise, a populist TikTok star poses stiff competition

Luis Jaime Acosta, Reuters (June 14, 2022): Petro’s call for change in Colombia rattles armed forces

Americas Elections Coming Up in 2022 and 2023

Colombia Presidential Runoff: June 19, 2022

Grenada General Elections: June 23, 2022

Canada, Resort Village Elections in Manitoba: July 22, 2022

Saint Kitts and Nevis Snap Elections: By August 2022

Chile Constitutional Referendum: September 4, 2022

Brazil General Elections (Presidential, Legislative, State, and Local): October 2, 2022

Peru Local and Regional Elections: October 2, 2022

Canada: Local Elections in Ontario: October 24, 2022

Canada: Local Elections in Manitoba: October 26, 2022

Canada: Local Elections in Prince Edward Island: November 7, 2022

Canada: Local Elections in Saskatchewan: November 9, 2022 (Rural Municipalities – even number divisions)

Canada: Local Elections in Northwest Territories: December 12, 2022

Guyana Local Elections: Overdue (date not set yet – preparations being made)

Ecuador Regional Elections: February 5, 2023

Jamaica Local Elections: By February 2023

Grenada General Elections: By March 2023 (due)

Paraguay Presidential and Legislative Elections: April 2023

Guatemala General Elections: June 2023 (expected)

Guatemala General Election Runoffs: August 2023 (expected)

Argentina Presidential and Legislative Elections: October or November 2023 (due)

Antigua and Barbuda General Elections: By 2023

Haiti Presidential and Legislative Elections: Delayed from November 7, 2021, no new date set

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

Asia Elections Weekly News Review: June 17, 2022

June 17, 2022

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

Himeji Castle in Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan, dating to 1333. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Bernard Gagnon (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Upcoming Asia/Pacific Elections

Japan House of Councillors Elections: July 10, 2022 (half of upper house at stake)

Japan holds elections for half of the House of Councillors, the upper house of the bicameral parliament, on July 10, 2022. These follow general elections that took placeon October 31, a bit earlier than the November deadline. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which has dominated Japanese politics since 1955, won another term in office, despite somewhat decreased approval ratings in recent months. Former foreign minister Fumio Kishida, who won the LDP’s pre-election leadership contest after former prime minister Yoshihide Suga decided not to run for re-election, was thus elected prime minister.

The upper house elections are important because a win for LDP would bring more political stability and reduce the chances of snap general elections.

Much of the bigger political debate is focused on Japan’s global role and military power. For centuries, Japan was a great power, but it adopted a pacifist constitution following World War II. As a U.S. ally and democracy, Japan plays a key role in the region, and increasingly in world affairs.

Kyodo News (June 16, 2022): Japan ruling party vows to boost nation’s defense in election pledges

Kyodo News (June 15, 2022): Fumio Kishida to be 1st Japan leader to attend NATO summit

Titli Basu, The Diplomat (June 13, 2022): Kishida Vision for Peace: Japan’s Global Leadership Gambit: Is Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio proving to be as consequential a global statesman as his former boss, Abe Shinzo?

Stratfor (June 13, 2022): In the Face of Growing Threats, Japan Ramps Up Defense Spending

Saibal Dasgupta, Voice of America (June 10, 2022): Japan’s Kishida Vows Expanded Security Role in Asia

Mike Yeo, Defense News (June 10, 2022): Japan to continue increasing defense spending over next five years

India Presidential Election (by Parliament): July 18, 2022

India’s parliament will vote for a president on July 18, 2022, but in India’s parliamentary system, this largely a ceremonial role.

In the last parliamentary elections, in 2019, Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party won a “thumping victory, securing a second term in office in an increasingly polarized political climate. The main opposition social democratic Congress Party – India’s oldest party – has done well some subsequent state elections. The next general elections are due in 2024, and a number of states hold elections between now and then. State elections matter because much of policymaking happens at the state level.

While India was nonaligned during the Cold War, it has recently ramped up its competition with China and moved closer to other democratic powers, including forming the Quad security dialogue with the United States, Australia, and Japan.

Arun Sharma, Indian Express (June 18, 2022): There’s strong possibility of J&K polls by the end of this year: Rajnath

PTI (June 15, 2022): Indian Presidential election 2022 | Nomination process begins

Nepal General Elections: Possibly in 2022

Several sets of elections could happen in Nepal within the next year. Local elections took place on May 13, 2022.

Nepal’s politics remain turbulent following the 1996-2006 civil war waged by Maoists. The main political factions are the various Maoist parties, which tend to lean toward China geopolitically, and the social democratic Nepali Congress, which tends to lean toward India. Congress currently heads the national government.

Nepal had planned to hold snap elections for the lower house in November 2021, following a protracted political crisis, but now the snap elections have been cancelled, and the current thinking is that the parliamentary elections will take place when they are due in 2023.

In the local elections, the ruling Congress alliance won the most seats. However, rapper (and structural engineer) Balendra “Balen” Shah won the mayoral race in Kathmandu, the first-ever independent candidate to do so.

Nepal sits in the strategically-important Himalayas, and is a focus of competition between India and China. Although former prime minister KP Sharma Oli brought Nepal closer to China, his replacement, Sher Bahadur Deuba, who assumed office in July 2021, is seen as favoring closer ties to India. More

Chandra D. Bhatta, Observer Research Foundation (June 15, 2022): Nepal’s political and economic transition: In the face of growing domestic turmoil, how will Nepal manage geopolitical challenges that are brewing in the region?

Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu Post (June 15, 2022): Poll body eyeing general, provincial elections in November in one phase

Nihar K. Nayak, Annapurna Express (June 12, 2022): China’s new troubles in Nepal

Fiji Parliamentary Elections: By January 2023 (earlier elections possible)

Fiji must hold parliamentary elections by January 2023, but the election could be called earlier. In 2006, Josaia Voreqe “Frank” Bainimarama seized power in a coup. Since then, the country has held several sets of elections that Bainimarama has won. Despite concerns about media freedom and political space for the opposition, some observers have deemed the elections credible – Bainimarama has at least brought political stability, making him popular with many Fijians.

Meanwhile, as with many Pacific nations, China has been ramping up its presence in Fiji.

Marian Faa, ABC News Australia (June 16, 2022): Fiji’s former coup leaders Frank Bainimarama and Sitiveni Rabuka to face off in tense election battle

Burma Parliamentary Elections: By August 2023 (proposed – tentative, post-coup)

Burma, also called Myanmar, held general elections on November 8, 2020. Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) won in a landslide. However, on February 1, the military staged a coup, claiming election fraud (despite a lack of evidence). Protests against the coup continue. The military claims it will hold new elections by 2023.

Burma is of geopolitical importance because of its location on the Indian Ocean. China has sought to cultivate ties in order to get more access to the Indian Ocean, and simultaneously, western governments have at times pursued warmer relations with the regime.

The Irrawaddy (June 17, 2022): Myanmar Unites in Demand to Spare Pro-Democracy Leaders

Radio Free Asia (June 16, 2022): Political prisoner executions would backfire on Myanmar junta, say analysts

David Hutt, Asia Times (June 15, 2022): Shadow Myanmar government gaining European friends: Democracies asked to arm anti-junta defense forces the way support has been proactively offered to Ukraine

Lisa Zengarini, Vatican News (June 15, 2022): Myanmar’s Bishops call for respect of human life in ongoing conflict

AFP (June 13, 2022): ‘No Chance’ Myanmar Polls Will Be Free and Fair: US Official

Maldives Presidential Election: September 2023 (due)

Maldives is due to hold a presidential election in September 2023. The idyllic archipelago was under a brutal dictatorship for decades, but began a remarkable transition to democracy in 2008. The road to democracy has been somewhat rocky, but Maldivian democrats persevere.

The country, in the strategically-important Indian Ocean, has been part of geopolitical competition between India and the democratic world on the one hand and China on the other hand.

N. Sathiya Moorthy, Observer Research Foundation (June 13, 2022): Maldives: Solih declares re-election bid

Indonesia Presidential and Legislative Elections: February 14, 2024 and Provincial Elections: November 27, 2024

Indonesia has scheduled presidential and legislative elections for February 14, 2024, followed by provincial elections on November 27, 2024, ending speculation that President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) would seek to delay the election and extend his term.

In Indonesia’s April 2019 elections – the biggest single day of voting in the history of the world – Joko Widodo (Jokowi), widely seen as a reformer, was re-elected, defeating challenger Prabowo Subianto. 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 politics

As researcher Evan A. Laksmana notes: “Indonesia could tilt the strategic balance in the Indo-Pacific. It’s the largest archipelagic state in the world and sits at the heart of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The country’s growing economic power, tradition of regional leadership, and control over critical sea lanes seem to predestine it to be a strategic fulcrum in the era of U.S.-Chinese great-power competition.” However, Indonesia has not yet taken a side, instead maintaining “pragmatic equidistance” between the U.S. and China. More

Channel News Asia (June 15, 2022): Indonesia’s Jokowi reshuffles Cabinet for the third time in his current term

Erwida Maulia, Nikkei Asia (June 14, 2022): Indonesia kicks off process of electing new president: Central Java governor tops latest surveys in vote slated for February 2024

NHK (June 14, 2022): Indonesia kicks off preparations for 2024 election

Past Asia/Pacific Elections

Cambodia Local Elections: June 5, 2022 and Parliamentary Elections: July 2023 (due)

Cambodia held local elections on June 5, 2022 and is due to hold general elections in 2023. Although Cambodia has held elections in the past that have had some element of competition, the 2018 elections – neither free nor fair – signified the closing of Cambodia’s political space. They have been called “the death of democracy.”

The main pro-democracy opposition, Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP), was dissolved and banned from fielding candidates, and its leader, Sam Rainsy, was sent into exile, so its supporters boycotted the polls, resulting in the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) taking 58 out of 62 seats in parliament, and allowing Prime Minister Hun Sen to consolidate even more power while extending his three decades in power.

However, in early 2022, the opposition began gaining ground, reorganizing itself into the Candlelight Party. In the June local elections, the party made some gains, winning around 22 percent of the vote. Opposition activists hope that will translate into a stronger result in the 2023 elections.

Chanrith Ngin, Fulcrum Singapore (June 16, 2022): Having it Both Ways? Cambodia’s Superpower Balancing Act

Radio Free Asia (June 16, 2022): Split between opposition leaders could solidify Hun Sen’s rule in Cambodia

AFP (June 16, 2022): US: Mass Conviction Is Latest ‘Alarming’ Action by Cambodia

Sam Rainsy, The Diplomat (June 15, 2022): Cambodia’s Local Elections Have Ended Hun Sen’s One-Party System

Andrew Nachemson, Foreign Policy (June 15, 2022): Hun Sen Stands in the Way of His Own Succession Plan: Cambodia’s prime minister has outmaneuvered political opponents and groomed his oldest son for power, but does he know when to walk away?

Sopheng Cheang, AP (June 15, 2022): Cambodian ruling party sues politician for criticizing vote

AFP (June 14, 2022): Cambodia convicts opposition figures in mass trial

South Korea Local Elections: June 1, 2022, following Presidential Election: March 9, 2022

South Korea held local elections on June 1. These follow the March presidential election, which conservative Yook Seol-yeol former prosecutor general won. He narrowly defeated Lee Jae-myung from the Democratic Party, the center-left party of incumbent Moon Jae-in. The campaign was nasty and neither major candidate is particularly popular with voters or with his respective party – both won their primaries narrowly. The conservatives also won the local elections.

South Korea is a key United States ally, and the South Korean public broadly supports the alliance. However, Moon has pursued diplomatic and economic engagement with North Korea and moved closer to China. This appears to be changing under Yoon.

Yosuke Onchi, Nikkei Asia (June 16, 2022): South Korea opposition wars with itself after local elections: Democratic Party’s dismal performance provokes hope for political realignment

Daniel Sneider, East Asia Forum (June 13, 2022): Yoon’s election is a strategic boon for Biden

Australia Parliamentary Elections: May 21, 2022

Australia held federal parliamentary elections on May 21, 2022. Following the elections, Labor, under the leadership of Anthony Albanese, came back into power after nine years in opposition, defeating Scott Morrison’s center-right Liberal Party

Much of the debate focused on China’s growing presence in the Pacific, including a potential base in the Solomon Islands, which are very close to Australia. More

Rod McGuirk, AP (June 17, 2022): Australian minister visits Solomons to counter China

Rod McGuirk, AP (June 12, 2022): China’s envoy to Australia says 2 nations at ‘new juncture’

Philippines General Elections (Presidential, Legislative, and Local): May 9, 2022

Philippines held general elections on May 9, 2022. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., son of the notorious late former dictator, won in a landslide, raising concerns about the future of democracy in the country. Although liberal forces, led by Vice President Leni Robredo, put in a valiant effort, Marcos prevailed, returning his family to power.

This follows the 2016 victory of populist firebrand Rodrigo Duterte, who subsequently governed with an iron fist. Though Philippines presidents cannot run for a second term, critics feared that he would seek to consolidate illiberalism. His daughter, Sara Duterte, won the 2022 vice presidential election.

The Marcos family ruled the country for 21 years (including 14 years under martial law), and fell in the 1986 People Power Revolution. Nonetheless, since then, political dynasties have remained a potent force in Philippines politics.

While the Philippines lacks significant hard power, it is located in a geopolitically crucial area. The country has been a key U.S. ally since World War II, but Duterte flirted with moves to bring the Philippines closer to China and away from the United States during his tenure in office. However, the country has ultimately kept the defense pact with the U.S. in tact.

Michael E. Miller and Regine Cabato, Washington Post (June 16, 2022): As a dictator’s son rises to power, disinformation fractures Filipino families

Regional

Patricia O’Brien, The Diplomat (June 14, 2022): China’s Pacific Push Is Already Remaking the Region: After a whirlwind of visits and agreements, where does the Pacific region stand?

Asia/Pacific Elections Coming Up in 2022 and 2023

Japan House of Councillors Elections: July 10, 2022 (half of upper house at stake)

Papua New Guinea Parliamentary and Local Elections: Beginning July 16, 2022 (delayed following death of deputy prime minister)

India Presidential Election (by parliament): July 18, 2022

Vanuatu Presidential Election: July 2022 (due – indirect election, largely ceremonial role)

Australia, Tasmania State Elections: By Mid-2022

Nauru Parliamentary Elections: August 2022 (due)

Japan, Gubernatorial Election in Okinawa: September 2022 (due)

New Zealand Local Elections: October 2022 (due)

Fiji Parliamentary Elections: November 2022 (due)

Taiwan Local Elections: November 26, 2022

India, State Elections in Himachal Pradesh: November 2022 (due)

Australia, South Australia Local Elections; November 11, 2022

Australia, Victoria State Elections: November 26, 2022

India, State Elections in Gujarat: December 2022 (due)

India, State Elections in Tripura, Meghalaya, and Nagaland: February 2023 (due)

Thailand General Elections: By March 23, 2023 (earlier elections possible)

Australia, New South Wales State Elections: March 25, 2023

Micronesia Parliamentary Elections: March 2023

Malaysia General Elections and State Elections: May 2023 (due – general elections likely to be called earlier)

India, State Elections in Karnataka: May 2023 (due)

Cambodia Parliamentary Elections: July 30, 2023 (due)

Burma Parliamentary Elections: By August 2023 (proposed – tentative, post-coup)

Maldives Presidential Election: September 2023 (due)

Tuvalu General Elections: September 2023 (due)

Singapore Presidential Election: September 2023 (expected – largely ceremonial role)

New Zealand General Elections: October 2023 (expected – due by January 2024)

Bhutan Parliamentary Elections: October 2023 (due)

India, State Elections in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Mizoram: November 2023 (due)

Bangladesh Parliamentary Elections: December 2023 (due)

India, State Elections in Rajasthan and Telangana: December 2023 (due)

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.

Eurasia

Eurasia Elections Weekly News Review: June 16, 2022

June 16, 2022

A weekly review of news and analysis of elections in Eurasia, usually posted on Thursdays and occasionally updated throughout the week. For a full electoral calendar and interactive map, click here.

The old citadel of Shymkent, Kazakhstan. Photo credit: Wikimedia/TheGreatSteppe (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Upcoming Eurasia Elections

Russia Regional Elections (some regions): September 11, 2022 (due)

Russia is due to hold regional and gubernatorial elections in some regions in September 2022. Because Russia staggers its regional elections, each year has some scheduled. However, the Kremlin has indicated that the elections due this year may not take place.

Russian elections are neither free nor fair. Nonetheless, the opposition has been making some gains in recent regional elections, helped by opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s “Smart Vote,” a campaign of tactical voting, in which they developed a list of candidates the best chance of beating Vladimir Putin’s United Russia.

Consequently, the Kremlin is waging a brutal crackdown on the opposition, including imprisoning Navalny. Candidates who have worked with Navalny or supported him were banned from the election. Only one genuine opposition party – the liberal Yabloko – was able to field candidates in last year’s Duma elections. Navalny himself is in prison and recently received an additional nine years on top of his prior two and a half year sentence. More

Lexi Lonas, The Hill (June 14, 2022): Navalny transferred to unknown location, spokesperson says

Meduza (June 13, 2022): ‘In Moscow, we’re the majority’ Opposition politician Ilya Yashin is still in Russia and still speaking out. So far, he’s stayed out of prison

Ukraine Parliamentary Elections: By October 2023 and Presidential Election: By March 2024

Ukraine is due to hold parliamentary elections in 2023 and a presidential election in 2024.

In the last presidential vote, in 2019, actor and comedian Volodymyr Zelenskyy beat incumbent Petro Poroshenko running on an anti-establishment platform. However, since then, the country’s traditional pro-Europe and pro-Moscow political forces have regained ground. Since the invasion, Ukrainians have rallied around Zelenskyy, but the United Kingdom and others have warned that Russia seeks to topple his government and install a pro-Moscow puppet regime.

Russia’s military aggression, which began in 2014, continues. Russia began a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. While Russia had perhaps expected that Ukraine’s government would collapse quickly, it has held. Moreover, most of Ukraine’s political factions have rallied behind Zelenskyy, with former rivals Yulia Tymoshenko and Petro Poroshenko (recently released from prison) posing for photos with him. Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) has met in its chamber, with members singing the national anthem. Most if not all members of the Rada have remained in Ukraine, either to continue to carry out their legislative duties or to fight with the military.

Joshua D. Zimmerman, Washington Post (June 13, 2022): Ukrainians have fought for independence for more than a century: The stubborn reality thwarting Vladimir Putin’s fictions

Giulia Carbonaro, Newsweek (June 13, 2022): Putin’s Former PM Warns: If Ukraine Falls, Baltics Are Next

Stephen Wertheim, The Atlantic (June 11, 2022): The One Key Word Biden Needs to Invoke on Ukraine: He should call it a fight not for democracy but for sovereignty

Georgia Parliamentary Elections: October 2024 (due – snap elections possible)

Georgia is due to hold parliamentary elections in October 2024, but snap elections could happen. The October 2021 local elections took place in a tense political climate, exacerbated by the arrest of former president Mikheil Saakashvili upon his return to the country on the eve of the vote. Runoffs took place on October 30, including for the important role of mayor of Tbilisi, which the ruling Georgian Dream party failed to win in the first round. Ultimately, Georgian Dream did win the second round amid criticism from the opposition. The opposition has been calling for new elections since October 2020’s parliamentary polls, due to claims of fraud. International observers noted significant flaws in the elections, and observed that there were issues with public confidence in the polls.

Georgian Dream, a coalition founded by eccentric and Kremlin-connected oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili, came to power during the 2012 parliamentary elections, ousting Saakasvili’s pro-European, pro-NATO United National Movement. Despite Ivanishvili’s Kremlin ties, Georgian Dream has continued some of Georgia’s steps toward Euro-Atlantic integration, including applying for EU membership.

Civil.ge (June 16, 2022): President Urged to Veto Controversial Surveillance Law

JAMnews (June 14, 2022): Poll: Pro-government media amplify anti-Western narrative in Georgia

Past Eurasia Elections

Kazakhstan Constitutional Referendum: June 5, 2022

Kazakhstan held a constitutional referendum on June 5, 2022 in response to a series of protests in January 2022 that rocked the country and left as many as 225 people dead, as well as a reported 12,000 people in detention.

Voters chose overwhelmingly to adopt a package of 33 reforms to the constitution (about one-third of the current constitution). President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev (who called the protesters “terrorists”), claims that the reforms will transform Kazakhstsan from a super-presidential system to a “presidential system with a strong parliament.”

Central Asia expert Colleen Wood writes: “The proposed reforms are important steps toward real representative government in Kazakhstan; however, they do not necessarily constitute forward movement. Many of the amendments are simply reinstating mechanisms of checks on presidential power that previously existed, rather than materially changing the relationship between state and society, as Tokayev claims.”

Kazakhstan is an authoritarian state. Elections take place in the context of an authoritarian system in which critics of the government face harassment and arrest. As such, no genuine opposition has representation in the legislature. More

Catherine Putz, The Diplomat (June 14, 2022): Is There Room in ‘New Kazakhstan’ For New Political Parties? The troubles of Zhanbolat Mamai make it clear that Kazakh authorities have little interest in genuine political competition

Human Rights Watch (June 13, 2022): Kazakhstan: Opposition Politician Could Face 10-Year Sentence

Kyrgyzstan Parliamentary Elections Take 2: November 28, 2021

Kyrgyzstan held parliamentary elections on November 28, 2021 – a re-run of the parliamentary elections that took place in October 2020. Those elections and allegations of fraud led to political turmoil, followed by a snap presidential election in January 2021 and a constitutional referendum (alongside local elections) in April 2021. The new constitution, which passed, grants the president vastly expanded powers. Its critics have dubbed it the “Khanstitution.” The political climate was tense heading into the October 2020 parliamentary elections. It subsequently exploded following said elections. More

RFE/RL (June 16, 2022): Court In Bishkek Acquits Jailed Former Kyrgyz President Atambaev In Two Cases

Belarus Constitutional Referendum: February 27, 2022

Belarus’s dictator, Alexander Lukashenko, held a constitutional referendum on February 27, 2022 as a way of extending his time in power (he has been president since 1994 – the first and only president of post-Soviet Belarus). The changes allow Lukashenko to remain in office until 2035 and scrap Belarus’s non-nuclear status. Belarus’s elections and political processes are neither free nor fair.

The country las held a presidential election on August 9, 2020. In a vote widely deemed not free and not fair, Lukashenko declared victory. However, the opposition declared that Svetlana Tikhanovskaya had in fact won. Hundreds of thousands of Belarusians have taken to the streets in protest to demand free and fair elections, even in the face of assault and arrest by security forces. Protests and political defiance continue. 

In addition, Russia staged troops in Belarus ahead of its invasion of Ukraine. More

David Brennan, Newsweek (June 13, 2022): Putin’s Ally Lukashenko Faces ‘Last Fight’ in Belarus: Opposition Leader

Eurasia Elections Coming Up in 2022 and 2023

Russia Regional Elections (some regions): September 11, 2022 (due)

Turkmenistan Parliamentary and Local Elections: March 2023 (due)

Moldova Local Elections: October 2023 (due)

Ukraine Parliamentary Elections: By October 29, 2023 (due)

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.