Americas this week July 24 2021

July 24, 2021

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.

Protesters in Havana, Cuba, which saw the biggest anti-regime protests in decades this month. Photo credit: Wikimedia/14yrmedio (CC BY 3.0)

Upcoming Americas Elections

Saint Lucia Parliamentary Elections: July 26, 2021

Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia, a democracy with competitive elections and regular transfers of power, has scheduled general elections for July 26, after a slight delay due to COVID-19. The two main parties are the center-right United Workers Party, led by Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, and the main opposition social democratic Saint Lucia Labour Party. More

Jamaica Gleaner (July 24, 2021): Commonwealth group begins observation of elections in St Lucia

Haiti Parliamentary and Presidential Elections: September 26, 2021 (delays possible)

Haiti’s political crisis went into overdrive on July 7 with the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. Moïse had been governing by decree for over a year and stood accused by many of attempting to consolidate power through a controversial constitutional change (Moïse ultimately postponed the referendum.

Allegations of fraud followed Haiti’s presidential 2015 election, sparking a political crisis that remains ongoing. Some have called for the upcoming elections to be delayed.

Anthony Faiola, Washington Post (July 23, 2021): Haiti buries a president, but its long-term crisis lives on

Oliver Stuenkel, Carnegie Endowment (July 21, 2021): Haitians Should Be at the Center of Rebuilding Their Country

AFP (July 21, 2021): Haiti’s opposition, civil society distance themselves from new PM

Kejal Vyas and Juan Montes, Wall Street Journal (July 21, 2021): Haiti Inaugurates New Leader Two Weeks After President’s Assassination: Prime Minister Ariel Henry says his main goal is to organize elections to take place in 120 days; ‘I’m not afraid’

AP (July 19, 2021): New Haiti Leader With International Backing to Take Charge: Haiti’s elections minister says that interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph will step down in the wake of the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moise.

Nicaragua General Elections: November 7, 2021

Nicaragua holds general elections on November 7, 2021. President Daniel Ortega, who has been in power for 20 years, will seek another term, and under his rule, Nicaragua has become increasingly authoritarian, with rule of law and fundamental freedoms under assault.

Several opposition candidates have been arrested, including Cristiana Chamorro, seen by many as the opposition’s best chance of ousting Ortega (in fact, her mother, Violeta Chamorro, beat Ortega in the 1990 election, becoming Nicaragua’s first – and to date only – female president and ending 11 years of Sandinista rule).

DW (July 25, 2021): Nicaragua: Another presidential contender arrested ahead of election: Opposition leader Noel Vidaurre became the seventh potential candidate to be arrested by President Daniel Ortega’s government ahead of Nicaragua’s November 7 election.

AFP (July 20, 2021): Nicaragua’s under-fire Ortega seeking fourth term in a row

AP (July 19, 2021): Nicaragua marks 1979 revolution date with opponents jailed

Argentina Provincial Elections Midterm Legislative Elections: November 14, 2021 (postponed from October)

Argentina is due to hold midterm legislative elections this fall, along with a few sets of provincial elections. Although most of the country’s 23 provinces hold their elections at the same time as presidential elections (which last took place in 2019 and are due again in 2023), a few are due to hold elections this year.

Argentina’s 2021 elections – both provincial and legislative – are happening in the context of an economic crisis, which the leftist government and COVID-19 have exacerbated. In the 2019 presidential election, Peronist Alberto Fernández defeated center-right incumbent Mauricio Macri (the first defeat for an Argentine incumbent president), running on a ticket with populist firebrand Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who served as president from 2007 to 2015. Kirchner herself did not run for president because she was facing criminal charges related to misconduct during her time in office. Frente de Todos, the party formed by Kirchner and Fernández, currently holds a majority in the Senate and is the biggest party in the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house.

Rio Times (July 22, 2021): Argentine opposition and ruling party finalize lists of candidates for primary elections

Chile Presidential and Legislative Elections: November 21, 2021

Chile holds presidential and legislative elections in November, following presidential primaries on July 18 that produced surprise results ). These elections follow the May 2021 local elections, and importantly, elections to the Constitutional Assembly. The results of the primaries indicate that voters seem to want a return to moderation.

Incumbent president Sebastian Pinera, from the center-right Chile Vamos coalition, is not running for another term. He currently has low approval ratings, posing a challenge for his party’s candidate (who will be chosen in the July primary election). Moreover, the conservatives failed to secure even one third of the Constitutional Assembly. In the July 18 presidential primaries, center-right Sebastian Sichel prevailed over candidates who were both more established and more to the right. Similarly, on the left, communist Daniel Jadue, a darling of the international left-wing commentariat, lost to Gabriel Boric, a socialist former student leader.

These elections are taking place in the context of a year of protests and riots, including violent looting, arson, and vandalism. Furthermore, an intense debate over the new constitution continues. More

Matthew Malinowski and Valentina Fuentes, Bloomberg (July 23, 2021): Center-Left Candidate Jumps Into Chile Presidential Race

Frida Ghitis, World Politics Review (July 22, 2021): Chile’s Voters Tack Back to the Center

MercoPress (July 19, 2021): Underdogs emerge triumphant from Chile’s primary elections

Venezuela Regional and Local Elections: November 21, 2021

Venezuela has scheduled regional and local elections for November 21, 2021. In December 2020, Venezuela held legislative elections despite members of the opposition and international community calling for a delay in order to ensure credible, fair elections. Ultimately, most of the opposition boycotted; however, opposition parties appear willing to participate in the elections this year.

Reuters (July 25, 2021): Venezuela’s Maduro aims for dialogue with opposition in August

Drew Agren, Catholic News Service (July 23, 2021): Vatican official’s call for serious negotiations in Venezuela draws rebuke

Alex Vasquez, Bloomberg (July 23, 2021): Venezuela’s Opposition Is Open to New Round of Political Talks

Al Jazeera (July 20, 2021): UK government backs Guaido in Venezuela gold dispute: Release of nearly $2bn Venezuelan gold held by Bank of England hinges on who London recognises as the country’s leader.

Colombia Legislative Elections: March 13, 2022 and Presidential Election: May 29, 2022

Colombia is due to hold presidential and legislative elections in spring 2022. Conservative Ivan Duque, elected president in 2018, is constitutionally barred from running for re-election. One of the frontrunners to replace him is former left-wing guerilla Gustavo Petro, who placed second in 2018. The country has been rocked by riots in recent weeks. The proximate cause was a tax bill, but the protests have grown – and grown violent – and dozens have died. 

Al Jazeera (July 22, 2021): Colombian authorities say ex-FARC behind recent Duque attack: Authorities say they arrested 10 former Colombian FARC rebels based in Venezuela responsible for two attacks last month.

Anderson Tepper, New York Times (July 22, 2021): ‘A Storm Waiting to Happen’: A Colombian Writer Watches His Home From Afar

AFP (July 20, 2021): Thousands protest as Colombia gov’t submits new tax reform plan

Inés San Martin, Crux (July 20, 2021): Latam bishops face unrest and division in Cuba, Colombia and Nicaragua

Brazil Presidential and Legislative Elections: October 2, 2022

Brazil holds general elections in October 2022. Jair Bolsonaro, the right-wing populist firebrand president, is up for re-election. Former president Lula da Silva, himself a populist firebrand of the left-wing variety, will run against him. The country remains deeply polarized between right and left, although some are searching for a third candidate to challenge both Bolsonaro and Lula. More

Reuters (July 24, 2021): Brazilian protesters call for impeachment of Bolsonaro for 2nd time in a month

Terrence McCoy and Gabriela Sá Pessoa, Washington Post (July 23, 2021): Bolsonaro once said he’d stage a military takeover. Now Brazilians fear he could be laying the foundation for one.

Tom Phillips, The Guardian (July 23, 2021): Angry Brazilians dress as reptiles for their Covid jabs to mock Bolsonaro

Gabriel Stargardter and Lisandra Paraguassu, Reuters (July 22, 2021): ‘No banana republic’: Brazil’s politicos guarantee 2022 vote after bombshell story

Bryan Harris, Financial Times (July 19, 2021): Lula keeps policies a mystery on Brazil comeback trail: Former two-term president has emerged as serious challenger to Bolsonaro

Canada Parliamentary Elections: By October 16, 2023 (snap elections possible)

Canada is not due to hold federal elections until 2023, but snap elections could happen if the opposition manages to oust PM Justin Trudeau’s Liberal minority government in a vote of no confidence. Meanwhile, a number of provinces are holding elections this year.

Nick Taylor-Vaisey, Politico (July 21, 2021): All the reasons Trudeau should think twice about an election

Cuba Protests: July 2021

Cuba is run by a repressive communist regime. Although the country technically holds elections (the next parliamentary elections are due in 2023), they are neither free nor fair, and have been rigged to as to be unable to result in a change in government. However, in July 2021, Cubans began protesting in numbers not seen in over 30 years, calling for freedom.

Martha Kelner, Sky News (July 25, 2021): Cuba protests: More than 500 people still missing two weeks after anti-government protests, activists say

Tania Bruguera, Politico (July 21, 2021): ‘There’s No Turning Back’: A Cuban Dissident on What’s Really Happening in Cuba

Past Americas Elections

Peru Presidential Runoff: June 6, 2021

Peru held 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.

The presidential runoff pitted self-described Marxist Pedro Castillo against right-wing populist Keiko Fujimori, daughter of former president Alberto Fujimori, who is currently in prison for various crimes (Keiko is also currently facing criminal charges). Castillo came out of nowhere to win the first round. However, none of the 18 candidates received more votes than the number of blank ballots cast – a sign of voters’ deep frustration.

Castillo won the runoff by a margin of less than one percent. Fujimori is alleging fraud, but international observers largely dismissed that allegation. More

Editorial Board, Washington Post (July 23, 2021): Opinion: Peru’s democracy survived a squeaker election. Will it outlast a far-left president?

Alexandra Graham, The National Interest (July 21, 2021): A Recurring Populist Impulse Serves to Damage Peru

Stefano Pozzebon, Karol Suarez and Jose Armijo, CNN (July 19, 2021): Peru’s electoral authority declares Pedro Castillo President-elect, 6 weeks after runoff

Mexico Legislative, Gubernatorial, and Local Elections: June 6, 2021

Mexico held high-stakes midterm legislative elections, as well as gubernatorial elections in 15 of Mexico’s 31 states, and local elections, on June 6, 2021. In total, more than 21,000 offices are at stake – the biggest elections in Mexico’s history.

These elections were a key test for left-wing populist firebrand Andrés Manuel López Obrador (frequently called AMLO) ahead of the 2024 presidential election, and he largely lost – his MORENA party did not get its majority in the legislature, and although MORENA won most of the state governorships, it lost control of most areas of Mexico City. AMLO, who has been governing in an increasingly authoritarian manner, wants to transform Mexico by jettisoning the market economy, but these election results will make it harder for him to do that.

Meanwhile, political violence is on the rise, with at least 88 politicians killed and hundreds of candidates targeted. More

The Economist (July 24, 2021): Mexico’s middle class is struggling: First it was battered by the pandemic, now by the president

Patrick Gillespie, Bloomberg (July 24, 2021): Mexican president proposes replacing OAS with new institution

AP (July 22, 2021): Mexico fines candidate’s party for role of influencer wife

Mary Beth Sheridan, Washington Post (July 21, 2021): How Mexico’s traditional political espionage went high-tech: Victims say the use of Pegasus spyware through 2017 had a chilling effect on journalists and human rights workers. The government says it halted the practice, but questions remain.

Guatemala General Elections: June 16 and August 11, 2019

Guatemala held general elections in 2019. These elections took place in a climate of chaos and uncertainty. Incumbent president Jimmy Morales, a comedian and political outsider, ran on an anti-corruption platform in 2015 but since being elected has repeatedly attacked the UN’s anti-corruption body CICIG after it started investigating his family members.

In May 2019, two out of the three leading presidential candidates were disqualified by the Constitutional Court: Thelma Aldana, a former attorney general who jailed hundreds for corruption, and Zury Rios, daughter of the former dictator. The first round did not produce a winner. Left-wing former first lady Sandra Torres faces conservative former prison director Alejandro Giammattei in a runoff on August 18. In the congressional elections, Torres’ left-wing National Unity of Hope (UNE) party appears to have won the most seats, but some face a runoff. Twenty percent of the incumbents are under investigation for corruption, and 92 percent of Guatemalans do not trust their legislature.

Sofia Menchu, Reuters (July 24, 2021): Hundreds protest ouster of Guatemalan anti-graft crusader

Reuters (July 23, 2021): Guatemala attorney general removes head of anti-corruption unit

Americas Elections Coming Up in 2021 and 2022

Saint Lucia Parliamentary Elections: July 26, 2021

Argentina Salta Provincial Elections: August 15, 2021 (postponed from July 4, 2021)

Haiti Presidential and Legislative Elections, plus delayed constitutional referendum: September 26, 2021

Paraguay Municipal Elections: October 10, 2021

Nicaragua Presidential and Legislative Elections: November 7, 2021

Argentina Midterm Legislative Elections: November 14, 2021

Chile Presidential and Legislative Elections: November 21, 2021

Venezuela Regional and Local Elections: November 21, 2021

Honduras Presidential and Legislative Elections: November 28, 2021

Guyana Local Elections: Due in 2021

Costa Rica Presidential and Legislative Elections: February 6, 2022

Colombia Legislative Elections: March 13, 2022

Colombia Presidential Election: May 29, 2022

Bahamas Parliamentary Elections: May 2022 (due – snap elections possible)

Brazil Presidential and Legislative Elections: October 2, 2022

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 elections this week July 23 2021

July 23, 2021

A weekly review of key 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.

Entering the tennis facility at the Tokyo Olympics. The Olympics are playing a big role in Japanese politics ahead of elections due later this year. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Syced (CC0 1.0)

Upcoming Asia/Pacific Elections

Macau Legislative Elections: September 12, 2021

Macau is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China, having reverted from Portuguese control to Chinese control in 1999. The main industry is gaming, with a casino sector seven times the size of that of Las Vegas. The legislature is dominated by pro-Beijing politicians, who hold 29 out of the 33 seats, with pro-democracy politicians holding the remaining four.

Most recently, pro-democracy candidates were banned from the upcoming elections, mirroring Hong Kong’s crackdown on democracy.

LUSA (July 23, 2021): Disqualified election candidates appeal in hope of ‘judicial independence’

Nelson Moura, Macau Business (July 22, 2021): Disqualifications of Legislative Assembly candidates not related to criticisms of local Gov’t, says Chief Executive

Nelson Moura, Macau Business (July 21, 2021): Electoral Affairs Commission rejects complaints filed by disqualified candidates

Japan General Elections: On or Before October 22, 2021 (plus Hyogo Prefecture gubernatorial election on July 17).

After that, Japan is due to hold general elections by October 22, 2021, but they could happen earlier. These come on the heels of Tokyo Assembly elections, in which Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) did not win a majority. Before the elections, the assembly was dominated by the Tomin First party, founded by Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike, who used to belong to LDP.

In addition, Suga, who replaced Shinzo Abe last year, faces an LDP leadership contest in September. The elections will come on the heels of the Tokyo Olympics, which are controversial among Japanese voters.

Tobias Harris, Nikkei Asia (July 21, 2021): Japan’s ruling coalition is not as secure as it looks: Unpopular prime minister faces an increasingly united opposition

Eric Johnston, Japan Times (July 20, 2021): Tokyo poll result cements Yuriko Koike’s status as a political survivor

Phillip Y. Lipscy and Daniel M. Smith, Washington Post (July 19, 2021): Nobody can go to the Tokyo Olympics. So why is the government going ahead with them? The political stakes are high, as Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga must face voters in a general election this fall

Hong Kong Legislative Elections: December 19, 2021

Hong Kong is holding elections to the Legislative Council on December 19, 2021, after more than a year’s delay. These elections are taking place in the context of Beijing’s determination to gut Hong Kong’s democracy. More

Rhoda Kwan, Hong Kong Free Press (July 23, 2021): Ousted Hong Kong legislator Dennis Kwok warns of ‘risks’ to int’l business from security law

Man Hoi Yan, Radio Free Asia (July 22, 2021): Hong Kong Police Arrest Five Over ‘Seditious’ Sheep in Childrens’ Books

Theodora Yu, Washington Pot (July 22, 2021): Hong Kong jails seven over notorious mob attack during 2019 protests

AP (July 22, 2021): London Mayor Issues Message of Support to Hong Kong Migrants: London’s mayor has sent a message of support to Hong Kong people fleeing China’s crackdown on democracy to seek a new life in the United Kingdom.

Phelim Kine, Politico (July 21, 2021): Hong Kong pro-democracy activists beg Congress for refugee status

Sri Lanka Provincial Elections: 2021

Sri Lanka plans to hold provincial elections in 2021. In the 2019 presidential election, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, brother of former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa, won.  Sri Lanka’s democracy sits on the precipice.

AFP (July 19, 2021): Rajapaksa to seek second term as Sri Lanka crisis deepens

India, State Elections in Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand: February/March 2022 (due)

Five Indian states are due to hold elections in early 2022. These elections will be a key test for the national parties – and PM Narendra Modi.

In addition, Uttar Pradesh held local elections on July 3.

Rahul Shrivastava and Dipu Rai, India Today (July 22, 2021): Presidential polls and beyond: Why Uttar Pradesh elections are crucial?

Sushant Singh, Foreign Policy (July 21, 2021): India’s Watergate Moment: A journalist hacked by Pegasus says he will survive, but Indian democracy may not.

Shoaib Daniyal, (July 20, 2021): Supreme Court, EC, Opposition: Spyware attack threatens pillars of India’s electoral democracy

Joanna Slater and Niha Masih, Washington Post (July 19, 2021): The spyware is sold to governments to fight terrorism. In India, it was used to hack journalists and others.

South Korea Presidential Election: March 9, 2022

South Korea holds its presidential election on March 9, 2021. Recently, the conservative opposition won special mayoral elections in Seoul and Busan by a landslide, just a year after President Moon Jae-in’s center-left Democratic Party swept the legislature. Moreover, Moon’s approval rating is tanking.

Andrew Injoo Park, South China Morning Post (July 20, 2021): How South Korea’s 2022 presidential election could reshape its US-China balancing act

Philippines Presidential Election: May 9, 2022

In 2016, populist firebrand Rodrigo Duterte won the presidency, claiming to be an outsider. He has governed with an iron fist. Although he is banned from seeking a second term, critics fear that he will seek to consolidate illiberalism in the form of a handpicked successor. Meanwhile, a broad coalition of opposition figures have formed 1Sambayan (One Nation) in the hopes of defeating Duterte’s allies with a united front. Boxing star Manny Pacquiao, a former Duterte ally, has been discussed as a possible presidential candidate for 1Sambayan.

Carlos Santamaria, GZERO (July 19, 2021): Thrilla in Manila: Duterte vs Pacquiao

Australia Parliamentary Elections: May 2022 (due – snap elections possible)

Australia’s federal parliamentary elections are due by 2022, but snap elections could happen. Meanwhile, several states hold elections in 2021.

Tensions with China are rising as Australia’s federal government has cancelled several Belt and Road deals. More

Sky News (July 23, 2021): Local government elections in NSW set to be postponed for a second year

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

Cambodia is due to hold local elections in 2022 and general elections in 2023. Although Cambodia has held elections in the past that had some element of competition, the 2018 election – 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.

Ben Sokhean, Khmer Times (July 23, 2021): Polls timetable set: NEC outlines Commune Election calendar

Radio Free Asia (July 23, 2021): CNRP Activist Arrested After Returning to Cambodia to Start a Business

Malaysia Possible Snap Parliamentary Elections and Sarawak State Elections: To be called shortly after the COVID-19 state of emergency ends

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has indicated that he will 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. Specifically, Sarawak is due to hold state elections this summer, or very shortly after the federal government lifts the COVID-19 state of emergency.

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. More

Pankaj C. Kumar, The Star Malaysia (July 24, 2021): Malaysia needs a big reset button

Joseph Chinyong Liow and Ariel Tan, South China Morning Post (July 24, 2021): In Malaysia, what lies beneath the divorce of Umno and Muhyiddin’s Bersatu?

Joshua Kurlantzick, World Politics Review (July 23, 2021): Malaysia’s Political Crisis Is Dooming Its COVID-19 Response

Nepal Snap Elections: Early 2023 (due)

Nepal had planned to hold snap elections 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. For background: in December 2020, Nepal’s prime minister decided to dissolve parliament and call for new elections. However, on February 23, the Supreme Court overturned the decision, cancelling the snap elections. The government subsequently lost a confidence vote, sparking snap polls. However, the courts reversed the decision.

Nepal sits in the strategically-important Himalayas, and is a focus of competition between India and China. More

Aneka Rebecca Rajbhandari and Raunab Singh Khatri, Nepali Times (July 23, 2021): China reacts to Nepal regime change: Chinese government and netizens are keeping careful tabs on recent political developments in Nepal

Kunal Purohit, South China Morning Post (July 21, 2021): Will Nepal’s new ‘pro-India’ prime minister hit reset on its China ties?

PTI (July 18, 2021): Nepal’s new PM Sher Bahadur Deuba wins vote of confidence in Parliament

Past Asia/Pacific Elections

Vietnam Legislative Elections: May 23, 2021

Vietnam, a one-party communist state, held legislative elections on May 23, 2021. For the most part, only candidates from the Communist Party of Vietnam and those who support it are able to run. In addition, dissidents face arrest and assault. More

Stewart Rees, The Diplomat (July 23, 2021): In Vietnam, the Party’s Rolling Crackdown on Dissent Continues

Maldives Local Elections: April 10, 2021

Maldives held local elections for April 10, 2021, following a delay due to COVID-19. Voters will elect island, atoll, and city councils to three-year terms. The country 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.

On May 7, a bomb blast hospitalized former president Mohamed Nasheed, one of the main architects of democracy in Maldives. 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. More

N Sathiya Moorthy, Observer Research Foundation (July 21, 2021): Maldives: Nasheed’s call to end extremists’ dominance in elections can cut both ways

Marwaan Macan-Markar, Nikkei Asia (July 22, 2021): Hate crime bill widens Islamic divisions in the Maldives: ’Irreligious’ or not? Debate splits ruling party, fuels instability in South Asia

Samoa General Elections: April 9, 2021

Samoa held general elections on April 9, 2021, and after a post-election roller coaster ride, a new prime minister has finally been inaugurated and approved by the courts. A new opposition party, Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST, “Faith in the one true God”), posed a new challenge to the Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP), which has been in power since 1982. Ultimately, both FAST and HRPP got equal numbers of seats, with an independent MP breaking the tie and agreeing to support FAST. However, the plot continues to thicken as HRPP was given an additional female MP since the party did not meet its quota for women.

As a result of the deadlock, the prime minister has called new elections for May 21, but a court decided to block the new elections, reinstate the results, and overturn the decision to give HRPP an additional MP. As a result, FAST was declared the winner of the elections and Fiame Naomi Mataʻafa was sworn in as prime minister – the first woman to hold the office. A court ultimately confirmed her victory, ending the political crisis.

Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson and Kate Lyons, The Guardian (July 23, 2021): Samoa’s political crisis ends and first female prime minister installed after court ruling: Fiame Naomi Mata’afa was confirmed by Samoa’s court of appeal to be the country’s first female prime minister, ending the 22-year reign of the former leader

Marian Faa and Jordan Fennell, ABC News Australia (July 23, 2021): Samoa welcomes first female Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa following court ruling

Radio New Zealand (July 20, 2021): Samoan traditional systems remain strong through political crisis – Academic

Asia/Pacific Elections Coming Up in 2021 and 2022

Macau Legislative Elections: September 12, 2021

Japan Parliamentary Elections: By October 2021 (snap elections possible)

Timor-Leste Municipal Elections: October 2021 (due)

Tonga General Elections: By November 30, 2021

New Caledonia Independence Referendum: December 12, 2021

Hong Kong Legislative Council Elections: December 19, 2021

Sri Lanka Early Provincial Elections: Late 2021 (proposed)

Nepal Parliamentary Elections: January 2022 (due)

India, State Elections in Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand: February/March 2022 (due)

South Korea Presidential Election: March 9, 2022

Timor-Leste Presidential Election: March 2022 (due)

Philippines Presidential and Legislative Elections: May 9, 2022

Australia Parliamentary Elections: May 2022 (due – snap elections possible)

Papua New Guinea Parliamentary Elections: June 2022 (due)

Cambodia Local Elections: June 5, 2022

Nauru Parliamentary Elections: August 2022 (due)

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

Fiji Parliamentary Elections: November 2022 (due)

India, State Elections in Gujarat: December 2022 (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 elections this week July 22 2021

July 22, 2021

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 Tbilisi Pride logo. Georgia has seen an uptick in anti-LGBT violence (in part perpetuated by pro-Kremlin political forces) ahead of October’s municipal elections. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Bojan Cvetanović (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Upcoming Eurasia Elections

Kazakhstan Rural Elections: July 25, 2021

Kazakhstan holds rural elections on July 25. For the first time, hundreds of villages will elect mayors directly. These follow legislative elections that took place January 10, 2021. The country’s 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

Reuters (July 23, 2021): Kazakhstan to Directly Elect Hundreds of Village Mayors for First Time

Colleen Wood, The Foreign Policy Centre (July 22, 2021): Human rights and civil liberties in Kazakhstan: A matter of efficiency?

Almaz Kumenov, Eurasianet (July 21, 2021): Kazakhstan: Activists tracked by Pegasus angered but not surprised

Russia Parliamentary Elections: By September 19, 2021

Russia is due to hold parliamentary elections by September 19, 2021. 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 has launched a brutal crackdown on the proposition, including imprisoning Navalny. Candidates who have worked with Navalny or supported him have been banned from the upcoming election. Only one genuine opposition party – the liberal Yabloko – currently is able to field candidates. More

Meduza (July 22, 2021): The State Duma’s jet-setter: Team Navalny publishes new investigation into the family wealth of parliamentary speaker Vyacheslav Volodin

Reuters (July 21, 2021): Russia extends house arrest of Kremlin critic Navalny’s spokesperson

Moscow Times (July 20, 2021): Which Kremlin Critics Have Fled Russia?

Masha Gessen, The New Yorker (July 19, 2021): Lyubov Sobol’s hope for Russia: With Alexey Navalny in prison, one of his closest aides is carrying on the lonely work of the opposition.

AP (July 18, 2021): Russia rights group linked to Navalny closes amid prosecution fears: Team 29 is the latest victim of Kremlin crackdown on organisations it considers ‘undesirable’

RFE/RL (July 18, 2021): Pussy Riot Member Leaves Russia Citing ‘Persecution’

Georgia Local Elections: October 2021 (due)

Georgia is due to hold local elections in October 2021, and they are particularly important because – as a result of a deal to resolve the political crisis following last year’s parliamentary elections – they could spark new parliamentary elections if the ruling Georgian Dream party wins less than 43 percent of the proportional vote. The political climate is tense, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic fallout.

Most recently, an uptick in violence against the LGBT community and journalists, perpetrated by far-right and pro-Kremlin forces, has fueled the wider debate about where Georgia is going, both culturally and geopolitically. More

Archil Gegeshidze and Mikheil Mirziashvili, Carnegie Europe (July 23, 2021): The Orthodox Church in Georgia’s Changing Society

Eric Lee, Moscow Times (July 21, 2021): It’s Time for Georgia to Choose Its Future

Tata Shoshiashvili, OC Media (July 21, 2021): Georgia’s ongoing epidemic of homophobic street violence

Institute for War and Peace Reporting (July 21, 2021): Georgia: Further Protests After Journalist Dies: Media workers demand immediate action over “green light for violence” (July 20, 2021): Reporters hold protest ahead of ruling party reveal of Tbilisi mayor candidate

David M. Herszenhorn, Politico (July 19, 2021): Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine see joint path to EU: Rebuking Russia, three presidents sign statement on EU integration.

Uzbekistan Presidential Election: October 24, 2021

Uzbekistan is holding a presidential election on October 24, 2021. Elections in Uzbekistan are neither free nor fair, and political opposition is not able to operate freely in the country. Although some had hoped that President Shavkat Mirziyoyev would face a serious challenger this year, that looks increasingly unlikely as would-be challengers are either being denied ballot access or dropping out. More

AKIpress (July 23, 2021): Presidential election campaign starts in Uzbekistan

Bruce Pannier, RFE/RL (July 18, 2021): Eliminating Presidential Candidates In Central Asia

Past Eurasia Elections

Moldova Snap Parliamentary Elections: July 11, 2021

Moldova held snap parliamentary elections on July 11, which pro-Europe center-right president Maia Sandu had been trying to call for months because in Moldova’s parliamentary system, a legislative majority is necessary to execute on any policy agenda. Prior to these elections, party had a clear majority in parliament (and Sandu’s allies were outnumbered by pro-Russian parties), leading to political instability. Sandu’s allies ended up winning in a landslide.

Sandu herself trounced pro-Kremlin leftist Igor Dodon, who had been the incumbent, in the November 2020 presidential election, after losing narrowly to him in 2016. More

Madalin Necsutu, Euronews (July 23, 2021): Moldova’s new government has an old problem: Transnistria. Can it solve it? 

Washington Post Editorial Board (July 20, 2021): Reformers just won a rare victory in Russia’s backyard. Biden should help them.

Armenia Snap Parliamentary Elections: June 20, 2021

Armenia held snap parliamentary elections on June 20 in an effort to defuse a political crisis following a defeat in the recent Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Pre-election polls suggested a close contest Pashinyan acting prime minister Nikol Pashinyan and former president Robert Kocharyan; however, Pashinyan ended up winning by a significant margin.

Pashinyan became prime minister following the 2018 pro-democracy “Velvet Revolution.” However, he mostly maintained Armenia’s pro-Russia geopolitical stance, and that does not look likely to change in the near future.

Pablo Gonzalez, Voice of America (July 22, 2021): In Wake of Defeat and Upheaval, Armenia Deals with its War Wounds

Ani Avetisyan, OC Media (July 20, 2021): Robert Kocharyan refuses to sit as MP in Armenia’s parliament

Reuters (July 17, 2021): Armenian court upholds June election win for acting PM’s party

Belarus Presidential Election: August 9, 2020

Belarus held a presidential election on August 9, 2020. In a vote widely deemed not free and not fair, incumbent Alexander 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 continue. More

Yuras Karmanau, AP (July 23, 2021): Belarus shuts more civil society groups in wide crackdown

Tanya Lokshina and Rachel Denber, Human Rights Watch (July 23, 2021): Belarus Authorities Launch Purge of Civic Groups

Doug Klain, Atlantic Council (July 21, 2021): Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya on Belarus’ future and her place in it

Jennifer Hansler, CNN (July 20, 2021): Belarus opposition leader says she gave sanctions list to Biden administration

Reuters (July 19, 2021): On Washington visit, Belarus opposition leader asks U.S. for more help

RFE/RL (July 19, 2021): More Belarusian Activists Sentenced To Lengthy Prison Terms As Crackdown Intensifies

Meduza (July 16, 2021): Then came the counter-revolution: Political Analyst Artyom Shraibman breaks down the latest wave of mass repressions in Belarus

Eurasia Elections Coming Up in 2021 and 2022

Kazakhstan Village Elections: July 25, 2021

Russia Parliamentary Elections: By September 19, 2021

Georgia Local Elections: October 2021 (due)

Kyrgyzstan Parliamentary Elections Take 2: Fall 2021 (expected)

Uzbekistan Presidential Election: October 24, 2021

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.


Europe elections this week July 21 2021

July 21, 2021

A weekly review 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.

A campaign bus in Tartu, Estonia, ahead of the 2014 European elections. Estonia holds local elections in October, as well as an indirect presidential election in August. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Kamma (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Upcoming Europe Elections

Estonia Indirect Presidential Election: August 30, 2021 and Local Elections: October 17, 2021

Estonia – a poster child for a successful post-communist transition to democracy – will hold an indirect presidential election starting on August 30 and local elections on October 17, 2021. In Estonia’s parliamentary system, the president plays a largely ceremonial and representative role, with no executive power. The Riigikogu (parliament) elects the president. Incumbent Kersti Kaljulaid is eligible to run for another term.

Since January 2021, Estonia’s government has been a grand coalition of the center-right Reform Party and the centrist Centre Party, which has historically been supported by Estonia’s Russian community. Following the 2019 elections, Centre shocked the country by forming a government with the far-right EKRE, but PM Juri Ratas was forced to resign in January 2021 following a real estate scandal. Subsequently, Reform – previously in opposition – formed a coalition with Centre as the junior partner, making Reform’s Kaja Kallas Estonia’s first female prime minister. More

ERR News (July 21, 2021): EKRE presidential candidate Henn Põlluaas’ starts campaign tour

ERR News (July 15, 2021): Kallas: We have president candidate in mind, now need persuading to run

Norway Parliamentary Elections: September 13, 2021

Norway holds parliamentary elections on September 13, 2021. Prime Minister Erna Solberg, who heads a center-right coalition, has been in office since 2013. More

Laura Smith-Spark, CNN (July 22, 2021): A far-right extremist killed 77 people in Norway. A decade on, ‘the hatred is still out there’ but attacker’s influence is seen as low

Richard Milne, Financial Times (July 19, 2021): Norway’s prime minister Erna Solberg says Oslo remains committed to oil and gas

Germany Bundestag Elections: September 26, 2021 (plus state elections throughout the year)

Germany is holding several sets of elections next year, culminating in the September 26, 2021 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. 

Following an intense fight, CDU and CSU nominated CDU leader Armin Laschet to be their candidate for chancellor. He defeated the Bavarian Markus Söder, who is more popular with voters. Meanwhile, over the past year, the Greens have taken SPD’s place as the main center-left party. They have portrayed themselves as responsible and mainstream, and have governed as such when in state governments. Consequently, Annalena Baerbock could become the first Green head of government in the history of the world. However, despite his unpopularity, Armin Laschet remains the favorite to succeed Merkel as chancellor. Nonetheless, German voters have a real choice and Baerbock, who comes from the party’s “realo” (moderate) wing as opposed to the “fundi” (radical) wing – has an actual shot at the top job.  More

Melissa Eddy, New York Times (July 21, 2021): German Candidates Fail to Find Footing in Flood Response

Roger Boyes, Times of London (July 21, 2021): Germany’s Greens are choking on the verge of power

Erika Solomon, Financial Times (July 20, 2021): German government pledges €200m in flood aid: Figure will be added to €250m contributed by regional governments for rebuilding devastated areas

Kristine Berzina, Corinna Blutguth, and David Metzger, GMF’s Alliance for Securing Democracy (July 19, 2021): Between Messaging and Manipulation: How Russia, China, Turkey, and Iran Engaged in German Political Discourses in June 2021

Bojan Pancevski, Wall Street Journal (July 18, 2021): Germany’s Flooding Rearranges Political Picture Ahead of Election to Succeed Merkel

Italy, Mayoral Elections in Rome, Milan, Turin, Naples and other cities and regional elections in Calabria: October 10-11, 2021

Italy is due to hold regional elections in Calabria in the south, as well as mayoral elections in several major cities, later this year. The next general elections aren’t due until June 2023, but as is ever the case with Italy, snap elections are possible. However, in January 2021, the government collapsed after former prime minister Matteo Renzi withdrew his support. Former European Central Bank chief Mario “Super Mario” Draghi formed a government in February 2021.

Reuters (July 21, 2021): Political furor in Italy after far-right League councilor kills Moroccan immigrant

North Macedonia Local Elections: October 2021 (due)

North Macedonia is due to hold local elections in October 2021. These follow parliamentary elections in July 2020. Following a historic agreement with Greece, and a name change, North Macedonia joined NATO in 2020 and is currently in talks to join the EU (although now Bulgaria is trying to hold that up). The country’s politics are fragmented and fractious. The 2020 elections were extremely close, but ultimately PM Zoran Zaev and his Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) were able to once again form a government with the backing of the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), the main ethnic Albanian party (ethnic Albanians make up about a quarter of the population).

SDSM also controls most of the municipalities heading into the upcoming local elections, having beaten the nationalist VMRO-DPMNE in a majority of municipalities and ousting the VMRO-DMPNE mayor of Skopje.

Aleksander Brezar, Euronews (July 20, 2021): Could North Macedonia be the graveyard of the EU’s ideals? 

Kosovo Local Elections: Due in 2021

Kosovo is due to hold local elections in 2021. These follow  snap parliamentary elections that took place in February 2021. In those elections, Kosovo held on February 14. The left-wing nationalist Vetëvendosje won, potentially jeopardizing any resolution to a long-standing territorial dispute with Serbia. However, the new prime minister, Albin Kurti has also advocated for closer ties with the United States and Europe.

Gjeraqina Tuhina, RFE/RL (July 19, 2021): Serbia-Kosovo Talks Make No Progress, Each Side Blames The Other

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. A number of opposition parties plan to hold a primary to field a single candidate for prime minister. Gergely Karácsony, the liberal mayor of Budapest, is seen by many as a leading candidate to challenge Orbán.

Luke McGee, Amy Cassidy, and Boglarka Kosztolanyi, CNN (July 21, 2021): Hungary plans referendum on law criticized by EU as homophobic

Meghan Poff, New Eastern Europe (July 20, 2021): Budapest, Beijing, Brussels and beyond: A conversation on Viktor Orbán’s China policy

Lili Bayer, Politico (July 19, 2021): Hungarian spyware scandal bolsters fears of Orbán critics

Amanda Coakley, Foreign Policy (July 17, 2021): Hungary’s Opposition Smells Blood in the Water: After three straight electoral victories by Viktor Orban, an unlikely coalition senses a chance to halt the country’s slide into authoritarianism

RFE/RL (July 16, 2021): Hungarian PM Says EU Action On LGBT Rights Amounts To ‘Legal Hooliganism’

France Presidential Election: April 10 and 24, 2022, followed by Legislative Elections: June 2022 (due)

France holds presidential and legislative elections in spring 2022. These follow the June 2021 regional elections, in which the far-right failed to make gains that had been predicted by pre-election polls. The regional elections put the center-right Republicans in a stronger position to challenge President Emmanuel Macron, although the far-right Marine Le Pen plans to mount a vigorous campaign. 

Ania Nussbaum, Bloomberg (July 21, 2021): The Anti-Macron Independent Looking to Topple France’s President

Robert Zaretsky, Slate (July 20, 2021): The Tough New COVID Rules That Could Determine the Future of France

Rym Momtaz, Politico (July 19, 2021): Macron heads to the heartlands to kickstart reelection drive: With jambon and chanson, the president moves to win over France’s heartlands.

David Keohane, Financial Times (July 19, 2021): Macron dithers on nuclear power investment as issue divides France

Bosnia and Herzegovina General Elections: October 2022 (due)

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is due to hold general elections in October 2020. The 202 local elections, which took place in the context of gridlock and ethno-nationalism, delivered a blow to the three main ethnic-based political parties, with opposition forces winning in Sarajevo and other key cities. BiH faces a number of problems, including poor economic prospects, incompetent governance, and bitter political fights. More

Al Jazeera (July 19, 2021): Critics condemn minister’s call to unite ‘Serb world’

Y.Z., Sarajevo Times (July 18, 2021): Covic: Without amendments to the Election Law, there will be no elections next year

Poland Parliamentary Elections: Fall 2023 (snap elections possible)

Poland is due to hold parliamentary elections in fall 2023, but snap elections are possible if the three-party government headed by the conservative Law and Justice does not hold together.

The Economist (July 24, 2021): Donald Tusk has taken over as leader of Poland’s main opposition party

Reuters (July 16, 2021): Poland’s Tusk says conflicts with EU could eventually end the bloc

Past Europe Elections

Bulgaria Snap Parliamentary Elections: July 11, 2021

Bulgaria held fresh parliamentary elections on July 11 after no party formed a government following the April 4 elections. In the April polls, PM Boyko Borissov’s center-right GERB won the most seats, but lost ground and failed to win a majority. New parties running against the establishment did surprisingly well – in fact,  a party called There Is Such a People, led by TV star Stanislav Trifonov, came in second and ruled out forming a coalition with GERB. Trifonov’s main platform was anti-corruption – indeed, corruption was the biggest issue in the election.  In the July elections, Trifonov’s party surpassed GERB to win the most seats, but not enough for a majority. It remains unclear what the new government will look like, and a third election is not impossible. More

Svetoslav Todorov, Balkan Insight (July 22, 2021): Bulgaria’s Winning Party Makes Sudden U-Turn on Coalition Talks

RFE/RL (July 21, 2021): Bulgarian Parliament Meets For First Session After Razor-Thin Election Result

Reuters (July 15, 2021): Bulgaria anti-elite party drops PM nominee in bid to form government

Tom Junes, Balkan Insight (July 15, 2021): Snap Elections Fail to Calm Bulgaria’s Political Instability

Albania Parliamentary Elections: April 25, 2021

Albania held parliamentary elections on April 25, 2021 in a tense political climate with several violent incidents. Since communism collapsed in 1990, Albania has held competitive elections and several transitions of power between political parties. The elections were close, and the incumbent Socialist Party won a third term in office, defeating the main opposition center-right Democratic Party. More

Exit Albania (July 16, 2021): Albanian Opposition’s Analysis of April Elections Blames Loss on Socialist Majority

Euronews/AP (July 14, 2021): Former Albanian police officer jailed for killing that sparked major protests

Cyprus Parliamentary Elections: May 30, 2021

Cyprus held parliamentary elections on May 23, 2021. The center-right DISY – currently in the majority – maintained its majority, defeating the center-left AKEL, the main opposition party (with a number of smaller parties also competing). Notably, the far-right ELAM doubled its vote share from the 2016 elections, winning 6.8 percent of the vote.

Cyprus is a presidential system (the only full presidential system in the EU), so these elections function as more of a test for the parties ahead of the 2023 presidential election. The current president is President Nicos Anastasiades (from DISY). This is all happening in the context of the ongoing Eastern Mediterranean crisisMore

Hannah Lucinda Smith, The Times of London (July 20, 2021): Cypriot peace in crisis as Erdogan backs two-state solution

Menelaos Hadjicostis, AP (July 19, 2021): Turkish president: Two-state deal only way for Cyprus peace

Lithuania Parliamentary Elections: October 11, 2020 and 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.

Edward Lucas, Times of London (July 19, 2021): Lithuania leads way in standing up to China

Montenegro Parliamentary Elections: August 30, 2020

Montenegro held parliamentary elections on August 30, 2020, the fifth since independence in 2006. Although the pro-Western Democratic Party of Socialists, which has been in power for 30 years, won the most seats, they did not win a majority, and a coalition of opposition parties united to form a government. Zdravko Krivokapic from For the Future of Montenegro will be the next prime minister. The political base of the new coalition is generally pro-Moscow.

Andy Hall and Jasna Vukicevic, RFE/RL (July 22, 2021): In Political Power Play, Montenegrin Mayor Goes ‘All In’ On Former Yugoslav Royals

Milica Stojanovic and Samir Kajosevic, Balkan Insi`ght (July 16, 2021): Yugoslav Ex-Royals Urge Montenegro to Return Confiscated Property

Europe Elections Coming Up in 2021 and 2022

Estonia Indirect Presidential Election: August 30, 2021 (by parliament)

Norway Parliamentary Elections: September 13, 2021

Iceland Parliamentary Elections: September 25, 2021

Germany Bundestag Elections, plus state elections in Berlin and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, and probably Thuringia: September 26, 2021

Portugal Local Elections: September 26, 2021

Austria, Upper Austria State and Municipal Elections: September 26, 2021

Czech Republic Parliamentary Elections: October 8-9, 2021

Italy Municipal Elections, plus regional elections in Calabria: October 10-11, 2021

Estonia Local Elections: October 17, 2021

North Macedonia Local Elections: October 2021 (due)

Bulgaria Presidential Election: October/November 2021 (due)

Denmark Regional and Municipal Elections: November 16, 2021

Kosovo Local Elections: Due in 2021

Serbia Presidential and Parliamentary Elections: March/April 2022

France Presidential Election: April 10 and 24, 2022

Austria Presidential Election: April 2022 (due)

Hungary Parliamentary Elections: April 2022 (due)

Slovenia Parliamentary Elections: By June 5, 2022

France Legislative Elections: June 12 and 19, 2022

Malta Parliamentary Elections: June 2022 (due – snap elections possible)

Sweden Parliamentary Elections: September 11, 2022

Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidential and Legislative Elections: October 2022 (due)

Latvia Parliamentary Elections: October 2022 (due)

Slovenia Presidential Election: October/November 2022 (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.

Middle East

Middle East elections this week July 20 2021

July 20, 2021

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 village of Kel in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, the Pakistan-administered part of Kashmir, which holds elections for its regional assembly on July 25. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Durray Sameen Rajouri (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Upcoming Middle East Elections

Pakistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir Elections: July 25, 2021

Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), part of the Pakistan-administered portion of the disputed region of Kashmir, will hold elections on July 25, 2021. These follow elections in Gilgit-Baltistan, the other part of Pakistan-administered Kashmir. The elections were originally due by April 2, 2021, but have been delayed.

The region is a geopolitical hotspot. Tensions with India (India and Pakistan have fought three wars, including two over Kashmir) are growing and both sides are upping their military presence. Moreover, the area is a centerpiece of China’s Belt and Road, which further inflames Pakistan’s relations with India.

Hamid Mir, Washington Post (July 20, 2021): Opinion: There are many things Pakistan can learn from China. One-party rule isn’t one of them.

Express Tribune Pakistan (July 18, 2021): Polling for first phase of AJK elections underway

Jordan Local Elections: By September 2021 (due)

Jordan is due to hold local elections by September 2021. These follow parliamentary elections, which happened on November 10, 2020. Turnout was low, and both women and Islamist candidates saw poor results. Subsequently, King Abdullah II announced a new high-level committee to enact political reforms. This is not the first such effort in Jordan, and past attempts at change have been a disappointment to those who hope for reform, but it could be promising. More

Aamer Hadhani, AP (July 19, 2021): Biden calls Jordan king a loyal ally in ‘tough neighborhood’

The Economist (July 15, 2021): Jordan’s jailing of a courtier exposes fissures in the kingdom: Some Bedouin tribes may be changing allegiance

Suleiman Al-Khalidi, Reuters (July 15, 2021): Jordan’s king reasserts rule after crisis but economic strains linger

Hayder Al-Shakarchi, Al Bawaba (July 15, 2021): Barbara Slavin on Jordan’s Growing Geostrategic Importance

Iraq Early Parliamentary Elections: October 10, 2021 (tentative) and Provincial Elections (due)

Iraq plans to hold early elections on October 10, postponed from the original proposal of holding them on June 6, 2021, one year early, following the demands of protesters. The country is also due to hold provincial (sometimes called governorate) elections. Preparations are taking place in the context of widespread protest and political instability. More

Renad Mansour, Washington Post (July 20, 2021): Iraqis protest deadly hospital fires as symptom of embedded corruption: Demands for a stable electricity supply also raise the stakes in this fall’s election

The New Arab (July 20, 2021): Iraq general election could be postponed if Sadr continues boycott

Edward Yeranian, Voice of America (July 20, 2021): Iraqi PM Fires Security Officials Over IS-Claimed Bombing

La Croix International (July 19, 2021): October elections may be fraudulent, warns Iraqi cardinal

Ali Sura, Rudaw (July 16, 2021): Christians will not participate in Iraqi elections: Cardinal Sako

Ahmed Rasheed, Reuters (July 15, 2021): Iraqi cleric Sadr says he won’t take part in October election

Mustafa Saadoun, Atlantic Council (July 14, 2021): Iraqis campaign against impunity for violence

Libya 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

Tim Molyneux, openDemocracy (July 19, 2021): Why we need better stories about Libya: International media has failed to explain the complexities of the conflict, or reflect the resilience of ordinary Libyans

Margaret Besheer, Voice of America (July 15, 2021): UN Urges Libya to Hold Elections on Time

Edith M. Lederer, AP (July 15, 2021): UN envoy: `Spoilers’ are trying to obstruct Libyan elections

Lebanon Parliamentary Elections: May 2022 (due)

Lebanon is due to hold general elections in May 2022, although some parties have called for early elections. 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.

Chloe Cornish, Financial Times (July 20, 2021): Hariri’s stepping aside sets stage for more chaos in Lebanon: Political parties focus on next year’s elections as senior officials at home and abroad acknowledge depth of crisis

Reuters (July 16, 2021): As France urges Lebanon to pick PM, country faces even tougher times

Anchal Vohra, Foreign Policy (July 16, 2021): No Prime Minister—and No More Hope—for Lebanon

Afghanistan Parliamentary Elections: October 2023 and Presidential Election: September 2024 (due – early elections possible)

Afghanistan is due to hold its next presidential election in September 2024, but an early election is possible. Elections tend to be marred by violence, administrative problems, and lengthy delays. The current president, Ashraf Ghani, ultimately won re-election in a very tense vote and a tense four months in between the election and the final declaration of results. The election took place amid attacks by the Taliban, which had ordered Afghans not to vote.

Afghan politics are taking place in the context of the United States’ decision to withdraw from Afghanistan.

Robert D. Crews and Wazhmah Osman, Washington Post (July 20, 2021): The Taliban wants to rule Afghanistan again. But the country has changed

Kara Fox and Nic Robertson, CNN (July 20, 2021): Rockets land near Afghanistan’s presidential palace during Eid prayers

Palestinian Authority Presidential and Legislative Elections: Long overdue, postponed indefinitely

The Palestinian Authority has postponed its long overdue elections for the legislature and president, which had been scheduled for May 22 and July 31, respectively. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is currently in year 16 of a four-year term. Similarly, the last Legislative Council elections took place in 2006. 

Since the announcement of the delay, the conflict between Hamas and Israel reignited. Following 11 days of fighting, the parties reached a ceasefire on May 20. More

Adnan Abu Amer, Carnegie Endowment (July 20, 2021): Hamas’ Inability to Capitalize on the War in Gaza: Internal Palestinian political disputes have resumed following the eleven-day Gaza war.

Al Jazeera (July 18, 2021): Palestinian Authority covering up critic’s death, family says: Relatives of Nizar Banat, who died in PA custody, say they have not received the document with the official cause of death.

Turkey General Elections: By June 25, 2023 (snap elections possible)

Although Turkey is not due for general elections until 2023, 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. Freedom House subsequently downgraded Turkey from Partly Free to Not Free in 2018.

More recently, AKP sought to annul the 2019 Istanbul mayoral election after Ekrem İmamoğlu from the main opposition Republican Party (CHP) won (İmamoğlu ultimately won the re-vote and was sworn in as mayor).

Sebnem Arsu und Maximilian Popp, Spiegel International (July 20, 2021): Interview with Former Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu: “Parts of the Government Are Mafia-Like”

Pinar Tremblay, Al-Monitor (July 20, 2021): Erdogan’s game plan for next election involves Kurdish vote

Past Middle East Elections

Iran Presidential and Local Elections: June 18, 2021

Iran held its next presidential election on June 18, 2021, with concurrent local elections. While Iran is far from a free country, and the elections are largely rigged, voters have in the past had a degree of choice. However, this year’s election was even more rigged than usual. The Guardian Council (which must approve all candidacies) allowed seven candidates on the ballot and mostly excluded moderates and establishment figures, among them a number of prominent names. This seemed to be calculated to clear the way for hardline judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi to win, and he did in fact win. More

Reuters (July 20, 2021): Water crisis protests continue in Iran, with chants in capital

Candice Jebreel, Jerusalem Post (July 20, 2021): Explainer: Who is Iranian President-Elect Ebrahim Raisi?

Benoit Faucon and Ian Talley, Wall Street Journal (July 18, 2021): U.S. Weighs New Sanctions on Iran’s Oil Sales to China if Nuclear Talks Fail

Bijan Ahmadi, Younes Zangiabadi, and Arta Moeini, The National Interest (July 15, 2021): The West Must Expect Strategic Continuity from Ebrahim Raisi’s Iran

Algeria Snap Legislative Elections: June 12, 2021, followed by local elections later this year

Algeria held snap elections 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 the elections.

Rania Hamdi, The Africa Report (July 19, 2021): Algeria’s Islamist parties are joining the opposition

Malia Bouattia, The New Arab (July 16, 2021): Weary protesters see straight through Tebboune’s ‘new Algeria’

Reuters (July 14, 2021): Algeria leader pardons protest movement members

Syria Presidential Election: May 26, 2021

Syria held its presidential election for May 26, 2021. The election happened the context of Syria’s ongoing civil war and humanitarian crisis. Elections under the regime of Bashar al-Assad are widely considered to be a sham. More

The Economist (July 19, 2021): Pop a pill, save a dictator: Syria has become a narco-state

AFP (July 17, 2021): Syria’s Assad starts new term after re-election dismissed by international community

Middle East Elections Coming Up in 2021 and 2022

Pakistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir Elections: July 25, 2021

Jordan Local and Gubernatorial Elections: August 2021 (due)

Morocco Legislative, Provincial, and Local Elections: September 8, 2021

Iraq Parliamentary Elections: October 10, 2021

Qatar Shura Council Elections: October 2021 (proposed)

Libya Presidential and Parliamentary Elections: December 24, 2021

Lebanon Parliamentary Elections: May 2022 (due)

Bahrain Parliamentary Elections: November 2022 (due)

Algeria Local Elections: November 2022 (due – earlier elections possible)

Egypt Local Elections: Due and discussed, but not scheduled

Oman Municipal 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.