Americas This Week: June 4, 2022

Americas Elections Weekly News Review: June 4, 2022 - 21votes

June 4, 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.

A market in Bogotá, Colombia. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Alvaro Santamaria R. (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.

Catherine Osborn, Foreign Policy (June 3, 2022): Colombia’s Fight for the Center: An anti-establishment candidate’s late surge in the country’s presidential race has transformed the election

Michael Soltys, Buenos Aires Times (June 3, 2022): Could Bogotá become Petrograd? Argentina’s past might herald Colombia’s present, which might in turn offer clues for our future

CBC News (June 3, 2022): Can Colombia’s election end the war on drugs?

New York Times (May 29, 2022): In Colombia, a Leftist and a Right-Wing Populist Move on to June Runoff

Matthew Bristow and Andrea Jaramillo, Bloomberg (May 29, 2022): Colombian Outsider Makes Runoff With Real Shot at Presidency

Chile Constitutional Referendum: September 4, 2022

Chile will hold a constitutional referendum on September 4, 2022, following over a year of meetings of the Constitutional Convention, which was elected in May 2021. The constitutional process began in response to a series of violent protests and riots in 2019.

The referendum follows last year’s presidential and legislative elections. Far-left socialist former student leader Gabriel Boric defeated Jose Antonio Kast, a far-right legislator, in the runoff. Although results of the July 18 presidential primaries seemed to indicate that voters seem to want a return to moderation, the center-right candidate from former president Sebastián Pińera’s coalition did not even make the runoff.

However, the legislative elections were a bit more complicated. Piñera’s Chile Podemos Más coalition won the most seats in the Senate, and the Chamber of Deputies is split nearly evenly between right and left-leaning members. These results will potentially constrain Boric’s ability to pursue a far-left agenda. All newly-elected officials took office in March 2022.

The 2021 elections took 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. The Constitutional Convention consists overwhelmingly of left-wing members and could potentially be out of step with the broader Chilean electorate. Because voting in the referendum is mandatory, the new constitution may not be approved.

Ryan Dube, Wall Street Journal (May 30, 2022): Chile’s Proposed Constitution Could Upend Its Free-Market Model

Brazil General Elections (Presidential, Legislative, State, and Local): 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 third-way candidates plan to challenge both Bolsonaro and Lula. 

As Latin America’s biggest economy, Brazil’s politics have an impact on the entire region and – increasingly – on the world stage. More

Scott Hamilton, Global Americans (June 1, 2022): Dropping the Ball on Brazil

The Conversation (May 30, 2022): Elections in Brazil: Lula faces many challenges running against Jair Bolsonaro

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

Argentina is due to hold presidential and legislative elections in October or November 2023.

Argentina held midterm legislative elections in November 2021, along with a few sets of provincial elections on various dates. The ruling Peronists took a major hit, losing control of the legislature for the first time in decades.

Argentina’s 2021 elections – both provincial and legislative – happened 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.

Agustino Fontevecchia, Forbes (June 3, 2022): The Political Sunset Of Argentina’s Cristina Kirchner

Haiti Parliamentary and Presidential Elections: Delayed

Haiti had planned to hold presidential and parliamentary elections this year in the midst of political and humanitarian crises, but the elections have now been delayed.

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). Prime Minister Ariel Henry is now leading the country, and has said he will hold elections, but has not specified a date.

Tanvi Nagpal, Devex (June 2, 2022): Opinion: Why localization is the only way forward in Haiti

Past Americas Elections

Canada, Ontario Provincial Elections: June 2, 2022, followed by other provincial and local elections this year

Canada holds several sets of provincial and local elections this year.

Most recently: Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, held provincial elections on June 2, 2022. The Progressive Conservatives, under populist leader Doug Ford, won a second term in a landslide. Ford made an appeal to union workers and other blue-collar voters and managed to flip seats previously held by the leftist New Democratic Party (NDP).

These follow the September 2021 snap federal elections, which took place two years early. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hoped to win a majority for his Liberals. His gamble did not pay off. He ended up remaining in power, but once again helming a minority government, this time with a confidence-and-supply deal with the NDP. The arrangement could bring stability until 2025, when the next elections are due.

Anna Mehler Paperny and Ismail Shakil, Reuters (June 2, 2022): Ontario premier Ford returns with bigger majority as conservatives win second term

El Salvador Legislative and Local Elections: February 28, 2021

El Salvador held legislative and local elections on February 28, 2021. Allies of populist president Nayib Bukele won in a landslide, allowing him to consolidate his hold on the country with a legislative majority. Critics note growing authoritarianism. More

Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times (June 9, 2022): As El Salvador’s president tries to silence free press, journalist brothers expose his ties to street gangs

Chase Harrison, Americas Quarterly (May 31, 2022): In El Salvador, a Chastened Opposition Looks to Find Its Way: Traditional and new parties alike are dogged by a charismatic president and weak organizational structures

Global Geopolitics in the Americas

DW (June 9, 2022): Biden seeks to counter China at Americas summit

Hari Seshasayee, Observer Research Foundation (June 6, 2022): Latin America: The last frontier for India’s foreign policy

Americas Elections Coming Up in 2022 and 2023

Colombia Presidential Runoff: May 29, 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 This Week: June 3, 2022

Asia/Pacific Elections Weekly News Review: June 2, 2022 - 21votes

June 3, 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.

Gyeongdong Market in Seoul, South Korea, one of the biggest herbal medicine markets in the country. Conservatives won the recent local elections, following their victory in the March presidential election. Wikimedia/Gaël Chardon (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Upcoming Asia/Pacific Elections

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 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 has been gaining ground, reorganizing itself into the Candlelight Party and hoping to make gains in upcoming elections.

Andrew Haffner, Al Jazeera (June 3, 2022): ‘We’re back’: Cambodia’s embattled opposition hopes for revival

Kasit Piromya, The Diplomat (June 1, 2022): Cambodia Needs Democracy, Not Another Electoral Charade: When Cambodians vote in commune elections this weekend, the world should not be fooled by the appearance of political pluralism

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.

AP (June 3, 2022): How India’s Hindu nationalists are using a long-dead emperor for anti-Muslim politics

Harikishan Sharma, Indian Express (June 2, 2022): Narendra Modi, the first Prime Minister of India to have been born post Independence

Malavika Kaur Makol and Adrija Chatterjee, Bloomberg (June 2, 2022): Surging tomato prices in India could sour Modi’s re-election ambitions

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

Papua New Guinea holds parliamentary and local elections this summer. The start date was delayed due to the death of the deputy prime minister.

Papua New Guinea’s politics are chaotic, and no single party has ever commanded a majority in parliament. Coalitions shift frequently. Current prime minister James Marape came into power in May 2018 when former prime minister Peter O’Neill lost a no-confidence vote after being in power for eight years.

Papua New Guinea’s parliament currently has no women – it is one of only three all-male parliaments in the world. However, efforts are being made to elect women this year.

AFP, SBS (June 3, 2022): China, Papua New Guinea discuss free-trade deal in middle of election campaign

Michael Smith, Australian Financial Review (June 2, 2022): PNG election hopeful wants to work with Australia and China

Natalie Whiting, ABC News Australia (May 31, 2022): China’s Foreign Minister is on a charm offensive in the Pacific, but he’ll land in PNG during an awkward time

Radio New Zealand (June 1, 2022): PNG elections: Female candidates ‘young and determined’

Anthony Galloway, Sydney Morning Herald (May 29, 2022): More than 100 Australian Defense Force personnel to be sent to PNG to help with election, cyber threats

Japan House of Councillors Elections: July 25, 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 25, 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.

Elaine Lies, Reuters (May 30, 2022): Japan PM Kishida’s support hits highest ever as election nears -Nikkei

Kantaro Komiya, Reuters (May 29, 2022): Japan governor wins re-election, NHK says, in race seen key to nuclear restart

Taiwan Local Elections: November 26, 2022

Taiwan, a robust democracy, has scheduled “nine-in-one” local elections for November 26, 2022. Voters will elect nine categories of local officials.

The country held presidential and legislative elections in January 2020. President Tsai Ing-Wen’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won the legislative elections and Tsai herself was re-elected president. The DPP, established in 1986 during Taiwan’s transition to democracy, supports Taiwan’s independence. The main opposition Kuomintang (KMT), founded by Sun Yat-Sen, favors closer ties to the mainland, which it ruled from 1925 to 1948.

The next presidential and legislative elections are due in 2024. Relations with China are a dominant theme in Taiwan’s political debate.

Kathrin Hille, Financial Times (June 1, 2022): Taiwan’s opposition tries to claw back America’s trust: Kuomintang is acutely aware it needs Washington’s approval to return to power

Nepal General Elections: Possibly in 2022

Several sets of elections could take place 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

Smriti Pantha, JURIST (June 2, 2022): Nepal dispatch: local elections reflect support for younger, independent candidates for office

Ram Kumar, OnlineKhabar (May 29, 2022): Can Maoists win back the trust of the people in urban Nepal?

MyRepublica (May 28, 2022): Local elections: 385 independent candidates secure victory

Tika R Pradhan, Kathmandu Post (May 28, 2022): How women candidates fared in local polls: Female deputy chiefs are fewer but there are more chiefs compared to last elections

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

Thailand is due to hold general elections by March 23, 2023, but early elections are possible. In addition, various types of local elections are taking place at various times. These elections are taking place in the context of unprecedented protests against the monarchy, and calls for unprecedented types of reforms. These protests have been going on for months. Elections are due in early 2023, but various stakeholders have been calling for early elections amid dissatisfaction with the military government, which came to power in a 2014 coup.

Most recently: Bangkok holds its first gubernatorial election in nine years on May 22.

Thailand is a long-standing United States ally. During the Cold War, each saw the other as an important bulwark against Chinese and Vietnamese aggression. However, the two countries are growing father apart as each country’s view of existential threats evolves. More

Marwaan Macan-Markar, Nikkei Asia (June 2, 2022): Is Thailand’s top trio of ex-army chiefs marching into the sunset? Military camp’s loss in Bangkok polls ups pressure on Prayuth-led ‘three Ps’

Sukegawa Seiya, The Diplomat (June 1, 2022): Can Thailand Replicate South Korean Soft Power?

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.

AFP (June 3, 2022): Myanmar junta says it will execute two prominent pro-democracy leaders

Grant Peck, AP (June 3, 2022): Myanmar court says Suu Kyi election fraud trial can continue

Andrew Nachemson and Kyaw Hsan Hlaing, Al Jazeera (June 2, 2022): Shadowy pro-military militias target Myanmar’s anti-coup movement: Lawmakers, activists killed amid concern tit-for-tat retaliatory violence spiralling out of control

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.

Rahul Kumar, Daji World (May 28, 2022): Maldives rolls out the powerful pro-India ‘Baakeenuvey’ campaign to take on China-backed parties

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 politicsMore

Deasy Simandjuntak, East Asia Forum (June 10, 2022): Looking ahead to Indonesia’s 2024 elections

Dr. Rizal Ramli, The Diplomat (June 3, 2022): Is Indonesia’s Grand Experiment with Democracy Coming to an End? A push to allow President Joko Widodo to run for a third term threatens to erode the foundations of the country’s multiparty system

John McBeth, Asia Times (May 29, 2022): Widodo gives a nod to his preferred successor: Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo leads in early opinion surveys but faces high-level resistance from within ruling PDI-P

Sri Lanka Presidential Election: September 2024 and Parliamentary Elections: August 2025 (snap elections possible)

Sri Lanka is due to hold elections in 2024 and 2025, but snap elections could happen due to the current political and economic crisis. The current president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, won the 2019 election, which took place in a tense political climate following the 2019 Easter bombings.

Former president Maithripala Sirisena, who had surprisingly defeated Gotabaya’s brother Mahinda Rajapaksa in the 2015 presidential elections, spearheaded a reform program to reverse many of the autocratic powers Mahinda Rajapaksa had built up. However, since Gotabaya took office, he has systematically dismantled those reforms. As a result, Sri Lanka’s democracy sits on the precipice.

The current political crisis began with a series of street protests over daily power cuts and food shortages. The opposition has called for fresh elections. In an attempt to stabilize the country, Rajapaksa installed his former rival Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister and called for a unity government. Wickremesinghe has served as prime minister several times before, and is broadly liberal and pro-democracy. He has called for greater ties with India, in contrast to Rajapaksa’s moves toward China.

Sri Lanka’s government, dominated by the Sinhalese ethnic group, fought a decades-long civil war with the rebel Tamil Tigers. The war ended in 2009, but tensions reignited in 2019 following the 2019 Easter bombings. Sri Lanka is located strategically in the Indian Ocean. Chinese involvement has raised concerns – Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port has become a textbook example of Chinese debt-trap diplomacy

Sushmitha Ramakrishnan, DW (May 30, 2022): Why young protesters in Sri Lanka are wary of traditional politics

Malaysia Early General Elections: Expected

Malaysia will likely 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. In Malaysia’s federal system, state governments have significant powers to make laws for their own states.

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 as Ismail Sabri Yaakob, from UMNO, became prime minister in August 2021, following protests and general chaos.

Malaysia sits in a key geopolitical location, including the crucial chokepoint of the Strait of Malacca, through which approximately 12 million barrels of oil transit each day, in addition to many other thigns.

Joseph Sipalan and Hadi Azmi, South China Morning Post (June 3, 2022): Malaysia’s PM Ismail Sabri Yaakob faces mounting pressure to call for snap polls, but will he cave?

Nile Bowie, Asia Times (June 3, 2022): Inflation politics a game of chicken in Malaysia

Adib Povera and Arfa Yunus, New Straits Times (June 1, 2022): Ismail Sabri reminds BN to unite, work hard as GE15 likely to be called ‘anytime, from now’

P Prem Kumar, Nikkei Asia (May 31, 2022): Malaysia’s Ismail Sabri resists rush to election as inflation bites: PM wants to ‘wait for right time’ to call polls, eyes GST to ease fiscal strain

Past Asia/Pacific Elections

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 could change under Yoon.

Kim Jaewon, Nikkei Asia (June 2, 2022): Yoon’s conservatives sweep South Korea local elections: New president now has mandate to carry out planned reforms

Jeong-Ho Lee, Bloomberg (June 2, 2022): South Korea’s new president gets boost from provincial elections

Soo-Hyang Choi, Reuters (June 1, 2022): Teen candidates in local S.Korea races reveal youth vote’s power

Sangmi Cha, Bloomberg (May 29, 2022): A 26-Year-Old Sex-Crime Fighter Dives Into South Korean Politics

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

AP (June 3, 2022): China and Australia’s Dueling Pacific Tours Make Final Stops

Meg Hill, The Independent (June 3, 2022): Australia mulls a republic as Jubilee celebrations spread Down Under

Reuters (June 3, 2022): Australia PM Honours Queen Elizabeth Amid Renewed Republican Debate

Ben Westcott, Bloomberg (June 1, 2022): Australia’s History-Making Top Diplomat Faces Down Rising China: Penny Wong is the first openly LGBTQ person to hold the job and she faces an immediate policy crisis in the region

Shweta Sharma, The Independent (May 31, 2022): Australia election: Anthony Albanese secures outright majority, final results show

AFP/JIJI (May 30, 2022): China hawk Peter Dutton elected Australian opposition leader

Kath Sullivan and Jake Evans, ABC News Australia (May 30, 2022): David Littleproud elected to lead the Nationals in opposition after post-election leadership vote

Michelle Grattan, The Conversation (May 30, 2022): New Nationals leader Littleproud says ‘sensible centre’ is where elections are won

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.

Ian C Sayson, Bloomberg (May 31, 2022): Marcos-Linked Stocks Post Windfall Gains in Election Month

Coconuts Manila (June 3, 2022): Imee Marcos denies accusations of historical revisionism, says family only telling ‘their side of the story’

ABC News Australia (May 27, 2022): Fear of history revisionism as Marcos family returns to power sparks panic buying of Philippines history books

JC Gotinga, Vice (May 27, 2022): Marcos Jr Is the New Philippines President. VP Sara Duterte May Be His Biggest Threat

Hong Kong Chief Executive Election: May 8, 2022 (indirect)

On May 8, 2022 (delayed from March), an Election Committee consisting of 1463 people – primarily pro-Beijing politicians and business figures – chose Hong Kong’s Chief Executive. Incumbent Carrie Lam did not run for a second term, and former security chief John Lee was the only candidate to replace her. Overall, the process has been characterized by a lack of transparency and a heavy hand from Beijing. 

This follows the flawed December 2021 legislative elections, which took place after more than a year’s delay. Only candidates deemed “patriotic” were permitted, and as a result, the legislature is now overwhelmingly pro-Beijing.

These last few elections represent the final stage of Beijing’s plan to gut Hong Kong’s democracy, despite promises of “one country, two systems” for 50 years following the 1997 handover from British rule to Beijing rule. The draconian new national security law has led to the imprisonment of pro-democracy candidates, activists, and journalists. Hong Kong has a history of vigorous debate and democratic politics, but discourse has chilled. As a result, over 89,000 residents left Hong Kong in the year after the national security law took effect. More

Trevor Filseth, National Interest (June 6, 2022): Tiananmen Square Commemorations Move to Taiwan Amid Crackdown in Hong Kong

Legu Zhang, (June 3, 2022): After Demolishing True Democracy, Xi Boasts of Hong Kong as Model

Peter Lee, Hong Kong Free Press (June 1, 2022): Hong Kong’s Democratic Party urges next leader to clarify national security boundaries, pardon 2019 protesters

Chen Zifei and Yu Fat, Radio Free Asia (May 30, 2022): Hong Kong leader-in-waiting John Lee officially anointed by Beijing

Timor-Leste Presidential Runoff: April 19, 2022

Timor-Leste (also called East Timor) held a presidential election on March 19. Current president Francisco Guterres, called Lú-Olo, first elected in 2017, trailed former president José Ramos-Horta. Ramos-Horta won the April 19 runoff.

Since winning independence from Indonesia in a referendum 20 years ago, Timor-Leste has become a democracy rated Free by Freedom House, although many challenges remain.

Damien Kingsbury, World Politics Review (June 3, 2022): Political Maneuvering Could Be Leading Timor-Leste Down a Dead End

Ralph Jennings, Voice of America (June 2, 2022): China’s End Game for South Pacific and Why it Matters Now

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.

FAST ultimately won the knife-edge election, but the former prime minister refused to concede and the ensuing political standoff lasted more than three months. Following a court decision, 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.

AFP (May 29, 2022): Samoa signs China deal amid South Pacific push

Asia/Pacific Elections Coming Up in 2022 and 2023

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

Cambodia Local Elections: June 5, 2022

Japan House of Councillors Elections: July 25, 2022 (half of upper house at stake)

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 This Week: June 2, 2022

Eurasia Elections Weekly News Review: June 2, 2022 - 21votes

June 2, 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 Zelyony Bazaar in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan just held a constitutional referendum, but critics call it light on real reform. Photo credit: Flickr/Dan Lundberg (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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

AP (May 31, 2022): Russia’s Alexei Navalny faces extra 15 years in jail over ‘extremism’ claims

Jacob Knutson, Axios (May 31, 2022): Putin critic Navalny says he faces new criminal charge

Haaretz (May 29, 2022): The New Navalny Documentary Will Make You Feel Better About the World

Laura Kelly, The Hill (May 28, 2022): Navalny in prison: How a thorn in Putin’s side reaches the outside world

Moscow Times (May 27, 2022): Local Deputy in Russia’s Far East Urges Putin to End War in Ukraine

AFP (May 27, 2022): Controversial Russia lawmaker to lead ultra-nationalist party

Nadav Gavrielov, New York Times (May 26, 2022): The Dangerous Challenge of Making a Film About Aleksei Navalny

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.

Sara Alsherif, Global Voices (May 27, 2022): In Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, cyberwarfare is a decisive element of the battlefield

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.

Zhanna Tarkhanova, JAMnews (June 1, 2022): Why does Moscow play down S.Ossetia’s attempts to join Russia?

Milord Shengelia and Makhare Atchaidze, OC Media (June 1, 2022): Georgians are split on election quality (May 3, 2022): Georgia Could Be Better Prepared for Membership Bid, EU Ambo Says (May 27, 2022): Parliamentary opposition says gaining EU candidate status an “opportunity not to be missed” in letter to PM

Moldova Local Elections: October 2023 (due)

Moldova is due to hold local elections in October 2023. After that, a presidential election is due in 2024 and parliamentary elections are due in 2025.

The last elections were snap parliamentary elections on July 11, 2021 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.

Russia has ramped up its harassment Moldova following the victories of Sandu and her allies. Moreover, Russia instigated and continues to perpetuate a frozen conflict in Transnistria, where 1,400 Russian troops are stationed – an obstacle to Moldova’s integration into Euro-Atlantic structures. Additionally, Transnistria’s rampant organized crime and corruption threaten Moldova’s stability. Russia also stokes separatism in Gagauzia, a Turkic-speaking region of Moldova. More

Borja Lasheras, CEPA (May 27, 2022): Moldova: Time to Banish Europe’s Gray Zones

AFP (May 26, 2022): Pro-Russian ex-president of Moldova placed under house arrest

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

Mariya Gordeyeva, Reuters (June 2, 2022): Kazakhstan referendum may bolster Tokayev’s second-term ambitions

Artyem Sochnev, Eurasianet (June 2, 2022): Kazakhstan: All politics is local

Almaz Kumenov, Eurasianet (June 1, 2022): Kazakhstan: Weak information campaign leaves voters in the dark ahead of constitutional referendum

Sophia Nina Burna-Asefi, The Diplomat (May 27, 2022): The Russia-Ukraine Conflict: Implications for Kazakhstan’s Energy Sector

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

Joanna Kakissis and Dawid Krawczyk, NPR (May 31, 2022 – audio): These Belarusians join the fight against Russia, defying their Moscow-backed regime

Armenia Snap Elections: June 20, 2021

Armenia held snap parliamentary elections on June 20, 2021 in an effort to defuse a political crisis following a defeat in the recent Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Pre-election polls suggested a close contest between acting prime minister Nikol Pashinyan and former president Robert Kocharyan; however, Pashinyan ended up winning by a significant margin. Political tensions remain.

Pashinyan, a former MP and journalist, was originally elected prime minister in December 2018 in snap elections. The snap elections followed a series of protests that led to the resignation of Serzh Sargsyan, Armenia’s former president who became prime minister in an attempt to remain in power when faced with term limits. This became known as Armenia’s “Velvet Revolution.” The Economist named Armenia country of the year for 2018.

Some had hoped that these steps toward greater democracy would convince Armenia to move away from its historical alignment with Russia and toward the west, but that has not largely happened, for a variety of reasons.

Thomas de Waal, Foreign Afairs (May 30, 2022): Nagorno-Karabakh in the Shadow of Ukraine: What Russia’s War Means for Armenia and Azerbaijan

The Geopolitical Chessboard

Catherine Putz, The Diplomat (June 9, 2022): Geopolitics and China’s Engagement in Central Asia

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.

Europe This Week: June 1, 2022

Europe Elections Weekly News Review: June 1, 2022 - 21votes

June 1, 2022

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 market on Rue Mouffetard in Paris, France. Photo credit: Wikimedia/David Monniaux (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Upcoming Europe Elections

France Legislative Elections: June 12 and 19, 2022

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.

In total, 12 candidates qualified for the first round of the presidential election (by obtaining 500 signatures of elected officials). Pre-election polls were all over the place, but the runoff was a rematch between Macron and the far-right Marine Le Pen, whom Macron defeated in 2017. Macron once again won. However, the upcoming legislative elections could create challenges for his agenda if his allies do not win a majority.

David Basso, Euractiv (June 1, 2022): French Left alliance could topple Macron’s presidential majority

Bill Wirtz, The Dispatch (May 31, 2022): Macron’s Next Challenge: He won reelection, but now his party is trying to fending off major competition from far-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon in parliamentary elections

Clea Caulcutt, Politico (May 30, 2022): France’s culture wars reignited after Macron appoints ‘woke’ minister

Bosnia and Herzegovina General Elections: October 2, 2022

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) holds general elections on October 2, 2022. The 2020 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. However, BiH faces a number of problems, including poor economic prospects, incompetent governance, and bitter political fights. 

BiH consists of two entities: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, populated mostly by Muslim Bosniaks and Catholic Croats, and the Republika Srpska, with mostly Orthodox Serbs. Recently, tensions have flared as Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik has used increasingly inflammatory rhetoric and taken actions that some analysts see as moving toward secession. According to Reuters, “The Balkan country is going through its worst political crisis since the end of a war in the 1990s after Bosnian Serbs blocked decision-making in national institutions and launched a process to withdraw from the state armed forces, tax system and judiciary.”

Both Bosnian Serbs and Bosnian Croats have threatened to boycott the upcoming elections. The tensions have gone Europe-wide as Croatia’s president has threatened to veto NATO membership for Finland and Sweden unless Bosnia changes its electoral code.

Euractiv (May 27, 2022): US, EU criticise Bosnian Croat obstruction of election funding

Past Europe Elections

Albania Presidential Election (indirect): Ongoing

Albania’s indirect presidential election began on May 16, 2022 and continued until parliament chose General Major Bajram Begaj after failing to choose a compromise candidate. Most of the opposition boycotted the voting.

Albania held parliamentary elections on April 25, 2021 in a tense political climate with several violent incidents. The elections were close, and the incumbent Socialist Party won a third term in office, defeating the main opposition center-right Democratic Party. 

After World War II, Albania became an isolationist communist dictatorship, one of the most brutal regimes in the world. However, since communism collapsed in 1990, the country has held competitive elections and several transitions of power between political parties. Albania joined NATO in 2009 and is currently a candidate for EU membership. While Albania has had less engagement with China than other countries in the Western Balkans, Beijing is trying to make inroads.  More

Fjori Sinoruka, Balkan Insight (May 30, 2022): Albania Parties Fail to Elect ‘Consensus’ President

United Kingdom Local Elections, including Northern Ireland Assembly: May 5, 2022

The United Kingdom held local elections for some local councils, as well as the Northern Ireland Assembly, on May 5.

Northern Ireland’s nationalist Sinn Féin became the biggest party in the Assembly following these elections. Although its candidates ran on bread and butter issues, the win could accelerate calls for a referendum on Northern Ireland’s status.

In England, the Liberal Democrats were the big winner, and the Conservatives lost several London councils that they had controlled for decades. Nonetheless, there were very few calls for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign. Johnson subsequently faced a no-confidence motion, which he survived.

Jude Webber, Financial Times (May 30, 2022): DUP again blocks appointment of Northern Ireland assembly speaker

Jonathan McCambridge, Rebecca Black, and Dominic McGrath, Irish Examiner (May 30, 2022): Sinn Féin to ‘keep trying’ to get a Stormont speaker elected

Stuart Lau, Politico (May 29, 2022): Johnson, many Tories would lose seats if UK election were tomorrow, new poll shows

Jude Webber, Financial Times (May 26, 2022): Stormont to be recalled in effort to end Northern Ireland political paralysis: US delegation fails to defuse tensions triggered by dispute over post-Brexit trading relations

Slovenia Parliamentary Elections: April 24, 2022

Slovenia held general elections on April 24, 2022. The incumbent government, a conservative minority coalition headed by populist Janez Janša (which came to power in January 2020 after the center-left minority government of Marjan Šarec collapsed) lost. Political newcomer Robert Golob, who founded the liberal Freedom Movement in January, won on a platform of restoring press freedoms and democratic institutions – Janša had been accused of authoritarian backsliding during his time in office.

Marja Novak, Voice of America (May 29, 2022): Hopes for Reset as Slovenia’s New Leader Pledges Media Protections

Serbia Presidential and Parliamentary Elections: April 3, 2022

Serbia held early presidential and legislative elections on April 3, following a constitutional referendum on January 16 in which voters approved constitutional changes related to the judiciary – a move some hope will bring Serbia closer to EU membership. President Alexander Vucic won re-election.

The previous elections, snap parliamentary elections in June 2020, took place in a climate of mistrust. Many opposition parties boycotted, and therefore, Vucic’s Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) dominated. Vucic announced that the new parliament would not serve a full term, and that the Serbia would hold both presidential and parliamentary elections by April 2022.

Euractiv (June 1, 2022): Opposition not present as Vucic sworn in for second term (May 28, 2022): 11 Votes Cost Ethnic Albanians Representation in Serbian Parliament

Bulgaria Parliamentary Elections, Take 3 and Presidential Election: November 14, 2021

Bulgaria held a presidential election on November 14 along with parliamentary elections – the third this year after no one could form a government following the first two. It appears that the third time was a charm, as a new political party called We Continue the Change (whose founders tout their Harvard credentials) formed a broad coalition.

The elections brought major change, ousting former PM Boyko Borissov’s center-right GERB, which had governed for most of the last 12 years. The country also saw the rise of a party called There Is Such a People (ITN), led by TV star Stanislav Trifonov, which came in second in the April elections and first in the July elections. Despite being edged out by We Continue the Change in November, ITN will be part of the new coalition. The other parties in the government will be the Bulgarian Socialist Party and the centrist/center-right Democratic Bulgaria coalition.

Bulgaria is a member of NATO and the European Union (EU); however, it remains the poorest and most corrupt member of the EU. Meanwhile, Russia seeks to influence Bulgaria. Most recently, it cut off gas exports to Bulgaria (and Poland) in retaliation for EU sanctions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Bulgaria now faces the possibility of yet another set of early elections following ITN’s withdrawal from the coalition, sparked by the PM’s plans to lift the veto on North Macedonia joining the EU. More

Reuters (May 27, 2022): Bulgaria sticks to plan to adopt the euro in 2024 amid coalition squabbles

Europe Elections Coming Up in 2022 and 2023

Albania Presidential Election (indirect): Ongoing

France Legislative Elections: June 12 and 19, 2022

Croatia, Early Local Elections in Split: June 26, 2022

Austria Presidential Election: Fall 2022 (due)

Sweden Parliamentary and Local Elections: September 11, 2022

Latvia Parliamentary Elections: October 1, 2022

Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidential and Legislative Elections: October 2, 2022

Germany, Lower Saxony State Elections: October 9, 2022

Czech Republic Local and Partial Senate Election: October 2022

Spain, Andalusia Regional Elections: Between June and October 2022 (due)

Slovenia Presidential and Local Elections: October/November 2022 (due)

Slovakia Local Elections: November 2022 (due)

Czech Republic Presidential Election: By January 2023

Austria, Lower Austria State Elections: January 2023 (due)

Cyprus Presidential Election: February 2023 (due)

Monaco Parliamentary Elections: February 2023 (due)

Austria, Tyrol State Elections: February 2023 (due)

Estonia General Elections: By March 5, 2023

Netherlands Provincial Council and Water Authority Elections: March 2023 (due)

Austria, Carinthia State Elections: March 2023 (due)

Finland Parliamentary Elections: By April 2023

Montenegro Presidential Election: April 2023 (due)

Austria, Salzburg State Elections: April 2023 (due)

Spain Local Elections and Various Regional Elections: May 28, 2023

Germany, Bremen State Elections: May 2023 (due)

Greece Local Elections: May 2023 (due)

Latvia Indirect Presidential Election: May 2023 (due)

Italy General Elections: By June 1, 2023

Denmark General Elections: By June 4, 2023

Greece Parliamentary Elections: By August 6, 2023

Norway Local Elections: September 2023

Switzerland Federal Parliamentary Elections: October 2023 (due)

Luxembourg General Elections: October 2023

Bulgaria Local Elections: October 2023

Germany, Hesse and Bavaria State Elections: October 2023 (due)

Finland, Åland Elections: By October 2023

Poland Parliamentary and Local Elections: By November 11, 2023

Spain General Elections: By December 10, 2023 (snap elections possible

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 This Week: May 31, 2022

Middle East Elections Weekly News Review: May 31, 2022 - 21votes

May 31, 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.

A market in Tunis, Tunisia. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Fares Rjeibi (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.

Fitch Ratings (May 30, 2022): Tunisia’s Political Tensions Continue to Hamper Reform

AFP (May 26, 2022): Tunisian president decrees July 25 referendum on ‘new republic’

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.

The UN has urged elections by June 2022. Libya’s parliament had said elections would not take place this year, but the new interim prime minister, Abdelhamid Dbeibah, later said that the elections would happen by June.

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

Soufan Center (May 31, 2022): IntelBrief: Rival Governments Claim Power in Libya

Rami Musa, AP (May 26, 2022): Rival Libya leader says he has no plans to rule from Tripoli

Daily Sabah with AA (May 26, 2022): Libya’s PM Dbeibah proposes holding polls at end of 2022

International Crisis Group (May 25, 2022): Reuniting Libya, Divided Once More

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.

Pelin Ünker, DW (May 31, 2022): Turkey seeks to tighten media control with ‘fake news’ bill

Gurkan Ozturan, Balkan Insight (May 31, 2022): Turkey’s Disinformation Law Will Strike Further Blow to Media Freedom

Ruth Michaelson, The Guardian (May 30, 2022): Will Istanbul’s mayor be Erdoğan’s nemesis – or banned from politics?

Selcan Hacaoglu, Bloomberg (May 27, 2022): Turkey’s Rising Anti-Refugee Sentiment Adds to Erdogan’s Challenges: The hosting of millions of migrants has become a major political issue for the president ahead of 2023 elections

Pakistan General Elections: By October 12, 2023

Pakistan is due to hold its next general elections by October 12, 2023. However, Prime Minister Imran Khan has surprisingly called for early elections after surviving a no-confidence vote. However, it is unclear when – or whether – the snap elections will take place.

Khan, a former cricket star, came to power following the turbulent 2018 elections, and his time in office has not been calm. In 2020, his party took a major political hit when it failed to win a majority in the Senate, and he has faced several no-confidence threats. Instability has been a characteristic of Pakistan’s politics since its founding. In fact, no prime minister has completed a full term since the country’s founding in 1947.

Pakistan is a geopolitical hotspot, between the conflict in Kashmir and continued heavy military presence and China’s increased presence through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Hasan Ali, Time (May 29, 2022): The U.S. Is Losing a Strategic, Nuclear-Armed Ally to China

Ifra Javed, The New Arab (May 28, 2022): The need for early elections amidst Pakistan’s political chaos

Ayaz Gul, Voice of America (May 26, 2022): Pakistan’s Ex-PM Khan Gives Government 6 Days to Announce Election

Asif Shahzad, Reuters (May 26, 2022): Ousted Pakistani PM Khan issues ultimatum after disbanding violent protest march

International Crisis Group (May 25, 2022): Keeping Turmoil at Bay in Pakistan’s Polarised Polity

Past Middle East Elections

Lebanon Parliamentary Elections: May 15, 2022

Lebanon held parliamentary elections for May 15, 2022. Hezbollah and its allies lost their majority in parliament, and a number of independents won seats.

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 these elections could bring a hint of change.

David Daoud, Atlantic Council (May 31, 2022): Lebanon just had an election. Its result? Curb the optimism

William Christou, The New Arab (May 31, 2022): Nabih Berri re-elected again as Lebanon house speaker, despite opposition

Hussain Abdul-Hussain, Foreign Policy (May 31, 2022): Lebanon Has an Opposition Movement Again: A new coalition could check—or even dislodge—Hezbollah and its iron grip.

Zeina Karam, Times of Israel (May 26, 2022): Lebanon’s nascent, fragmented reform movement faces tough road ahead

Hussein Dakroub, Al Arabiya (May 24, 2022): Lebanon’s election results set to bring little political change

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

Mustafa Shilani, Kurdistan24 (May 31, 2022): A ‘new initiative’ to end Iraq’s political impasse will be announced in June: Official

Cathrin Schaer, DW (May 31, 2022): Could Iraq’s political gridlock be a good sign for its democracy?

Azhar Al-Rubaie, Al Jazeera (May 30, 2022): Iraqi deadlock continues with elites unable to form government: Iraq’s Sadrists, the biggest grouping in parliament, have been unable to form a government since October’s elections

AP (May 26, 2022): Iraqi lawmakers pass bill criminalizing any ties with Israel

Shelly Kittleson, Al-Monitor (May 25, 2022): Iraq’s Kurdish parties struggle to unite amid deep divisions

Israel Parliamentary Elections, Take 4: March 23, 2021

On March 23, 2021, Israel held its fourth general election in two years after the collapse of the unity government of Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz. Neither Netanyahu’s allies nor his opponents won a majority. Netanyahu, whose conservative Likud party won the most seats, had the first chance to form a coalition, but he failed. Subsequently, Yair Lapid from the centrist Yesh Atid formed a broad coalition with conservative Naftali Bennett, with Bennett as prime minister for a time before rotating the position to Lapid. A number of other parties are in the coalition, which passed a Knesset vote on June 14, thus ending Netanyahu’s 12 years in office. However, the coalition remains tenuous.

Local elections in Jerusalem are due on October 31, 2023 More

William A. Galston, Wall Street Journal (May 31, 2022): Israel’s Politics Look Like America’s

Times of Israel (May 28, 2022): Netanyahu-led opposition bloc gains ground with voters, nearing majority, poll finds

Egypt Parliamentary Elections: October-December 2020

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

AP (May 29, 2022): Egypt court sentences 2 aged Islamist leaders to 15 years

AFP (May 25, 2022): Egypt sentences ex-presidential candidate to 15 years: judiciary

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: October 1, 2022

Bahrain Parliamentary Elections: November 2022 (due)

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

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