Africa This Week: May 30, 2022

Africa Elections Weekly News Review: May 30, 2022 - 21votes

May 30, 2022

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

A market in Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Creative Studio (CC BY 3.0)

Upcoming Africa Elections

Republic of the Congo Legislative and Local Elections: July 10, 2022

The Republic of the Congo (sometimes called Congo-Brazzaville) will hold legislative and local elections on July 10, 2022. These follow last year’s presidential election. Denis Sassou Nguesso, who has been president almost continuously since 1979 and rules with an iron fist, won re-election. Elections have not been free or fair. More

Loïcia Martial, RFI (May 26, 2022): Congo-B: the opposition divided on its participation in the next legislative elections

Kenya General Elections: August 9, 2022

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

Kenyan politics is highly polarized with a strong ethnic component.

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

James Okong’o, AFP (May 30, 2022): False political quotes fuel online disinformation ahead of Kenya election

Joachim Buwembo, The East African (May 28, 2022): Why Ugandans panic when Kenya ‘renovates its roof’ every five years

Patrick Anam, The Diplomat (May 27, 2022): Is Japan Beginning to Overtake China on Infrastructure Financing in Kenya? A closer look at the trends and differences in Japanese vs. Chinese lending to Kenya

Charlie Mitchell, African Business (May 26, 2022): Kenya elections: Ruto and Odinga square up to fight for presidency: Kenya’s August presidential elections have profound implications for growth and development across East Africa. What are the issues the candidates have to address?

Tom Wolf, The Elephant (May 24, 2022): Why Opinion Polls May Not Always Predict Election Outcomes in Kenya

Son Gatitu, The Africa Report (May 24, 2022): Kenya 2022: Who is Rigathi Gachagua, Ruto’s running mate?

Angola Presidential and Legislative Elections: August 24, 2022

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

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

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

Jon Schubert and Gilson Lazaro, African Arguments (May 26, 2022): Angola’s regime pushes back against a growing and united opposition

Lesotho General Elections: September or October 2022

Lesotho is due to hold general elections in September or October 2022, for the third time in six years.

Liesl Louw-Vaudran, ISS Today (May 24, 2022): Red flags ahead of Lesotho’s October elections: Parliamentarians urgently need to vote on a reform bill that can bring some political stability to Lesotho

Somaliland Presidential Election: November 13, 2022

Somaliland plans to hold a presidential election on November 13, 2022, following long-delayed parliamentary and local elections that finally took place on May 31, 2021. In those elections, the two main opposition parties, Waddani and UCID, together won more seats in parliament than the governing Kulmiye party. Waddani and UCID will team up to choose a parliament speaker and on local councils (where they also won). Somaliland is a presidential system, so there’s no PM. But it is significant for democracy that the opposition won the “midterms.”

President Muse Bihi Abdi from Kulmiye is eligible to seek a second term in 2022.

Somaliland has de facto but not internationally-recognized independence from Somalia, and has a much more developed democracy, with direct elections. It is located on the Bab el-Mandeb, a strait through which most oil and gas from the Persian Gulf – and a lot of other international commerce – transits. Thus the geopolitical stakes are high. More

Edward Cavanough, ABC News Australia (June 5, 2022): The small African state of Somaliland legally doesn’t exist. But Taiwan has spied an opportunity to make its mark

Nigeria General Elections: February 18, 2023

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

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

Al Jazeera (May 29, 2022): Nigeria’s PDP picks Atiku Abubakar to run for president in 2023: Former vice president to launch third presidential bid after winning People’s Democratic Paty primary

AFP (May 28, 2022): Nigerian opposition votes in primaries for 2023 election candidate

Reuters (May 28, 2022): Nigeria’s Jonathan can contest presidential elections next year, court rules

South Sudan Elections: By March 2023 (planned)

South Sudan plans to hold elections by March 2023, the first since independence in 2011. Salva Kiir had been president of the semi-autonomous region while it was still part of Sudan, and he remained in office following independence. The legislature’s mandate expired in 2015 (it had been elected in 2010, before independence), and has been extended several times. Additional election delays are possible.

Sam Mednick, The New Humanitarian (May 30, 2022): As elections loom, South Sudan’s sluggish peace deal fuels further instability and violence

Zimbabwe General Elections: July 2023 (due)

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

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

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

Farai Shawn Matiashe, The Africa Report (May 27, 2022): Zimbabwe: Battle for control of Harare City Council rages on

ISS Today (May 23, 2022): Courage, charisma not enough to defeat Zanu-PF in Zimbabwe’s 2023 elections

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

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

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

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

The DRC faces severe political and security crises.

International Crisis Group (May 25, 2022): Easing the Turmoil in the Eastern DR Congo and Great Lakes

Africanews with AFP (May 30, 2022): African Union chief ‘gravely concerned’ by Rwanda-DRC tension

Channels (May 25, 2022): Tensions Rise Ahead Of DR Congo Presidential Election

Ikaba Koyi, Al Jazeera (May 24, 2022): Q&A: DRC has more to lose than gain in regional bloc – opposition

Sudan General Elections: By 2024 (due – unclear following coup)

Sudan plans to hold general elections by 2024, the culmination of a five-year transition to democracy that began with the July 2019 removal of dictator Omar al-Bashir following several months of protests. Al-Bashir was removed in a military coup, and a junta ruled briefly, but entered into an agreement with the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC), a wide-ranging coalition of opposition groups, to transition the country to democracy. Civil servant and diplomat Abdalla Hamdok became prime minister.

However, another coup in October 2021 returned Sudan to military rule. Hamdok resigned. Protests continue and the country’s political future remains uncertain.

DW (May 29, 2022): Sudan’s military leader lifts state of emergency

Jason Burke and Zeinab Mohammed Salih, The Guardian (May 28, 2022): ‘Our friends didn’t die in vain’: Sudan’s activists aim to topple military regime

Mali Presidential and Legislative Elections: Delayed to December 2025

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

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

Damilola Banjo, Passblue (May 31, 2022): As Russia’s Wagner Group Operates in Mali, the Country’s Civilian Deaths Multiply

Alex Thurston, World Politics Review (May 25, 2022): Mali’s Junta Is Rewriting West Africa’s Playbook on Post-Coup ‘Transitions’

Past Africa Elections

Somalia, Indirect Presidential Election: May 15, 2022

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

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

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

Somalia’s strategic location means that instability has impact beyond its borders. More

The New Arab (May 30, 2022): New Somalia president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud calls for reconciliation as US troops return

The Conversation (May 27, 2022): Somalia’s new president Hassan Sheikh: his strengths and weaknesses

Jack Detsch, Foreign Policy (May 26, 2022): Somalia’s al Qaeda Branch Has Gotten ‘Bigger, Stronger, and Bolder’ Since U.S. Exit

Bloomberg (May 24, 2022): Outgoing Somali President Admits Sending 5,000 Troops to Eritrea

Uganda General Elections: January 14, 2021

Uganda held presidential and legislative elections on January 14, 2021. President Yoweri Museveni has held power since 1986, but this time faced possibly his biggest challenge yet in the form of 37-year-old pop star Bobi Wine. Following the elections, the government launched a brutal crackdown on the opposition. More

Reuters (May 26, 2022): Detained Ugandan opposition figure charged with inciting violence

Elias Biryabarema, Reuters (May 24, 2022): Uganda arrests opposition’s Besigye again, breaks up price protests

Coups, Russia, France, Geopolitics

Joseph Siegle and Jeffrey Smith, Foreign Policy (May 30, 2022): Putin’s World Order Would Be Devastating for Africa: Moscow is already deeply involved in destabilizing wars

Todd Prince, RFE/RL (May 24, 2022): Expansion Or Contraction? How Putin’s War In Ukraine Affects His Efforts In Africa

Human Rights Watch (May 24, 2022): AU: Focus on Root Causes of Conflict, Political Instability

Africa Elections Coming Up in 2022 and 2023

Nigeria, Gubernatorial Election in Ekiti State: June 18, 2022

Nigeria, Gubernatorial Election in Osun State: July 16, 2022

Senegal Legislative Elections: July 31, 2022

Republic of Congo Legislative Elections: July 10, 2022

Kenya Presidential and Legislative Elections: August 9, 2022

Angola Presidential and Legislative Elections: August 24, 2022

Lesotho Parliamentary Elections: September 2022

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

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

Somaliland Presidential Election: November 13, 2022

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

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

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

Nigeria General Elections: February 18, 2023

Djibouti Legislative Elections: February 2023

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

South Sudan General Elections: By March 2023 (tentative)

Sierra Leone Presidential Election: June 24, 2023

Zimbabwe General Elections: July 2023

Eswatini Parliamentary Elections: August 2023 (due)

Gabon Presidential Election: August 2023 (due)

Mauritania Parliamentary Elections: September 2023 (due)

Gabon Legislative Elections: October 2023 (due)

Liberia Presidential and Legislative Elections: October 2023 (due)

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

Madagascar Presidential Election: November 2023 (due)

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

Togo Legislative and Regional Elections: December 2023 (due)

Côte d’Ivoire Local Elections: 2023

Mali Presidential and Legislative Elections: TBD, following coup

Burkina Faso Elections: TBD, following coup

Guinea Elections: TBD, following coup

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

Americas

Americas Elections Weekly News Review: May 28, 2022 - 21votes

May 28, 2022

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

The stock exchange in Santiago, Chile. Chile’s upcoming constitutional referendum will have a huge impact on the country’s future economic prospects. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Juanjo+Willow (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Upcoming Americas Elections

Colombia Presidential Election: May 29, 2022

Colombia holds a presidential election on May 29, following legislative elections and presidential primaries on March 13. Leftist former guerrilla Gustavo Petro won his primary in a landslide. For a while, he was seen as the favorite to win in May, but more recent polls show a statistical dead heat between Petro and conservative Federico Gutiérrez.

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.

Andrea Jaramillo, Bloomberg (May 26, 2022): Why Colombia’s Election Has Voters Looking Left

Elizabeth Dickinson, International Crisis Group (May 24, 2022): Colombia’s Election Clash Rattles a Fragile Peace

Samantha Schmidt, Washington Post (May 24, 2022): Behind bulletproof shields, Colombian candidates fear for their lives

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.

Rainer Zitelmann, The National Interest (May 24, 2022): Will Capitalist Chile Follow Venezuela to Ruin?

Jennifer M. Piscopo, Foreign Policy (May 23, 2022): How Chile’s Constitutional Overhaul Emboldened the Right

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

Anthony Boadle and Ricardo Brito, Reuters (May 27, 2022): Brazil invites election observers on record scale as Bolsonaro stirs doubts

Simone Preissler Iglesias and Daniel Carvalho, Bloomberg (May 25, 2022): Bolsonaro Shakes Up Petrobras Leadership in Re-Election Bid

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.

Ariel González Levaggi and Ryan C. Berg, Foreign Policy (May 23, 2022): Argentina’s Embrace of China Should Be a Wake-Up Call

Venezuela Presidential Election: Due in 2024

The next presidential election is due in 2024, but some opposition figures hope it will happen early. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and subsequent sanctions, U.S. officials have begun to court the Venezuelan regime. Venezuela held regional and local elections on November 21, 2021. These followed the December 2020 legislative elections, which most of the opposition boycotted (opposition parties did participate in the 2021 local elections).

Venezuela’s politicalconstitutional, and humanitarian crises have been going on for years. The country became an authoritarian state under the now-deceased Hugo Chavez, who was elected in 1998 and completely transformed the country from a prosperous democracy to a leftist dictatorship. His successor, Nicolás Maduro, has continued on that path. Socialist economic policies have destroyed the economy. Although Venezuela is a major oil producer, 90 percent of Venezuelans cannot afford sufficient food and many have fled. Moreover, the capital, Caracas, has become one of the most violent cities in the world.

Nonetheless, Venezuela’s opposition is active and occasionally makes gains.

Authoritarian regimes such as Russia, China, and Iran back Maduro and most of the free world backs the opposition.

Mary Anastasia O’Grady, Wall Street Journal (May 26, 2022): Venezuela Sanctions Relief Is a Trap for Biden: Maduro wants concessions but has zero interest in free and fair elections

Past Americas Elections

Bolivia General Election Re-Run: October 18, 2020

Bolivia held a rerun of the 2019 annulled general elections that took place on October 18, 2020 in which socialist Luis Arce won the presidency. Leftist firebrand Evo Morales has returned to the country to lead his party, although apparently not every member of his party loves him.

Subsequently, Bolivia held local and regional elections in March and April, 2021. Opposition candidates won the mayoral elections in 8 out of 10 of Bolivia’s biggest cities. These elections happened amid political tension over the arrest of former interim president Jeanine Anez. More

Thomas Graham, Americas Quarterly (May 25, 2022): A New Reality for the MAS in Bolivia: Once hegemonic, the ruling party is now merely dominant. Here’s what that means for the country’s politics

Regional Analysis

AFP (May 27, 2022): Venezuela, Cuba rally after rejection from Los Angeles summit

Arturo Sarukhan, Brookings (May 24, 2022): Why is Mexico’s president snubbing Biden’s invitation to the Summit of the Americas?

Nick Burns, Americas Quarterly (May 23, 2022): How Is Latin America Handling the Inflation Crisis?

Americas Elections Coming Up in 2022 and 2023

Colombia Presidential Election: May 29, 2022

Canada, Ontario Provincial Elections: June 2, 2022

Mexico State and Local Elections in Some States: June 5, 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: May 27, 2022

Asia/Pacific Elections Weekly News Review: May 27, 2022

May 27, 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.

A floating market near Bangkok, Thailand. Photo credit: Pixabay/Terimakaski0 (public domain)

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.

Sokummono Khan, Voice of America (May 26, 2022): Amid Repression, Revived Opposition Party Hopes for Gains in Cambodia’s Local Elections

Radio Free Asia (May 26, 2022): Attackers in Cambodia topple motorbike, injure local election opposition candidate: The Candlelight Party says authorities harass their candidates and supporters at the behest of the ruling party

DW (May 25, 2022 – video): Does Cambodia have a viable opposition?

David Hutt, Asia Times (May 24, 2022): Flicker of hope for Cambodia’s rubbed out opposition: Rekindled Candlelight Party to contest upcoming commune polls but if it burns too bright could be extinguished before next year’s general elections

NHK World (May 21, 2022): Campaigning for Cambodia’s commune council elections begins

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.

Radio New Zealand (May 27, 2022): PNG election candidates drop by 1,000

AP (May 25, 2022): China wants 10 small Pacific nations to sign on to ‘game-changing’ security agreement

Okole Midelit, Fiji Times (May 16, 2022): Too little, too late – Securing PNG’s 2022 national election

Radio New Zealand (May 16, 2022): PNG elections pose significant security risk warns academic

India, Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Elections: 2022 (expected)

India’s state and territorial elections are serving as a key test for the national parties – and PM Narendra Modi – as well as the opposition ahead of national elections in 2024. In the last national 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.

In a surprise geopolitical development, on August 5, 2019, the Modi government made a unilateral decision to strip the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir of its autonomy. The region, which is majority Muslim, is claimed by both India and Pakistan and has sparked three wars. For 70 years, the Indian-controlled part – established as the state of Jammu and Kashmir – enjoyed a high degree of autonomy, but Modi announced that the state would be downgraded into two union territories, effectively centralizing control. The area was on virtual lockdown for a long time, and many were detained, including prominent political leaders. However, Modi began outreach to Kashmir stakeholders, and elections are expected in 2022 – the first since 2014.

Liz Mathew, Indian Express (May 26, 2022): Eyeing 2024, BJP ministers to visit seats lost in 2019

Suchitra Mohanty and Fayaz Bukhari, Reuters (May 25, 2022): Indian court orders life in jail for top Kashmiri separatist

Zoe Jordan and Sonali Deliwala, Council on Foreign Relations (May 24, 2022): Why Washington Should Care About India’s Support for the AIIB

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

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

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

The Irrawaddy (May 27, 2022): Ousted NLD Regional Chief Minister Given New Jail Term by Myanmar Regime

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

Uditha Jayasinghe, Reuters (May 25, 2022): Sri Lanka’s prime minister takes on crucial finance ministry portfolio

Anusha Ondaatjie and Sudhi Ranjan Sen, Bloomberg (May 25, 2022): Sri Lanka’s Premier Wants IMF Program in Place By Mid-June

Gerry Shih and Hafeel Farisz, Washington Post (May 22, 2022): Inside the collapse of the Rajapaksa dynasty in Sri Lanka: How two powerful brothers fell out and took their country down with them

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.

Johor state, which borders Singapore, held snap elections on March 12, 2022 after the state’s chief minister dissolved the state legislature (elections were originally due in 2023). UNMO won, building on momentum from victories in other recent state elections. More

Fikry A. Rahman, The Diplomat (May 26, 2022): Malaysia’s Domestic Political Turbulence Threatens to Derail its Foreign Policy

Past Asia/Pacific Elections

Thailand, Local Elections in Bangkok and Pattaya: May 22, 2022, and 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

Thai PBS World (May 27, 2022): Bangkok poll triggers national wave of demand for local democracy

Sebastian Strangio, The Diplomat (May 23, 2022): Reformist Independent Scores Decisive Win in Bangkok Governor Election

Grant Peck, AP (May 22, 2022): Bangkok votes for governor in 1st election since 2014 coup

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

Jessica Riga, ABC News Australia (May 27, 2022): Federal election: Vote count continues as Labor seeks one more seat to form majority government

Michael E. Miller, Washington Post (May 26, 2022): China pushes Pacific deal, as Australia scrambles to repair regional ties

Richard McGregor, Lowy Institute (May 26, 2022): Duelling diplomacy in the Pacific should dispel the notion of a China-Australia reset

Swati Pandey, Bloomberg (May 24, 2022): Australia’s Next Parliament Will Be Its Most Diverse Ever

Phil Mercer, Voice of America (May 23, 2022): New Australian Prime Minister Sworn In After Election Win

James Curran, Council on Foreign Relations (May 23, 2022): A Political Earthquake From Australia’s Elections: How will Australia’s election result affect the region, including U.S.-China competition?

Sky News (May 22, 2022): Australia elections: New PM Anthony Albanese pledges climate policy change after Scott Morrison concedes defeat

AP (May 21, 2022): Australia’s prime minister concedes despite millions of votes left to be counted

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 has 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.

Ronald Castillo, The Diplomat (May 27, 2022): In the Philippines, Civil Society Grows Amid Democratic Backsliding: The vibrant and volunteer election campaign of Vice President Leni Robredo offered some glimmers of hope for the country’s democracy

James Loxton, Washington Post (May 26, 2022): The Philippines elected a dictator’s son. Why are dynasties popular?

DW (May 26, 2022): Philippines: Marcos Jr. to stand by South China Sea ruling

Neil Jerome Morales, Reuters (May 23, 2022): Philippines’ Marcos says he discussed defence deal with U.S. envoy

David Engel, Australian Strategic Policy Institute (May 20, 2022): How far will Bongbong Marcos tilt the Philippines towards China?

Sebastian Strangio, The Diplomat (May 20, 2022): Philippine Election Marred by Violence, Vote-Buying: Monitoring Mission

Andreo Calonzo, Bloomberg (May 18, 2022): Marcos Gains Legislative Power as Allies Join Philippine Senate

Cliff Venzon, Nikkei Asia (May 18, 2022): Marcos says Philippine-China ties ‘set to shift to higher gear’

Barbaby Lo, CBS News (May 13, 2022): How will Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. taking power in the Philippines change U.S. relations?

Nepal Local Elections: May 13, 2022, followed by General Elections

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

ANI (May 27, 2022): Nepali rapper Balendra Shah becomes new Mayor of Kathmandu

Shristi Karki, Nepali Times (May 26, 2022): Nepal’s local polls a rehearsal for federal elections: Coalition partners are encouraged enough by the results to keep their alliance intact

PTI (May 25, 2022): Nepali Congress sweeps local polls

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

Suzanne Pepper, Hong Kong Free Press (May 28, 2022): White Papers, fact sheets and colour revolutions: Beijing’s new narrative to justify Hong Kong’s national security regime

Chris Patten, The Telegraph (May 28, 2022): The explosive private diaries of Hong Kong’s last governor: Chris Patten recalls the backstabbing and knife-edge negotiations with China after taking the most high-stakes job in international politics

Suzanne Sataline, Wired (May 26, 2022): ‘How Are They Weapons? That’s Only a Flashlight!’: During the protests in Hong Kong, young people carried laser pointers, umbrellas, and plastic ties—objects that sometimes led to their arrest, and years of legal limbo

Channel News Asia (May 24, 2022): Elderly Hong Kong cardinal Joseph Zen in court over protest defence fund

European Commission (May 20, 2022): Hong Kong: EU report sees a continued deterioration of fundamental freedoms

Asia/Pacific Elections Coming Up in 2022 and 2023

Australia Parliamentary Elections: By May 21, 2022 (due – could take place earlier)

Thailand, Local Elections in Bangkok and Pattaya: May 22, 2022

South Korea Local Elections: June 1, 2022

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: May 26, 2022

Eurasia Elections Weekly News Review: May 26 2022

May 26, 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 Bridge of Peace over the Kura River in Tbilisi, Georgia. Photo credit: Wikimedia/shankar s (CC BY 2.0)

Upcoming Eurasia Elections

Kazakhstan Constitutional Referendum: June 5, 2022

Kazakhstan will hold a constitutional referendum on June 5, 2022. This comes 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. Russia briefly sent personnel under the auspices of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), its military alliance of several post-Soviet states.

On June 5, voters will adopt or reject 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

Kostis Geropoulos, New Europe (May 24, 2022): Kazakhstan reaffirms strategic partnership with EU, accelerates political reforms

Human Rights Watch (May 19, 2022): Kazakhstan: Boost Rights Protection in Constitution Reform

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

Paul Kirby, BBC (May 25, 2022): Ukraine war: Russia’s jailed Navalny attacks invasion as judge rejects appeal

Bohdan Vitvitsky, Atlantic Council (May 24, 2022): The Putin puzzle: Why is the Russian dictator so obsessed with Ukraine?

Nataliya Vasilyeva, The Telegraph (May 23, 2022): Russian counsellor to UN quits over Ukraine invasion: ‘I have never been so ashamed of my country’

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

Madalin Necsutu, Balkan Insight (May 25, 2022): Moldovan Ex-President Dodon Blames Arrest on ‘Political Vendetta’

Davide Lerner, Financial Times (May 24, 2022): Moldovan minority treads line between Russia and homeland: Government worried that traditional pro-Moscow sentiment in Gagauzia could destabilise region

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.

Agenda.ge (May 24, 2022): Ruling party MP: Georgia has made “significant progress” on EU path

Givi Silagadze and the Caucasus Datablog, OC Media (May 24, 2022): How does Georgia’s democracy compare with countries granted EU candidacy?

Civil.ge (May 24, 2022): Draft EU-Georgia Association Agenda Stresses Need for ‘Ambitious’ Reforms

Ian Kelly and David J. Kramer, The Bulwark (May 24, 2022): Putin Is Failing in Ukraine, But Winning in Georgia: The government in Tbilisi is taking pages from Putin’s playbook

Michael Emerson and Steve Blockmans, CEPS (May 20, 2022): Georgia’s dubious application for EU membership

Past Eurasia Elections

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

ABC News Australia (May 22, 2022): Volunteers who fled authorities in Belarus fight for Ukraine in hopes it will help change things in their homeland

Uzbekistan Presidential Election: October 24, 2021

Uzbekistan held 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 did not happen. Instead, would-be challengers were either denied ballot access or dropped outMore

Eurasianet (May 24, 2022): Where is Uzbekistan’s constitutional reform heading? Proposals are light on substance and mostly echo the president

Regional Analysis

Bloomberg News (May 15, 2022): Russia’s Backyard Weighs Opportunities, Threats From Putin’s War: Ex-Soviet states are striving to avoid conflict and loosen Moscow ties as Putin’s war in Ukraine sends tremors through the region

Eurasia Elections Coming Up in 2022 and 2023

Kazakhstan Constitutional Referendum: June 5, 2022

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: May 25, 2022

Europe Elections Weekly News Review: May 25, 2022

May 25, 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.

The Mesi Bridge – built in 1770 by the Ottomans – over the Kir River in Albania. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Diego Delso (CC BY SA)

Upcoming Europe Elections

Albania Presidential Election (indirect): Ongoing

Albania’s indirect presidential election began on May 16, 2022 and will continue until parliament chooses a candidate.

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

Exit.al (May 24, 2022): Voting for Albania’s next president continues in vain

Fjori Sinoruka, Balkan Insight (May 23, 2022): Berisha Claims He’s Back in Charge of Albania’s Democratic Party

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.

Robert Zaretsky, Politico (May 25, 2022): The historic echoes of France’s new left alliance: The Popular Front of the 1930s offers parallels ahead of the country’s legislative elections.

Michael Fitzpatrick, RFI (May 23, 2022): French government promises action on spending immediately after elections

Elaine Ganley, AP (May 23, 2022): New French govt pledges ‘zero tolerance’ for sexual abuse

Italy Local Elections: June 12, 2022

Italy is holding local elections in some areas. In total, 980 out of the country’s 7,904 municipalities will vote, including 26 provincial capitals.

The country is due to hold general elections by June 1, 2023, but as is ever the case with Italy, snap elections are possible. In January 2021, the then-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, and a fragile stability has prevailed since then.

Angelo Amante, Reuters (May 25, 2022): Politicians’ mafia past stirs anger ahead of Sicily election

James Imam, New York Times (May 25, 2022): In a Former Mafia Stronghold, Art Remembers, and Warns

Rachel Sanderson, Bloomberg (May 19, 2022): The Woman Who Might Lead Italy to the Far Right

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

HINA (May 19, 2022): Split To Hold Early Local Elections On 26 June

Germany Lower Saxony State Elections: October 8, 2022

Germany holds several sets of state elections in 2022, following the “Superwahljahr” (Super Election Year) of 2021, which saw the defeat of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and a new “traffic light coalition” government consisting of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP), and the Greens.

Next up: Lower Saxony goes to the polls on October 8. The current government is led by SPD, in coalition with CDU.

Most recently, CDU won the May 15 state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state, currently governed by a CDU-FDP coalition. NRW was seen as a test for Scholz, and SPD fell short. CDU could potentially form a new coalition with the Greens, who doubled their vote share, as FDP and CDU together do not have enough seats to continue their coalition.

Before that, CDU won big in Schleswig-Holstein. The incumbent premier, CDU’s Daniel Günther, who heads  a “Jamaica coalition” of CDU, FDP, and the Greens, will remain in office. CDU won 43 percent of the vote, an 11 percent gain over its 2017 results in the state. The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) did not clear the 5 percent threshold to win seats.

In March, Saarland held state elections. The incumbent government, a grand coalition of CDU and SPD, fell as SPD won a historic landslide.

Volker Witting, DW (May 25, 2022): Tired of democracy? What’s behind the low voter turnout in Germany?

Sudha David-Wilp, Foreign Policy (May 24, 2022): Germany’s Christian Democrats Are on a Comeback Mission: The future of governance in the country looks very much like a conservative-green alliance

Laurenz Gehrke, Politico (May 24, 2022): German election should be rerun in parts of Berlin, ballot supervisor tells MPs

Ben Knight and Marcel Fürstenau, DW (May 20, 2022): German far-right AfD in crisis: Germany’s far-right populist AfD is desperate to turn its ailing fortunes around after terrible election results

Austria Presidential Election: Fall 2022 (due)

Austria is due to hold a presidential election in Fall 2022, although in Austria’s parliamentary system, the role is largely ceremonial. Incumbent Alexander Van der Bellen is running for another term. Van der Bellen, who comes from the Green Party, has a high approval rating and the major parties (the center-right People’s Party, which currently heads the government, and the main opposition Socialists) have not announced candidates to oppose him.

Recently, the double resignation of center-right chancellor Sebastian Kurz and subsequently his successor, Alexander Schallenberg, has shaken politics. General elections to select the next government are not due until 2024, but snap elections remain possible. Various states also hold state and local elections in 2022 and 2023.

Austria has been a neutral country since 1955. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has pushed other neutral countries (notably Finland and Sweden) to re-evaluate their status. However, Austria relies heavily on Russia for energy. As such, the current government has said it will remain neutral. However, some have called for a rethink of the policy.

Alice Tidey, Euronews (May 24, 2022): As Sweden and Finland seek to join NATO, just 4 EU states could be left out of the alliance

Marton Eder, Bloomberg (May 22, 2022): Austrian Leader Navigating Political Storm Seeks Second Term

Katja Hoyer, Unherd (May 20, 2022): Unlike Sweden, Austria stays neutral: The country’s founding principle is holding firm — for now

The Local (May 18, 2022): ‘No country is an island’: Is it time Austria abandoned neutrality?

Reuters (May 18, 2022): Austria’s neutral status here to stay, foreign minister says

Poland Parliamentary and Local Elections: By November 11, 2023

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.

Bartosz Sieniawski, (May 25, 2022): Polish opposition demands more power for regional governments

Adam Czerniak, German Marshall Fund (May 24, 2022): Poland Faces Economic Headwinds before the 2023 Elections

Bartosz Sieniawski, Euractiv (May 18, 2022): Polish opposition slam EPP chief Tusk’s joint electoral list proposal

Past Europe Elections

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.

Shawn Pogatchnik, Politico (May 25, 2022): UK to make Irish an official language in Northern Ireland: Sinn Féin lauds bill as long overdue, but unionists warn that Irish-speakers will use new powers ‘to make a real pest of themselves.’

Jude Webber, Financial Times (May 23, 2022): The Irish language is having a moment in the sun

AFP (May 22, 2022): UK Demands EU Action on Northern Ireland as US Lawmakers Visit

Jude Webber, Financial Times (May 19, 2022): Northern Ireland’s DUP stakes its future on Brexit battle with London

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

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