Eurasia This Week: November 12, 2020

November 12, 2020

Your weekly roundup 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.

An international observer from the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly at a polling station in Moldova in 2014. Moldova heads to the polls on November 15 for a presidential runoff election. Photo credit: Flickr/OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Upcoming Eurasia Elections

Moldova Presidential Runoff: November 15, 2020

Moldova held the second round of its presidential election on November 15, 2020. Pro-Europe center-right former Prime Minister Maia Sandu trounced pro-Kremlin leftist Igor Dodon, who had been the incumbent. More

Andrew Roth, The Guardian (November 16, 2020): Moldova election: blow to Kremlin as opposition candidate sweeps to victory

AFP (November 13, 2020): Moldova torn between Russia and West in election runoff

Andrew D’Anieri, Atlantic Council (November 10, 2020): Eastern Europe’s pivotal run-off: Moldovans go to the polls again

Madalin Necsutu, Balkan Insight (November 11, 2020): Populist Moldova Mayor Becomes Kingmaker in Presidential Run-off

RFE/RL (November 10, 2020): Putin Says ‘External Pressure’ On Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova ‘Unacceptable’

Ukraine Local Election Runoffs: November 15 and 22, 2020

Ukraine held local elections on October 25, 2020. Mayoral runoffs in some cities will take place on November 15, and the rest will happen on November 22. The initial results delivered a blow to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as the country’s traditional pro-Europe and pro-Russia political forces won key races. More

Kateryna Semchuck, openDemocracy (November 13, 2020): In Ukraine, local elections legitimise a new political system – and the old faces behind it

Brian Mefford, Atlantic Council (November 13, 2020): Ukrainian local elections: City-by-city guide to this weekend’s runoff votes

bne IntelliNews (November 12, 2020): Ukrainian President Zelenskiy would win a presidential election tomorrow, but his SOTP would come in third

Georgia Parliamentary Runoffs: November 21, 2020

Georgia held parliamentary elections on October 31, 2020 in a climate of political tension, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic fallout. Georgian Dream claimed victory following the elections. However, many opposition parties are claiming fraud and protesting the results and demanding new elections. International observers noted significant flaws in the elections, and observed that there were issues with public confidence in the polls. More

RFE/RL (November 13, 2020): Georgian Opposition Announces New Election Protests Despite Ongoing Talks

Democracy & Freedom Watch (November 13, 2020): Georgian government meets opposition for talks to end post-election deadlock

JAM News (November 10, 2020): Georgian opposition prepares protests, gov’t insists ‘world has acknowledged elections as democratic’

BBC (November 9, 2020): Georgia protests: Tbilisi police fire water cannon at demonstrators

Kazakhstan Legislative Elections: January 10, 2020

Kazakhstan has scheduled legislative elections for January 10, 2021. The country’s elections take place in the context of an authoritarian system in which critics of the government face harassment and arrest. As such, no genuine opposition has representation in the legislature.

Nonetheless, Kazakhstan’s elections are taking place in the context of widespread protests related to elections throughout former Soviet Union countries. More

Zhanna Shayakhmetova, The Astana Times (November 13, 2020): More Than 11 Million Kazakh People Expected to Vote in the 2021 Mazhilis Election. Six Political Parties Announce Dates of Meetings

Kyrgyzstan Snap Presidential Election: January 10, 2020

Kyrgyzstan will hold a snap presidential election on January 10, 2020, and plans to re-run the parliamentary elections originally held on October 4, 2020 because election officials annulled the results following protests over vote-rigging. The snap presidential election is happening because the president has resigned in the wake pf the protests. T

he political climate was tense heading into the October 2020 parliamentary elections. It subsequently exploded following said elections. More

Reuters (November 12, 2020): Kyrgyz PM to step down as acting president, run in election

RFE/RL (November 11, 2020): Kyrgyzstan’s Acting President Signs Amendments To Election Law

The Economist (November 10, 2020): What’s happening in Kyrgyzstan?

Niva Yau, Eurasianet (November 3, 2020): China business briefing: Not happy with Kyrgyzstan

Kate Mallinson, Chatham House (October 26, 2020): Kyrgyzstan’s Protracted Political and Economic Crisis

Russia Parliamentary Elections: By September 19, 2021

Russia is due to hold parliamentary elections by September 19, 2021. Russian elections are neither free nor fair, and viable genuine opposition candidates are frequently barred from running. Opposition politicians, civil society activists, and citizens who protest are routinely harassed and arrested, and face the constant risk of assassination.

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. More

Paul D. Shinkman, U.S. News and World Report (November 6, 2020): Kremlin Denies Reports Putin is Ill, Planning to Resign

Yelena Vladykina, RFE/RL (November 12, 2020): By Hook Or By Crook: For The Opposition In St. Petersburg, Winning An Election Is Only The Beginning Of The Battle

Regina Smyth and Sarah Oates, The Conversation (November 10, 2020): Russia’s rigged elections look nothing like the US election – they have immediate, unquestioned results there

Past Eurasia Elections

Belarus Presidential Election: August 9, 2020

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

Samuel Greene and Anna Lyubimtseva, Washington Post (November 12, 2020): Coronavirus is really bad news for Belarus President Lukashenka, for unexpected reasons

ERR News (November 12, 2020): Estonia makes [UN Security Council] call for new Belarus elections

AP (November 12, 2020): Belarus rights group counts 900 cases against opposition

Reuters (November 12, 2020): Candles and condemnation as thousands mourn death of Belarus protester

bne IntelliNews (November 11, 2020): Belarusian President Lukashenko makes protesting a criminal offence

Anna Plotnikova, Voice of America (November 11, 2020): No Guarantee of Safety for Media Covering Disputed Belarus Election

Anastasiia Zlobina, Human Rights Watch (November 9, 2020): Crackdown on Peaceful Protesters Escalates in Belarus

Juan Flores, CBS News (November 9, 2020 – video): Belarusian opposition leader on her nation’s contested election and call for democracy

Cultural Note

For this week’s Eurasia cultural note, check out Q-Pop, Kazakhstan’s answer to South Korea’s K-Pop, as you get up to speed on Kazakhstan’s January legislative elections. You can find videos on YouTube.

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