July 2021 Election Outlook

Japan, Tokyo Assembly Elections: July 4, 2021

Freedom House Rating: Free
Government Type: Parliamentary Constitutional Monarchy
Population: 124.7 million (Japan) 14 million (Tokyo metopolis)

At stake: All 127 seats in – and control of – the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly, ahead of parliamentary elections due this year.

Moldova Snap Parliamentary Elections: July 11, 2021

Freedom House Rating: Partly Free
Government Type: Parliamentary Republic
Population: 3.3 million

At stake: All seats in Moldova’s parliament, and therefore control of the government.

Bulgaria Parliamentary Elections Re-Run: July 11, 2021

Freedom House Rating: Free
Government Type: Parliamentary Republic
Population: 6.9 million

At stake: All 240 seats in the National Assembly, Bulgaria’s unicameral parliament, and therefore control of the government. 

Sao Tome and Principe Presidential Election: July 18, 2021

Freedom House Rating: Free
Government Type: Semi-Presidential Republic
Population: 214,000

At stake: Office of the president. President is head of state, but does not hold executive power (prime minister is head of government – next parliamentary elections are not due until October 2023).

Isle of Man Local Authority General Elections: July 22, 2021

Freedom House Rating: Free
Government Type: Parliamentary democracy – self-governing British Crown Dependency
Population: 91, 000

At stake: Control of 21 local authority boards (however, only seven are actually contested – the rest have been elected unopposed due to a lack of candidates). The House of Keys, Isle of Man’s parliament, is due to hold elections on September 23.

Nigeria, Local Elections in Lagos: July 24, 2021

Freedom House Rating: Partly Free
Government Type: Federal Presidential Republic
Population: 219 million (Nigeria), 23.4 million (Lagos)

At stake: Control of 20 Local Governments and 35 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in Lagos, Nigeria’s biggest city and economic hub.

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

Freedom House Rating: Not Free (Pakistani Kashmir – the rest of Pakistan is rated Partly Free)
Government Type: Federal Parliamentary Republic
Population: 238 million (Pakistan), 4 million (Azad Jammu and Kashmir)

At stake: All 49 seats in Azad Jammu and Kashmir’s Assembly.


July 4, 2021

Japan, Tokyo Assembly Elections

Japan’s local elections take place at various times throughout the year. Tokyo has assembly elections on July 4, 2021. After that, Japan is due to hold general elections by October 22, 2021, but they could happen earlier.

Tokyo’s Assembly is currently dominated by the Tomin First party, founded by Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike, who used to belong to the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Japan’s dominant political party. LDP and its coalition partner, the Buddhist party Komeito, are campaigning together in hopes of winning a majority in Tokyo. Pre-election polls show a significant seat loss for Tomin First and a gain for LDP/Komeito. Moreover, some analysts believe that Koike is moving away from her party in the hopes of getting closer to LDP and seeking higher office in Japan’s upcoming parliamentary elections.

In addition, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who replaced Shinzo Abe last year, could face an LDP leadership contest ahead of the general elections.

July 11, 2021

Moldova Snap Parliamentary Elections

Moldova is holding snap parliamentary elections on July 11, which pro-Europe center-right president Maia Sandu had been trying to call for months. Sandu trounced pro-Kremlin leftist Igor Dodon, who had been the incumbent, in the November 2020 presidential election However, no party currently has a clear majority in parliament (and Sandu’s allies are outnumbered by pro-Russian parties). Because Moldova is a parliamentary republic, the president does not hold executive power, and therefore needs a parliamentary majority and an ally for a prime minister in order to get anything done. The resulting political instability is reaching crisis levels.

Moldova sits at a geopolitical crossroads. Much of the political debate involves questions of whether to orient toward Russia or toward Europe. In addition, issues of corruption and state capture by oligarchs remain at the forefront.

Bulgaria Parliamentary Elections Re-Run

Bulgaria is holding fresh parliamentary elections on July 11 after no party formed a government following the April 4 elections. In those polls, PM Boyko Borissov’s center-right GERB won the most seats, but lost ground and failed to win a majority. New parties running against the establishment did surprisingly well – in fact,  a party called There Is Such a People, led by TV star Stanislav Trifonov, came in second and ruled out forming a coalition with GERB.

While Bulgaria has joined the key Euro-Atlantic institutions (i.e. the EU and NATO), and has made progress on democracy since the end of communism, it remains the poorest and most corrupt member of the EU. Trifonov’s main platform was anti-corruption – indeed, corruption remins the biggest issue in political debate. The original elections took place in the context of nearly a year of large-scale protests over corruption.

July 18, 2021

Sao Tome and Principe Presidential Election

São Tomé and Príncipe (frequently called STP) holds a presidential election on July 18, 2021. Since the end of Marxist one-party rule in 1991, São Tomé and Príncipe has held regular elections with peaceful transfers of power, and is generally considered a free democracy.

In STP’s semi-presidential system, the prime minister holds executive power and serves as head of government, while the president serves as head of state, arbitrating within the government and representing the country.

The current president, Evaristo Carvalho, from the centrist ADI party, is not running for a second term – the first time this has happened in STP’s history. Nineteen candidates are running to succeed him, including six from the MLSTP-PSD party, which was the ruling party during the communist era and currently heads the government.

July 22, 2021

Isle of Man Local Authority General Elections

The Isle of Man, a self-governing British Crown Dependency, holds local elections on July 22. These will likely be a sleepy affair, as only seven out of the 21 the local boards will actually be contested. The rest have been elected uncontested, due to a lack of interest from candidates.

After the local elections, voters will elect members of the House of Keys, Isle of Man’s parliament, on September 23, 2021. The House of Keys dates back to at least 1417.

July 24, 2021

Nigeria, Local Elections in Lagos

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, holds general elections in February 2023, but some states are due to hold elections before that, including Lagos, Nigeria’s biggest city and economic hub.

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

July 25, 2021

Pakistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir Elections

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

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

Voters in Moldova in 2014. Moldova heads to the polls again this month for snap parliamentary elections. Photo credit: Flickr/Santro Weltin, Council of Europe (CC BY-ND 2.0)

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