Australia, Tasmania Snap Elections
Several Australian states hold elections in 2021, including Tasmania, which is holding its state elections 10 months early. The incumbent center-right Liberals won, their third straight victory in Tasmania. After that, federal parliamentary elections are due by 2022, but snap elections could happen. Tensions with China are rising as Australia’s federal government has cancelled several Belt and Road deals. More
Spain, Snap Regional Election in Madrid
Madrid held early regional elections on May 4, following the collapse of the government coalition consisting of the conservative Popular Party and the liberal Citizens Party. These elections took place in a highly polarized environment, as conservative incumbent Isabel Díaz Ayuso defeated leftist firebrand Pablo Inglesias, who surprised everyone by leaving his role as deputy PM to run in Madrid. While Díaz Ayuso’s conservative Popular Party won the most seats, it did not obtain a majority and thus will likely need the support of the far-right Vox to govern.
United Kingdom Local Elections (including Mayor of London and Scottish and Welsh parliaments)
The United Kingdom (UK) will hold local elections on May 6, 2021. Voters will elect various local councils, plus the mayor of London, plus Scottish and Welsh parliaments. The Scottish elections are particularly high-stakes because if the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP) wins a majority, they will pressure the government in Westminster to allow another referendum on independence. In addition, there are parliamentary by-elections in Hartlepool on May 6 and in Airdrie and Shotts on May 13. More
Canada, Municipal Elections in New Brunswick
Canada’s 10 provinces and three territories all hold provincial and municipal elections at different times. Several are due to hold elections in the next year. New Brunswick, which has a Progressive Conservative minority government, has scheduled its overdue municipal elections for May 10, following a yearlong delay due to COVID-19. These are happening in the context of the possible collapse of Justin Trudeau’s Liberal federal government and subsequent snap federal elections.
Chile Local, Regional, and Constitutional Assembly Elections
Chile has delayed its local and regional elections, originally scheduled for April 11, 2021, to May. In addition, voters will elect all 155 members of a Constitutional Assembly, after a referendum in which Chileans voted to write a new constitution.
Chile is also due to hold presidential and legislative elections in November (with presidential primaries on July 4). These elections are taking place in the context of a year of protests and riots, including violent looting, arson, and vandalism. Furthermore, an intense debate over the new constitution continues. Incumbent president Sebastian Pinera, from the center-right Chile Vamos coalition, is not running for another term. He currently has low approval ratings, posing a challenge for his party’s candidate (who will be chosen in the July primary election). More
Croatia Local Elections
Croatia has scheduled local elections for May 16, 2021. These elections got a bit of a shakeup when Milan Bandic, the mayor of Zagreb, died in February after a combined 20 years in office (according to some reports, he was the world’s longest-serving mayor). Although Bandic had a devoted following, he was also controversial, and embroiled in a number of scandals. A former communist, he joined the Social Democratic Party (SDP) when Croatia began holding multiparty elections in 1990, but later broke off to start his own party. Meanwhile, HDZ, the main conservative party, won last year’s parliamentary elections, after losing the January 2020 presidential election.
Samoa New Parliamentary Elections
Samoa held general elections on April 9, 2021, and the post-election situation has been rather eventful. A new opposition party, Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST, “Faith in the one true God”), posed a new challenge to the Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP), which has been in power since 1982. Ultimately, both FAST and HRPP got equal numbers of seats, with an independent MP breaking the tie and agreeing to support FAST. However, the plot continues to thicken as HRPP was given an additional female MP since the party did not meet its quota for women.
As a result of the deadlock, the prime minister has called new elections for May 21, although this is being challenged in court as some call the decision unconstitutional.
These elections are taking place in the context of controversy over proposed changes to the county’s constitutional framework and judiciary, involving questions of Samoan identity. More
Vietnam Legislative Elections
Vietnam, a one-party communist state, is due to hold legislative elections on May 23, 2021. For the most part, only candidates from the Communist Party of Vietnam and those who support it are able to run. In addition, dissidents face arrest and assault. In short, elections in Vietnam offer very little genuine choice to voters, and no prospects for political change. More
Syria Presidential Election
Syria has scheduled its presidential election for May 26, 2021. The election comes in the context of Syria’s ongoing civil war and humanitarian crisis. Elections under the regime of Bashar al-Assad are widely considered to be a sham. More
Cyprus Parliamentary Elections
Cyprus is due to hold parliamentary elections on May 23, 2021. The center-right DISY – currently in the majority – will face off against the center-left AKEL, the main opposition party (with a number of smaller parties also competing). Cyprus is a presidential system (the only full presidential system in the EU), so these elections will function as more of a test for the parties ahead of the 2023 presidential election. The current president is President Nicos Anastasiades (from DISY). This is all happening in the context of the ongoing Eastern Mediterranean crisis. More
Somaliland Parliamentary and Local Elections
Somaliland has scheduled its long-overdue parliamentary and local elections for May 31, 2021. Somaliland has de facto but not internationally-recognized independence from Somalia, and has a much more developed democracy, with direct elections. More
Voters in Somaliland’s 2012 municipal elections. Photo credit: VOA/Kate Stanworth (public domain)
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Updated May 1, 2021