Middle East This Week: November 17, 2020

November 17, 2020

Your weekly roundup 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

Kuwait Towers, water towers that have come to symbolize modern Kuwait. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Paasikivi (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Upcoming Middle East Elections

Kuwait Parliamentary Elections: December 5, 2020

Kuwait is holding parliamentary elections on December 5, 2020. As could be expected, COVID-19 and the government’s response is shaping public debate ahead of the elections. Meanwhile, populism is on the rise, exacerbated by the pandemic and falling oil prices. As a result, questions of citizenship look likely to play a role in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

All of this is happening in the context of the September 29 death of the emirSheikh Sabah, who had been emir since 2006 and prior to that was foreign minister for 40 years. More

Courtney Freer, Lawfare (November 15, 2020): How Politics at Home Shapes Kuwait’s Foreign Policy

Algeria Early Legislative Elections: Possibly in 2020

Algerian authorities have proposed holding early legislative elections before the end of 2020, following a constitutional referendum that took place on November 1, 2020. This is all happening in the context of the Hirak protest movement, in which Algerians protested weekly throughout the country for over a year (stopping only due to the COVID-19 pandemic). Protesters called for, among other things, democratic elections in Algeria. More

Rayane Anser, openDemocracy (November 13, 2020): How Algeria’s new regime won a referendum but lost legitimacy

Dalia Ghanem, Qantara (November 16, 2020): Tebboune’s ‘New Algeria’ looks a lot like the old Algeria

Iraq Early Parliamentary Elections: June 6, 2021 (tentative) and Provincial Elections (due)

Iraq’s government has proposed holding snap parliamentary elections on June 6, 2021, one year early, following the demands of protesters. However, parliament still has to pass a new electoral law and allocate a budget for the elections in order for them to actually happen. Therefore, the date remains tentative.

Iraq is also due to hold provincial (sometimes called governorate) elections this year, in which voters will elect provincial councils. Originally scheduled for December 2018, these elections have been delayed multiple times following controversial national elections in May 2018 (the first since the defeat of ISIS).

These elections are taking place in the context of widespread protest and political instability. More

Marsin Alshamary, Brookings Institution (November 13, 2020): Six months into his premiership, what has Mustafa al-Kadhimi done for Iraq?

Libya Local Elections (ongoing in various places) and Parliamentary and Presidential Elections: December 24, 2021 (tentative)

Libya’s national elections are overdue and have been postponed indefinitely due to the political crisis and civil war. However, in November 2020, Libyan stakeholders participating in UN-sponsored talks proposed December 24, 2021 for presidential and parliamentary elections. Meanwhile, some local elections have been taking place in various cities. More

UN News (November 14, 2020): Libyan elections to take place in December 2021: senior UN official

Past Middle East Elections

Pakistan, Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly Elections: November 15, 2020

Gilgit-Baltistan, the Pakistan-administered part of Kashmir, held elections for its legislative assembly on November 15, 2020. The elections took place in the context of the dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, as well as increased Chinese presence due to Belt and Road. More

News18 India (November 16, 2020): Ruling PTI Takes Initial Lead in Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly Election in Pakistan

Abubakar Siddique, Gandhara (November 16, 2020): Alleged Election Rigging Adds To Opposition Grievances In Pakistan

Jordan Parliamentary Elections: November 10, 2020

Jordan held parliamentary elections on November 10, 2020. Turnout was low, and both women and Islamist candidates saw poor resultsMore

Al Jazeera (November 12, 2020): Women, opposition lose seats in Jordan election

Osama Al Sharif, Al Monitor (November 12, 2020): Voter apathy, pandemic result in low turnout, riots in Jordanian election

Egypt Parliamentary Elections: October-November 2020

Egypt held elections for both houses of parliament this year. More

Reuters (November 15, 2020): Pro-Sisi Party in Commanding Position in Egypt’s Parliamentary Polls

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